It’s Okay To Be Perfectly Imperfect

fullsizerenderAre you familiar with the “mannequin challenge” shared throughout social media? When the word is said, everyone freezes in their position capturing the moment in mid-stream. This caused me to reflect on my challenge during a high school elective class where I had the opportunity to work as a real-life mannequin. During an open house event, I was challenged to mirror a department store mannequin marketing retail clothing. As I stepped onto the platform I stepped into someone I was not. Perfect. Flawless. Perfectly put together.  I took my place ready to appear fake, holding a plastic smile as if life was without trouble. Many attempted to break my polished pose by cracking jokes, poking me, or waiting to catch me blink. But, if my memory serves me, I fooled them all. (Insert smirking grin here.)

Have you ever tried being someone you’re not?

Is your exterior perfect, when inside you are undone?

Do you try and convince others you have everything together when you’re dying inside?

We protect ourselves from being real and raw, so we won’t get hurt. We convince ourselves that if people knew the real us, they would mock us, reject us, or condemningly judge us.

John 4:1-42 tells a story of a Samaritan woman, also known to us as the “woman at the well.” She too tried to avoid exposing her real self, but Jesus saw through her. On the outside, she was put together, strong, and confident. But on the inside she was a mess, lonely, broken, and lost.

As this woman engaged in conversation with Jesus he did not condemn her. He did not walk away. He did not discard her. He engaged with her because He could see through her mess, pain, and brokenness.  He saw potential, beauty, purpose, and a heart that longed to be loved; truly loved in a way only He could fulfill.

My favorite part of her story is what happened once she stopped trying to be someone she was not. God used her to win her town for Christ! She was so free from the bondage of her own making that her image of perfection on the outside was no longer needed. She now had everything she ever needed, Christ Himself.

The day I posed as a mannequin I learned a few life lessons:

  • Being fake does not invite people in, but pushes them away.
  • People know when you are fake.
  • It’s exhausting trying to be someone you’re not!
  • It bears no good fruit.
  • Loneliness becomes your only companion.

God designed us for relationship. Authentic relationship. We need friends that don’t have it all together and that share in similar life struggles. We need perfectly imperfect relationships, so we can be who we are. Flawed. Broken. Crazy. Dorky. Weepy. Funny. Scared. Needy. Perfection was only meant to be achieved by one person, Jesus. So, let’s authenticate our smile, breathe a little deeper, accept we need one another, and step off the platform into our perfectly imperfect selves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If The Shoe Fits Wear It

QuestionYourselfRomans12-2 smallFor years, I forced my feet to conform to shoes that did not fit properly.  The right shoe was always more snug than the left. But when I tried a larger size, my left foot would come out of the shoe while my right foot fit the shoe perfectly.

So, I just dealt with it and chose the smaller size. This decision grew to be a painful one over time. A painful knot formed on my right foot that only a shot of cortisone could relieve.  Let me tell you that getting a shot in the side of your foot makes you want to slap someone!  It concerned me that I was the cause of this growing problem. I had not realized it was taking place until it was too late.

This experience left me asking myself, “What else have I conformed to that was not a fit for me? And, if it was not a fit, why did I force it?”  Here are a few things that came to mind:

  • An unhealthy friendship—because I could see so much potential in this person.
  • Meeting expectations others had on me—because I did not want to let anyone down.
  • A spiritual gift that I did not have—because my real one felt insignificant.
  • Saying yes to one more thing on my schedule way too often—because saying no was hard.
  • Filling a void with a purpose I created—because I got impatient waiting on God to show me my purpose.

I had to ask myself this question:   “What grew from trying to conform to what was not a fit for me?”  Well, the answer to this question “stinks” worse than my feet:  🙂

  • Bitterness
  • Resentment
  • Loss of identity
  • Fatigue
  • Stress

Can you relate to any of this, or am I all by myself?

When we force ourselves to fit a mold that was not designed for us, we stunt our growth and suffer.

When we accept Gods unique design for us, we cultivate a willingness to forgive, appreciate others, accept our true identity, and no longer conformed, but transformed for the glory of God.

I am reminded of Romans 12:2 (NASB), “ And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Read that last part again and let it sink in: “The will of God is good, acceptable and perfect.”

The experience of David comes to mind in 1 Samuel 17. David was preparing to go toe to toe with Goliath and King Saul tried making him wear military armor.  David could not even walk in it.  Instead of conforming to what was expected for one to wear going into battle he chose to walk onto the battle   field wearing his spiritual armor.  The armor designed just for him.  And, by the way, David killed Goliath with the very skill and gifts God gave him.

This makes me want to shout: “If the shoe fits wear it!”

I encourage you to ask yourself the same questions I asked myself.  Be honest.  Then, choose to release what is not a fit for you, and let God heal the pain that has grown from it.  God’s ways are perfect, so seek Him first in all your ways.  You can trust Him.

Proverbs 16:4 “The Lord has made everything for its own purpose…”