Waiting to be perfect?
How long are you willing to wait until you're perfect?
I recently learned that Michelangelo created David from a piece of marble that had been twice discarded by two other sculptors. When Michelangelo finally got his hands on it, the marble had been waiting for 40 years for someone who was up to its challenge.
Waiting to be perfect for God?
This brilliant work of art was created out of an imperfect piece of marble. And it took 40 years before someone decided it was worth using. When I heard this, it took my breath away.
Can you relate to my questions?
At the time, I was reading and reflecting a lot about the true self in preparation for my upcoming March retreat, The Journey Within, and I couldn't help but be overwhelmed by the metaphor. How many times have I not used one of my talents for fear it's not perfect enough? How many times have I waited to do something I felt a little God nudge to do but didn't pursue it for fear it wasn't the perfect time? How long have I waited to be perfect before making myself available to God? Can you relate to my questions?
Stop waiting. Start uncovering 'the lies we believe'
Whether you think you're a perfectionist in your daily life or not, I invite you to reflect on whether you have perfectionist tendencies in your faith life. Dr. Chris Thurman in his book, "The Lies We Believe" lists the false narratives we carry around that can damage our emotional and spiritual health. Reflect on them. Do any of them resonate with you?
1. God's love must be earned.
2. God hates the sin and the sinner.
3. Because I'm a Christian, God will protect me from pain and suffering.
4. All my problems are caused by my sins.
5. It is my Christian duty to meet all the needs of others.
6. A good Christian doesn't feel angry, anxious, or depressed.
7. God can't use me unless I'm spiritually strong.
Be open to humility
The common thread in all of these is the belief that you have to be perfect for God and for others. If I'm perfect God will love me, my life will go well, and my life will mean something. With this way of living, there's no room for humility, which is really all God wants from you. God doesn't ask you to be perfect, but to be humble. God doesn't ask you to know everything, but to trust. God doesn't ask you to be more than you're capable of but to be honest when you're frustrated, tired, or upset. It's in that state of weakness you're able to be open and hear the small still voice of God trying to reach you.
Be open to sitting with God
How do you work through all of these false beliefs? By allowing yourself to sit with God. Spend time in prayer without an agenda and a list of things to fix. Simply rest in God's loving arms and know that is enough. Know that YOU are enough. It's in that raw and honest moment of humility you can find peace in all the imperfection. If you feel like an imperfect piece of marble that isn't worth using, stop yourself. Ask yourself, How can I be open to allowing God to carve away and uncover all of the beauty in my perfectly imperfect self?
Author Joyce Rupp sums this all up in one of my favorite poems. You may recognize it from my book.
The Perfect Cup
By Joyce Rupp
It is time for me to see the flaws of myself
and stop being alarmed.
It is time for me to halt my drive for perfection
and to accept my blemishes.
It is time for me to receive slowly evolving growth
the kind that comes in Gods own good time
and pays no heed to my panicky pushing.
It is time for me to embrace my humanness
to love my incompleteness.
It is time for me to cherish the unwanted
to welcome the unknown
to treasure the unfulfilled.
If I wait to be perfect before I love myself
I will always be unsatisfied and ungrateful.
If I wait until all the flaws, chips, and cracks disappear
I will be the cup that stands on the shelf and is never used.
Reflect & Share
Do you struggle with perfection?
Do any of the "lies we believe" resonate with you?
Share some tips and insight: How do you work on allowing God to love you for you?
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