Thursday, November 19, 2015

Owning an Imperfect Life

Photo by Alison Turner

Human beings are interesting things. Perhaps you’ve already realized this, but honestly I think my own knowledge of this fact only grows with time. I’m continually stunned by the resilience of the human spirit… we go through sometimes unspeakable heartache, dreary monotony, and nagging fear, and yet we still hope - we still press on - believing that life is worth living… and it is. But sometimes I think we press forward in order to reach something that we’ll never quite grasp…


Ahhh, that word. That state of being that we all crave. Especially as young people, with our whole lives stretched out before us, the possibilities of that perfect life, whatever it may be that we’ve envisioned for ourselves (i.e. the perfect GPA, the perfect career, the perfect relationship), is hung ever before us… tantalizingly taunting us with it’s attractive promises.

“If you’re perfect, everyone will love you. Everyone will want to BE you. You’ll be remembered. You’ll be valuable.”

I’ve especially noticed people striving after perfection in the area of social media. Perfectly manicured Instagram accounts and Pinterest boards litter the Internet, their followers expanding daily. And “#GOALS” are shoved in our faces from every angle. We’ve been shown what we have to live up to, and we strive to reach it ourselves, subconsciously believing that if we reach their numbers, exceed them even, then we will be happy. It’s the same old promise repackaged.

“If you’re perfect, everyone will love you. Everyone will want to BE you. You’ll be remembered. You’ll be valuable.”

But here’s the Truth: no amount of striving or reworking or editing or manicuring or filtering can create perfection in you or anyone else. Others’ lives may seem perfect, but it’s a lie. And while they are posting about the best of the best in their lives, you’re sitting at home in your old sweatpants and a stained t-shirt, tears streaming down your cheeks because you’ve had the crappiest day, and you compare their best to your worst. What you need to know is that their lives are just as messed up as yours is. They just keep their messes covered, while you cannot hide from your own.

You can’t see the screaming child right outside the frame of the square-shaped Instagram image, and you can’t feel the exasperation and exhaustion of the mother as she wracks her brain for the right caption. You can’t feel the emptiness inside of the celebrity as he posts about that premiere while knowing that every smile, every laugh, was forced. And I know this is a legitimate summary. People such as Essena O’Niell of “Let’s Be Game Changers” have admitted to it.

But when you observe their feeds, all you know is that you yourself feel like you’ll never compare to these lives that appear untouched by the hurts and struggles of life.

I know because that’s been me. I’ve always dreamed big. I’ve always wanted a beautiful life. But when tragedy struck, I started to believe that my life must be some sort of second-rate existence because no matter how hard I tried to make everything perfect, I couldn't. My life was messy. And OCD, type A, idyllic-dreamer me didn’t like that.

But then I grew up a little. Or a lot. And God started to mold my thinking, so gently that I didn’t realize it right away. He showed me that perfection doesn’t exist outside of Jesus Christ.

For us as humans, we have no perfection in any area of our lives (Is. 64:6). Our lives don’t evenbecome messy. They are messy. Just as sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, our lives are imperfect. And until Jesus rights all wrongs in the end (Rev. 21:4-5), they will be. Our one and only claim to perfection is Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:21). And that is actually a beautifully freeing thing!

Think about this… you are free to have an imperfect life. You don’t have to have a perfect body, a perfect home, a perfect marriage, or a perfect talent to be valuable or loved. Jesus loved you in your sin (Romans 5:8), and you have incomprehensible value because of His Blood which covers you. Your value? His love for you? It has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with Him.

And yes, this life is a journey of becoming more like Jesus — sanctification. But the goal while still on earth is progress, not perfection. Jesus perfects you before the Father, and when we are glorified with Him in Heaven one day, it will be realized in full.

So go ahead and own that imperfect life. Remember that we all have messes — tragedy strikes us all. Realize and rejoice in the fact that your value doesn’t lie in your followers on Instagram or the likes you get on Facebook. Know that your worth comes from Christ our Messiah and that will never change. As long as you have accepted Him and your Lord and Savior, you will be perfect before the Father.

Praise His Name.


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