Don’t Set Perfection As Your Goal
You may think this title doesn’t make any sense. “Embracing imperfection? Who wants to be imperfect?” you may ask. Well, who wants to spend their entire life being unhappy? The answer would be no one. But that is what you are likely to do if you are always in search of perfection.
Perhaps having some definitions would be helpful. Imperfection is not the opposite of perfection like good is the opposite of bad. Imperfection here is rather a “freedom from perfection.” When you enjoy imperfection, you’re admitting that it’s okay to be you, with all your flaws and…well, imperfections. It’s accepting yourself for who you are, warts and all.
That’s not as easy as it sounds. Self-help books always talk about letting go, but they never quite get to the “how” part. And self-help will only get you so far. Real transformation only occurs through a personal relationship with your Creator.
I’ve written a lot about how I grew up in an atmosphere of bullying and abuse. The message I got from others was that I was unacceptable, not good enough to belong. I was repeatedly told that I was lacking in both my physical appearance and my performance. Because others didn’t accept me, I didn’t accept myself. The lies I heard for years began to be repeated in my self talk. I believed their evaluation, and that led to feelings of self-hatred and depression. It seemed that everyone was better than me.
God began a healing in me when I accepted Him as my Savior. The process was slow, sometimes painful, and frequently frustrating. But little by little, God began to transform my self-image and restore my self esteem. Satan’s lies had become firmly rooted in my mind and spirit, and I needed the help of others to break free. That’s why I spent 13 years in counseling and 12 years in support groups.
Believe me, it was hard work. But gradually the roots were severed and my mind was renewed by the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. I now know who I really am in Christ, and I am able to accept myself with all my imperfections. I’m living the transformed life now, and enjoying myself!
My journey was long and arduous, though, and one reason I began this blog was that I hope by sharing my experiences I can shorten the healing process of others. And as I’ve stated before, the journey begins by discovering your true identity.
Who Am I?
How many of us have asked that question in the mirror? Throughout your life you may ask that question many times. What kinds of answers do you get? Could it be that you have not grasped the importance of who you truly are, so you keep asking?
Answering that question begins with acknowledging that you are not perfect. Here’s a news flash: No one is perfect. As long as you are in this human skin, mistakes will always be made. Romans 3:23 makes that clear: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” You’re no better– or worse– than anyone else.
You see, many people look to others to tell them who they are. This is a mistake. The only one who can tell you who you are is the One who created you. And He has good news! Yes, we are sinners– but we don’t have to stay that way! Through Jesus we can find forgiveness, restoration, healing and wholeness. Many people can quote John 3:16, but I also love John 3:17, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
Yes, we are imperfect, but God doesn’t condemn us for that. In Christ there is hope! God loves us! He accepts us right where we are, but He doesn’t leave us there. While now we are imperfect beings living in an imperfect world, we have the promise of a home in eternity where there is no imperfection. All will be made right, sin will be no more, we will be forever loved and accepted and at peace. Heaven will be awesome!
Living The Transformed Life
Meanwhile, we can begin living the transformed life right here, by following after God with our whole heart. This means centering your life around the words of Jesus in Matthew 22:37-39, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Ever since Creation, God’s greatest desire has been to have an intimate relationship with mankind. We first see this in the garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve walked with God. The fall of man and the entrance of sin into the world brought that to a halt. But God provided a way for His relationship with us to be restored, through the sacrifice of His Son. Jesus made a way for us to be reunited with the Father. Salvation is the first step to living the transformed life.
But we do not live this life alone. We must also love others, as we love ourselves. Loving ourselves is possible when we discover our true identity in Christ. So the second step in living the transformed life is to love yourself– imperfections and all.
That is really what we all want – to be satisfied with ourselves. Happiness is not about material things, although the world would have you think so. If that were the case why do people who seem to have “arrived” succumb to drugs, alcohol, suicide or some other downward spiraling situation? They didn’t have to worry about money, so what made them so unhappy? Many think the answer is material because this is what they lack. They blame others for being weak over it but the reason is deeper than that. They didn’t feel validated or valued. All of that changes once you find the acceptance of your loving Father.
When you fully love God and yourself, you have the capacity to love others. The cycle of love– God, yourself, others– becomes complete. And you don’t have to become perfect to enjoy this kind of life!
Tips For Embracing Imperfection
Let go – This is not the same as giving up. What you need to let go of is the expectations of others for your life. Set goals for your life and challenge yourself. But, do so with goals that satisfy how you see yourself living. Don’t use someone else’s measuring stick to chart your path.
Love everyone, beginning with yourself – This is the biggest tip. Shaming and blaming, jumping on the bandwagon, trying to fit in and other actions stem from not wanting attention paid to our flaws and shortcomings. Some people will compromise their values and beliefs to fit in and not be ridiculed by others.
What is the cost to your life? Is it worth trading in for the opinions of other imperfect human beings just like you? Invest in yourself by taking the time to accept who you are in love. Then and only then can you find places and people to whom you “belong” as an authentic “you” and not a cardboard cutout.
Forget perfection – It is a pipe dream. Each person has their own vision of what’s important to their life. God’s vision is the one to hold onto. Find ways to live your life around it. Share it with others. Be vulnerable with it. Find out how to be the best person that you can become in the time you have on this planet.
Be yourself – Everyone grows over time. The person you were yesterday is not the person you will be ten years from now, and that is how it should be. Take the time to get to know your likes, dislikes, giftings and dreams. All of your other relationships stem from the one you have with yourself. Be the “you” God created you to be.
The drive for perfection is an endeavor doomed to failure. Instead of finding it, most people find disappointment, anxiety, judgment and a face in the mirror that is not truly their own. Who you are is more important to life (yours and that of others) than trying to fit a certain shape or mold. The world is waiting for you and your unique gifts, talents and presence. It would be deprived of a shining light if you sell yourself short by conforming to the wishes of the world instead of the God-given potential that is waiting inside of you to burst forth. When you take the courage to be free, embrace your imperfections and accept yourself as you are, you give others the permission to be themselves as well. And that’s a win-win for everyone.
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“Is A New You Really Possible?” http://www.livingthetransformedlife.com/is-a-new-you-really-possible
“Are You A Victim of Identity Theft?” http://www.livingthetransformedlife.com/are-you-a-victim-of-identity-theft