Flawed. Frail. Broken. Blemished. Imperfect. Inadequate. Worthless.
These are words that you do not want to hear when someone is describing you. In fact, hearing the opposite words such as Exceptional, Whole, Undamaged, Defect-less, Unmarred, Untainted, Faultless. Now that is something to be proud of.
Well, if you must know I am one of those people who if she could have her way, she would be perfect. I mean the thought of how awesome it would be to always say the right thing to someone would be amazing. You wouldn’t ever hurt anyone’s feelings because something harmful, mean and spiteful wouldn’t even dare to come out of your mouth. Why? Because you don’t say those crude things.
Or how about this? You always excel at everything you do!
Math would never be a bother. Why? Because you are so smart. In fact, you are a Genius. You could out do Einstein any day, at any time.
Sports would never be an issue because, you would always out maneuver anyone in the game.
Cooking? Not a problem. You know exactly how to put just the right ingredients together and cook it at the right temperature. You never burn your food and everyone who eats it says that it tastes like heavenly angel food. And of course, you never gain any weight because you know just the right amount of calories you would need in each portion of food that you make. Thus, giving you the ability to never have to exercise. Hallelujah!!!
Then there is your personality. You are always kind, gracious, understanding, compassionate, sweet and loving. You are never angry, frazzled, worried or frustrated.
You are extremely funny. Every time you make a joke people laugh so hard that they can’t even breathe. As a matter of fact, they laugh for days and days about your jokes. People love to be around you because, you…are…awesome!!!
You know how to hold a conversation easily with people. You never experience that awkward silence that can often happen when talking with someone because you never say anything awkward. Awkward silence is non-existent when you are around.
You never get any weird looks from anyone because, you are not strange.
You always look perfect. You are highly photogenic. You never a hair out of place. Your clothing is always in style. You should be in a Fashion Magazine you are so stylin’. Every time your picture is taken you never have a weird facial expression or look awkward or fat. No, you look like the epitome of perfection itself.
What a life!!!!!
Although I hate to say it. What I have just described is but an alternate reality.
There is one word that hinders this alternate reality of taking place in mine or anyone else’s life and that is the word human. That’s right human. It’s what we all are and cannot get away from. Because we are human, we have what is called human nature. In the dictionary human nature is defined as this:
- the qualities common to humanity
- ordinary human behavior, especially considered as less than perfect
There you have it right there as black and white as it can be “ordinary human behavior especially considered as less than perfect.” As much as I have tried again and again to obtain complete perfection, I have only found that imperfection seems to trip me up and remind me that I am human.
For example, when I take a selfie. (Actually I prefer to call it a “Shellfie” because my name is Shelly and since I am taking a picture of myself, I call it a Shellfie. There you have it a random fact about me.) So the goal of a selfie or in my case a “Shellfie” is to take a picture of something cool or beautiful in the background while you smile an amazing smile and look awesome. But in reality, this is what happens to me. Here you have it some behind the scenes moments of my very own “Shellfies”. Keep in mind that my purpose was to show everyone how I was having a great time enjoying the ocean and a coffee from Starbucks. (Because in a Shellfie that is what you do. You show what you enjoy to do.)
Sigh…..not exactly what I was hoping for. I must inform you that now I have resorted to wearing hoodies when taking a “Shellfie.” It sometimes helps the untamed fiery red mane on my head. It takes a lot for me to say this when I do say it…But….Oh Well!!! I have times where I am meaning to say something nice to someone and it comes out the wrong way and they get hurt. I have the awkward silence moments that occur in conversations that I have with people. I admit those are the times that I would rather be off somewhere by myself because the feeling can be too much to handle.
I am not the most amazing cook. I have been known to burn food (particularly rice I don’t know why). When something that I have made turns out well, well then it is a time to celebrate!!!
I have been on diets and would work really hard to lose weight and when I would have my weekly weigh in it would be discovered that I only lost 8 ounces. Not even a pound!!!!
I am not particularly fond of running because I have been known to trip and fall flat on my face which can be quite embarrassing when you’re in front of a bunch of people. I have also been known to fall down a large hill and when I finally was able to stand up the lower half of me was covered in mud.
Math well, that is not open for discussion. Especially when talking about adding letters together with numbers.
I think you are starting to get the picture. Obviously, I am as human as one gets. I have been coming to the realization that it’s okay to be one. Do I still make an effort to do the right thing and say the right things? Yes. Do I make an effort to choose to be kind, sweet, loving, encouraging toward others, not given to anger, fear etc.? Yes. Do I always achieve it? No. Sometimes, I have some pretty messy days. I do things and say words that I wish I didn’t. I have been through times where it has really bothered me that I make mistakes. I would often wonder (and still do at times) if I am always making mistakes how can anything good come out of my life? I grew up in the church most of my life. I would always hear about how God wants to use you. I grew up thinking well, He wants to use the people who have it altogether. I would watch different people and see God use them mightily and think well it’s because they have hardly done anything wrong in their life. So, naturally God would use them to make such a great impact on the world. Then little by little, God has been showing me how wrong that thinking is.
I read this story the other day in an article Joyce Meyer wrote. It goes like this:
A water bearer in India had two large pots hanging at the ends of a pole that he carried across his neck. One of the pots was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house. The other pot had a crack in it, and by the time it reached its destination, it was only half full. Every day for two years the water bearer delivered only one and one-half pots of water to the master’s house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments—perfect to the end for which it was made. The poor little cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfections and miserable that it could accomplish only half of what it had been designed to do. After two years of what the imperfect pot perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer and said, “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.”
“Why?” asked the bearer, “What are you ashamed of?”
“Well, for these past two years, I have been able to deliver only half a load of water each day because this crack in my side allows water to leak out all the way back to the master’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all this work without getting the full value of your efforts,” the pot said.
The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.” Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot noticed the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because half of its load had leaked out once again.
Then the bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path and not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I’ve always known about your flaw and took advantage of it by planting flower seeds on your side of the path. Every day as we walked back from the stream, you watered those seeds, and for two years I have picked these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just what you are, he would not have had this beauty to grace his house.”
God uses even our brokenness to His fullest purpose for our lives.
I would like to share one last story with you. It is found in Luke 7:36-50 it says this, “One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to come to his home for lunch and Jesus accepted the invitation. As they sat down to eat, a woman of the streets—a prostitute—heard he was there and brought an exquisite flask filled with expensive perfume. Going in, she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping, with her tears falling down upon his feet; and she wiped them off with her hair and kissed them and poured the perfume on them. When Jesus’ host, a Pharisee, saw what was happening and who the woman was, he said to himself, “This proves that Jesus is no prophet, for if God had really sent him, he would know what kind of woman this one is!” Then Jesus spoke up and answered his thoughts. “Simon,” he said to the Pharisee, “I have something to say to you.” “All right, Teacher,” Simon replied, “go ahead.” Then Jesus told him this story: “A man loaned money to two people—$5,000 to one and $500 to the other. But neither of them could pay him back, so he kindly forgave them both, letting them keep the money! Which do you suppose loved him most after that?” “I suppose the one who had owed him the most,” Simon answered. “Correct,” Jesus agreed. Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look! See this woman kneeling here! When I entered your home, you didn’t bother to offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You refused me the customary kiss of greeting, but she has kissed my feet again and again from the time I first came in. You neglected the usual courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has covered my feet with rare perfume. Therefore her sins—and they are many—are forgiven, for she loved me much; but one who is forgiven little, shows little love.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven…Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Here we see a woman who one could say has ruined her life and that God would never use her for His glory and for His purpose. Yet here she comes and she is holding a jar in which she has bought with the wages she received from her job. She breaks the jar open and spends it all on Jesus. Then it says in a similar scripture that recounts this story that when she broke open the jar the fragrance filled the room. Jesus knowing who she was didn’t turn her away because He saw that she was bringing all of her brokenness to Him. She recognized that He came to heal her brokenness and make her whole. When she broke open the jar, she was not only bringing her past before Him but she was giving Him her future. She knew that He could heal her, give her a great future, free her from the guilt and shame that she had. He in turn gave her hope. He restored her to the person that He had created her to be. He gave her a new life. He gave her beauty for her ashes. In Isaiah 61, it talks about what Jesus came to do for us. He says this:
The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me. He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners. God sent me to announce the year of his grace—a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies—and to comfort all who mourn, to care for the needs of all who mourn…give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes, messages of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart instead of a languid spirit. Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness” planted by God to display his glory.
You may feel like you are way too broken to be used by God. But, when you bring Him your brokenness He takes it and creates something beautiful out of it. I want to encourage you today to bring Him your imperfection and in return He will give you His perfection. As you lean on Him, He will help you and give you a life that is unimaginable. Bring all of you to Him and watch as He begins to restore you and give you a life filled with hope!!