Nobody's Perfect, Isn't That Awesome?
How many times in your life have you heard that phrase? You may have heard it when you've messed up, made a mistake, or chosen poorly and someone who cares about you is trying to make you feel better.
Or maybe you've even heard it coming out of your own mouth as you sought to do the same for someone else.
It's a phrase that in its very essence is completely and utterly true. There isn't a single human being who is perfect---everyone has flaws, foibles, characteristics, behaviors, and habits that need improvement.
I choose to believe that we are all created good, but we also fall short of the kind of goodness to which we all aspire---at least to some degree. I also believe that we are also cherished by God, and loved unconditionally in our brokenness and frailty.
I've often said that God loves us just as we are, and loves us far too much to want us to stay just as we are.
But none of this stops me from demanding perfection from myself, and (when I am in unhealthy spaces) from time to time demanding it of others, as well.
I'm my own worst critic, though, first and foremost. I know I'm not perfect (Boy, do I know it!), but that doesn't keep me from beating myself up when I fall short of my own expectations, or what I perceive to be the expectations of others.
When confronted with the stark reality that perfection eludes me, I sometimes withdraw into myself, turning my anger and frustration inward, which is never a good idea.
Many of us know what can happen when we do this because there's a universality to the effects that constant self-criticism over imperfection has on us. The kind of inward-turning I mentioned can lead to depression, anxiety, bitterness, and paralysis when it comes to making decisions.
The Apostle Paul once wrote: "Every single one of us has missed the mark and fallen short of God's glory." I used to think that verse was an indictment, a declaration of judgment, when, in fact, it's the exact opposite.
Sure, it's a statement of fact, but Paul meant it to be a liberating one.
You see, it's actually a kinder, gentler way of saying, "Nobody's perfect." And then Paul goes on to demonstrate how by God's grace our imperfections can actually become a means of grace when they are embraced, then turned over to God.
Along those same lines, Father Richard Rohr wrote this amazing passage, which I had to share today:
Perfection is not the elimination of imperfection, as we think. Divine perfection is, in fact, the ability to recognize, forgive, and include imperfection—just as God does with all of us.
Imagine if we were able to see our own imperfections as God sees them. Imagine how that might transform the way we see ourselves as we are able to recognize them, and then forgive ourselves for them.
Imagine what it would look if you and I were able to include our imperfections in our daily life, allowing God to redeem them by using them to teach grace, show love and demonstrate redemption when we continue living toward our best selves in spite of them.
It would be transformative not only in our own lives but in the world around us as well. We would become agents of positive change, bearers of the Divine light wherever we go.
And we would do it in perfectly imperfect ways, which is exactly what God longs for most from each of us. To paraphrase the Apostle Paul, "When imperfect people accomplish extraordinary things, the glory always comes back to God, as it should."
May you embrace your imperfections today, and know that they are forgiven and included by a God who loves you beyond all love. And may this give you the courage to keep going, keep trying, keep working for a better world.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.