‘If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content’ – LeoTolstoy
Perfection is defined by Merriam-Webster as ‘Freedom from fault or defect’. It can be demonstrated through the appearance of our home, the clothes that we wear, the yard that we keep, the car that we drive, our work ethic, and various other ways, but when it comes to our humanity, it simply can’t. We are flawed. We are imperfect, and that is truth.
Perfection is displayed all around us whether we are driving down the road, searching the internet, watching TV, pumping fuel, or scrolling through our social media feed – You name it, wherever there is a chance for your eyes to see, businesses are brilliantly and creatively using these spaces to bombard us with advertisements that utilize airbrushed size 0 models, men with powerful sculpted muscles, blissful couples living out their happily ever after, and people with flawless skin who are dressed to the nines- OR – in those moments that we find time to check out for a bit, we see that our friends are posting content highlighting the ‘perfectness’ of life, completely editing out the fight they just had with their spouse, the pile of dirty clothes that sits in their laundry room, the issue they face with their child, or the stress ensuing from their bank account. False perfection is everywhere whether it be intentional or not, and its consistent portrayal easily tricks our minds into believing that if we aren’t these things, or don’t have them then something must be wrong with us.
I had the honor of meeting a young woman not long ago. She was stunning, with a personality that could turn heads in a room, and draw a crowd in for conversation. As I spoke to her, I instantly saw these great things, but as conversation went on, I recognized that she didn’t share my view of herself. She was distracted.
James 5:16 says that we are to,
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Confessing our faults isn’t popular. In doing so, we prove that we are not what culture, advertisements, and social media dictate, and that’s a hard pill to swallow because it means you have to actually admit your imperfection, and allow others to see the flaws you possess. But as we see here, it’s Biblical, and if we desire to truly live a life for Jesus, then we know it is a requirement; a requirement that possesses the power to heal…and how many of us have been longing and searching for a healing for far too long?
1 Thessalonians 5:11 goes on to instruct us,
Wherefore comfort yourselves together and edify one another, even as also ye do.
We comfort one another by identifying with each other, and having the opportunity to realize that we are not alone. Portraying a false perfection works directly opposite of this statement. It restricts us from allowing others in; driving a stake between us keeping us from fully realizing the power of community that Jesus called us into through comforting and edifying one another.
While sitting in conversation with that young woman, she opened up to me, and I found that her distraction was surrounded by the part of her that isn’t what the billboard shows, and doesn’t necessarily match what the social media feed declares. Through our conversation, and her willingness to ‘be real’ with me I learned that she and I aren’t all that different, and the thing that distracts her from seeing how wonderful she is, is the same distraction that once held me captive in darkness, the same one that created a false shame in my own life. In that moment sitting with her, my heart began to ache as I remembered the pain that I once endured over the same struggle, and that pain drew me into obedience to comfort and edify through my testimony of deliverance that can only come from God.
I wish I could tell you a transformation happened right then and there, but I can’t. It’s likely that our paths will not cross again, and I won’t know how her story ends, or if my testimony proved helpful – and in that thought I am reminded that her story is not for me to know. You see, God only tells us to ‘Go.’ He doesn’t tell us to save; only He can do that. Thankfully, our job is simple in comparison; all we have to do is tell others how He has changed our lives, and to selflessly accept that He doesn’t only save us from our sin and shame, it goes further than that. He saves us, and that is wonderful, but our redemption has another purpose one that is far greater than our own life with far reaching effects. With it, He desires to use our story to pull others from the same pit, but the decision to allow Him to do so is left to us. Ultimately, we choose whether or not we open our mouths and declare His work. We must come to a point and understand that locking our testimony up out of fear of appearing imperfect or questioning its power to help is wrong; it is a direct refusal for His purpose, and allowing His work in us to be fully accomplished, and it enables this belief in false perfection to spread, continuing to steal joy, life, self-love, and peace from those around us.
I heard someone say once that, ‘Our story holds the key to unlock someone else’s chains.’ I wonder what are we doing with our key. Who is the person, and where are they — the one that God desires to free using the testimony He has created within us? We won’t know the answer to this if we aren’t willing to speak up, or become vulnerable. Portraying this false perfection stops our healing, their healing – your healing and stifles the promise provided to us in Genesis 50:20 when it says,
But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good…
I encourage you to take these words with you today. Remember that He has saved us with purpose. He took the bad that the enemy imposed upon us and He turned it to good, and that good didn’t stop in the moment He saved us. He wants you to profess His goodness, testify to His word, and allow Him to create a light that radiates from your existence which will serve as a beacon to those that are lost so that He can use it as a guide to lead them into His saving grace, and to help them so that they, just like you, will Choose Him.
Think it over;
1) Are you afraid of what others will think if they know the dirtiness of your past?
2) What holds you back from sharing the work of God in your life?
3) In that place of darkness where you used to dwell, didn’t you once long for the day when someone would come and offer you hope?
Pray it over;
Pray that God will show you how to use your testimony. Pray that He will help you to forgive yourself, giving you the courage to step outside of any past shame you still feel today. Declare to the enemy of your soul that you are a child of God, and the person you used to be is forgiven, redeemed, and stands with purpose to fight in order to draw others into the marvelous light of Jesus Christ. Pray that God will give you the confidence to use His work so that someone else can experience the same life changing experience, and receive the same joy that has filled your soul.