As a senior in high school, I was ready to take on the world. Graduation was on the horizon, and I was excited about delving into studies for a career in Physical Therapy. Nothing could dampen my spirits, until one day, I wore a sleeveless shirt to school.
My friend, sitting behind me, so observantly noticed my bare arms and commented, “Wow, you have really big arms.”
Of course, the comment was spoken in jest, but I truly knew my friend was right. I was physically flawed with hefty arms. Twenty years later, I am still self-conscious about the way my arms look. I have tried exercising to tone them. I have even bought lotions and creams that promise to tighten flabby skin. But no matter what I try doing to tone them or help their appearance, my arms don’t change. As silly as it sounds, my flaw continues to haunt me.
Truthfully, I have discovered I am flawed in many ways. Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually- there’s no perfection in me. Over the years, I have tirelessly strived for perfection, to make myself into the “best me” possible, but to no avail. I continue to make mistakes. I continue to have shortcomings in my character. I still sin even though I have intentions of following God’s commands. While there are many things I love about myself, surely there’s an equal amount of things I dislike about myself.
It is easy to become discouraged as I know I have so much room for improvement. It feels so overwhelming to motivate myself to work on my imperfections, almost as if I’m undertaking an impossible task.
It’s also tempting to look around at my friends and family with envious eyes. Everyone else seems to have everything together. “I bet Laney didn’t yell at her kids this morning before school,” I silently tell myself. “If I can’t even be patient with my children, how can God possibly use me for His glory?” I have been guilty of comparing myself to others, admiring their character traits which evade me, and sometimes wishing I could be more like them.
Surely though, this isn’t what God has in mind for my life? When I focus on my flaws, I become distracted from focusing on the Lord and what He has in store for me.
As I study about what the Bible says about being imperfect, I realize some very important truths God laid on my heart. Perhaps He wants you to hear them too…
So when I am tempted to dwell on all that is wrong with me, God encourages me to think about all that is right with me, as I have learned through reading His Word.
- God thinks I am so special that He created me in His own image (Genesis 1:27). He took the time to form me, to create and develop me, rather than just speaking me into being. He breathed His own breath, a part of Himself, into man so that he, and we, may have life (Genesis 2:7). God thinks I am His masterpiece and He designed everything about me. He appointed me with likes, dislikes, personality traits, physical features, and yes, even flaws. He embraces me because He created me.
- God understands my imperfections and loves me even though I am just a messy human as He acknowledges that no person alive is perfect (Ecclesiastes 7:20). The Lord even goes so far as to help me out of my pit of doom and sin by providing a way for me to have a relationship with Him forever. His sacrifice of Jesus on the cross provides perfect grace which makes me perfect in His eyes (Romans 5:8, Ephesians 2:8). The Lord knows I will make mistakes and stray from His will but continues to love me, covering me with His blanket of forgiving grace (Isaiah 53:6).
- God desires my love. He calls me to love Him with every ounce of my being, my heart, mind, and soul. And even with all of my flaws, He desires my complete love and dedication to Him. He wants every part of me. If the Lord of the Heavens and Earth is accepting of my shortcomings, shouldn’t I learn to embrace them too?
- I’m not the only one who struggles with feelings of unworthiness. Many people in the Bible were significantly defected. I join many others who struggled with feelings of doubt of self-worth and insecurities. Moses felt he had a physical flaw as he was not an eloquent speaker (Exodus 4:10). I am sure he figured God wouldn’t use someone who couldn’t even speak properly to lead His people out of slavery. Also, Joseph was abused and likely carried emotional scars from being disliked so much by his own brothers that they sold him into bondage. Would it be possible for God to use someone like him to carry out His plan? The Bible says yes. Jonah chose to run from God and His plan for Jonah’s life, which surely didn’t foster a healthy spiritual relationship with the Lord. He was spiritually flawed. But despite Jonah’s imperfections, God’s ultimate plan was carried out as the message of salvation was delivered to the people of Ninevah (Jonah 1:3, Jonah 3:1-4). Abraham demonstrates he was mentally flawed as he thought old age rendered him unusable by God (Genesis 17:17). But I know God had great, big plans in store for him and the generations to come. As the Bible shows by example of men and women throughout history, God can use even someone like me, who is flawed in every area, to fulfill His purposes. Letting my insecurities, deficiencies, and fears get in the way shows my lack of faith. He can overcome any imperfection I have, if only I make myself available to Him.
- Comparison is the thief of joy – A small sentence that packs a lot of powerful truth in it. The Bible warns against such thieves that only want to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). I can always look around and notice someone who seems to be doing a better job than me as a parent, wife, employee, or Christian. It’s easy to get caught up in the comparison game. But when I spend my time comparing myself to others, I am missing out on blessings that God has prepared for me. I am being robbed of my joy in Christ. And what’s more, even though those other people look perfect, I know deep down inside, they are human, just like me. Whether I can visibly see it or not, they are flawed in some way too. We share something in common as God cares deeply for each of us. He doesn’t have favorites as we are all special to Him as His beloved children.
Find hope in knowing that even though you, too, like me, may have a million things you would love to change about yourself, God loves you just the way you are. You don’t have to relentlessly strive for perfection because Jesus took care of that on the cross for you. Instead of focusing on your weaknesses, focus on serving God with everything you have, flaws and everything. Blessings will abound as you realize He can and will use you, as you make yourself available to Him and His plan for your life. Be on guard against comparison, being aware we are only human and are all in this together. Certainly, we will make mistakes and that’s okay. We all are perfectly flawed and perfectly forgiven.
Thanks for stopping by and sharing this time with me!