I love my husband. He’s only gotten better at being a husband since we married eighteen years ago. Nobody’s perfect and that means our marriage isn’t perfect either.
I know this. I do. But what I expect and what I know don’t always become friends.
A few months ago, I got another dose of disappointment when I realized I’m still chasing perfect.
I looked around at my freshly painted and remodeled kitchen. “I am one lucky girl,” I thought to myself. The smoke from the BBQ rose in the backyard and I could smell the scent of the tri-tip slathered in BBQ sauce. Dean was doing what he does best and cooking for the family. He probably cooks more than I do.
A smile emerged from the corners of my mouth because I was so happy. “Lord, thank you for my husb … what the heck is that?!?!?!?”
You’ll never guess what I saw on the counter. It stopped me dead in my tracks and I backed away in horror. My joy immediately turned stale. Frustration was trying to burst from my throat to make it’s way into a sound that would have scared the neighbors.
Sitting on my counter was not one, not two, not even three … but four clean washcloths. Nothing gets me fired up more than my husband and kids getting a clean washcloth out of the drawer. Especilally when there’s a perfectly clean one in the sink.
It ruined my attitude. I was tempted to go outside and lecture him. I wanted to pick up every washcloth and dangle it in front of his face and yell, “Are you sure you don’t need one more to add to the collection!?”
This is the part where I’m reminded that although I say I know things can’t be perfect, I expect them to be. Expecting perfection is nothing new. I know it’s not possible, yet I want it. I know it’s unattainable, yet I strive for it.
Don’t we all? Who is the genius who invented the filter for pictures? Because I want to thank that guy. If you ever want to strike it rich, figure out a way to make something imperfect seem perfect. Because we’ll all empty our bank accounts for that kind of product.
Here’s what we have to understand about ourselves. Something inside our souls knows perfection was once a part of our lives. We want what we lost in the garden. The problem is that it’s not attainable this side of eternity. That’s the part we will always struggle with while we walk this earth.
First, we must understand that we will always long for perfection. I know, I know. Such a struggle!! But get that in your head now.
Romans 8:19-23 is a great passage of scripture that shows the longing all creation has for perfection. Verse 23 says, “But we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the spirit, groan inwardly, while we wait for the adoption, the redemption of our bodies.”
Can you relate?
Like me, do you groan when you look at yourself in the mirror and see flaws?
Or do you groan when you feel like you can’t live up to perfection with family and friends? Do you groan when your almost perfect husband grabs another clean washcloth when there’s already four in the sink?
I get it. Because we all do it. So, how do we deal with this constant striving for perfection when we know we’ll never get it?
One of my favorite things to learn about people is that they’re not perfect. I don’t know. There’s something beautiful about a not-so-perfect person admitting their flaws. Because that’s all we are … flawed people. And guess what? God uses flawed people.
God is the extreme opposite of us. Our standard is perfection and His standard is to use the flawed (1 Cor 1:27).
Why does He seek out the flawed while we look for perfection? Why does He choose to use those with less to offer while we look for the overly qualified? 2 Corinthians 4:7 has the answer. Paul says, “We have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power comes from God and not from us.”
Did you catch that? God uses imperfect people to prove to the world that He exists. Creation alone attests that there must be a God in heaven. But so does the fact that we aren’t perfect. When people see a flawed person perfected by the power of God they have proof that He exists.
And finally, just because we’re not perfect doesn’t mean we’re not being perfected. Philippians 1:6 says, “Being confident in this, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Are you ready for a bit of a grammar lesson? “Perfect” is pronounced two different ways. And because it has two different pronunciations, it is two different parts of speech. The kind of perfect we want is the noun. We chase perfect. We want to grab hold of it and we groan for it.
But God doesn’t work that way. He per-fects us. This is a verb, meaning He is at work in us to bring us to perfection. This is a progress and will only be reached on “the day of Christ Jesus”. That means the day He returns or calls us home.
So my friend, we are perfection in progress. We are constantly allowing God to perfect us. Instead of looking back to what was lost in the garden, we look ahead to what awaits.
I don’t know about you, but this is hard. Every human on earth, Christian or not, will battle the desire for perfection. It’s in our nature to long for it. But we have to be o’kay with progressing in perfection because we’ll never grab hold of it.
I want to challenge you today to start striving for the kind of perfect that’s not burdensome. The type of perfect that’s only found in Christ as the power of the Holy Spirit works in you. Because, that’s the only way we’ll ever feel satisfied.
And there you have it! The cat’s out of the bag. I’m not perfect and neither are you. But that’s o’kay. Just remember that we are perfection in progress and God is doing a work in us. And God’s work of perfection doesn’t need filters.
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