For some reason, I keep thinking I’ll wake up one morning and finally be changed, be the person I imagine to be in my head. We all have that desire, don’t why? We dream about what it would be like to finally be complete and put together, everything in life flowing smoothly. Perfect.
“Will I ever be perfect?” I offer up my frustration to God. Of course, I’m not expecting an answer because I already know my fate.
Much to my dismay, I know I will never be perfect. At least not in the way I think.
My horrible attitudes and hurtful ways surprise me. The ongoing trials and everyday challenges never fade, there is always something brewing on the horizon. Did I mention how easy it is to send me over the edge? All it takes is three whiny, crying kids and suddenly I’m saying things I swore I’d never let come out of my mouth. I thought for sure by the time I arrived in my thirties I would be learning new things, not the same ol’ lessons I learned in my twenties.
Turns out, I was wrong.
As an adult I seem to have grown in my ability to make mistakes, break God’s heart, or wound others and myself. I wish it wasn’t so.
I always thought my relationship with God was something measurable, graded with letters A through F. I ignorantly assumed, and was even taught, that growing closer to God meant loving people better, serving my community more, not yelling at my kids as much, and becoming less enticed by sin. Surely a mature follower of Jesus walks in more confidence, obedience, and courage than they did yesterday.
My aim was perfection through my try-hard efforts and spirited striving, yet I had nothing to show for it. Rigorous discipline, reading my Bible, even hours of prayer still didn’t bring the total transformation I was hoping to achieve.
Maybe you’ve noticed it too-pursuing perfection is a never-ending cycle of exhaustion and shame.
Our innocent question, “Will I ever be perfect?” reveals a dangerous belief that at some point we will stop needing God.
Do you notice how we associate neediness with immaturity and we vow never to be that kind of person?
We don’t want to bother others or God, constantly bugging Him with our problems and issues seems childish and annoying. But alas, my thirties has me surrendering to the fact that I am perpetually stained with sin and a professional at making a mess of my life… repeatedly.
“God, when will I ever be perfect?” I cry out.
Again and again I posed the question, hoping for Him to give me a specific age, a time frame, or at least a plan to help me overcome my weakness and frailty, my awful tendency to mess up and miss the mark.
His gentle response has started to surface lately, perhaps because I’m finally giving into the fact that I will never wake up perfect, or even wear that title for a moment.
Perfect is taking up your position as My Beloved.
Perfect is clinging to your purpose in Me.
Perfect is falling on your face and rising again, persevering to the end.
Friends, I get tired of needing Him. Maybe you do too? We wrongly assume that coming on our knees in humbling repentance and asking for forgiveness more than once a day are typical traits of someone who is messed up. But quite the opposite is true.
On this earth, I won’t ever have a pure heart, a clean life, or untainted motives.
God’s plan with sin was never to eradicate it completely, but to make us more acutely aware of it. The more intimate we are with Jesus, the more glaringly obvious we see our brokenness and desperate need of a Savior. As worship leader Melissa Helser likes to say, “We will never outgrow our need for Him.”
Perfect isn’t found in our relentless striving but in our restful stance next to Him- needy, dependent, and delighting in our good Father.
Perfect is persevering in our position (as His Beloved) and our purpose (to love Him).
Maybe perfect isn’t what I pictured after all.
I will close with this quote from a book I read on raising wild kids who love and appreciate nature. The author said, “Get used to dirt.”
Bang. It hit me. I hate dirt, stains, and messes. I’d rather my kids, my house, and my heart stay clean. Forever.
But there’s no life in this kind of avoidance and fear. It’s suffocating, controlling, and joyless. Following Jesus is messy because He’s always inviting us to take risks and live an adventure.
Getting dirty is perfect. It signifies we are engaging with life, stepping out of our comfort zones, and trusting in Jesus to do His perfecting work in us!
I love that this sweet lady, an author and an unlikely gardener, has a book coming out in June called Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life. It is a reminder we all need – good things indeed come from the dirt and that life begins when we let go of perfect! “The act of digging into what feels messy or broken may feel challenging or uncomfortable, but it’s necessary to grow new things. The hard work of cultivating will be worth it.”
Her words spoke to me today and she’s letting us peek into the first three chapters of her book too!