The Perfect Lie
Last week I shared about the student event our oldest was involved in. It took place last Wednesday and it was such a blessing to get to see him really thrive in his element. We tried very hard not to embarrass him. Not sure if we were successful or not but we had a great time. I kept my sunglasses on so no one could really tell I was crying. ;)
The phenomenal group who led worship (remember the ones that had me hiding and crying in my office?) were so moving and talented as they led these students.
About halfway through the music set a car alarm started going off. (this event took place outside on a townsquare) And it kept going off. And kept going off. It went off for the last 5-6 minutes of worship. No exaggeration. And now it was time for my stepson to share. The car alarm was still going off. I was praying. Pleading with God, please don’t let this car alarm keep going off! This is his moment, God! Ugh. I was frustrated. I wanted it to be perfect for him. But car alarm and all he got up there and started sharing. The alarm continued for 5 of the 10 minutes he shared. (I recorded the whole thing. I checked. 5 minutes.)
A few minutes after the car alarm did stop a train announced its arrival somewhere nearby for about 30 seconds. Then a tow truck showed up to tow a vehicle that had crashed and gotten stuck under one of the students cars before we started. I’m not making any of this up.
I was aware of all of this as I stood there and watched him share his story. But thankfully, God in all his goodness was making me aware of some other, more important things at the same time. First of all, my stepson didn’t seem to be fazed by any of this. Not one bit. He was clear and concise and well-spoken. Brave and bold and so in his lane. He wasn’t distracted at all.
And neither were the students watching him. They were focused and listening. They were fine. As God showed me these truths, in spite of the reality of the imperfect, I had the greatest sense of peace come over me. God was moving. There was no problem.
I’ve been thinking about all of that since then.
I wanted all the details to be so perfect for my stepson. As he took this step, as he had a big “first” I wanted it to look a certain way for him so he could succeed.
Now I am laughing out loud as God reminds me of the words I sent to my stepson as he prepared last week. Here are the exact words I sent him:
“The most important thing I would tell you: It’s going to be awesome no matter what! God has put you in this position and he’s put you there to succeed. Preparation and practice always matter but at the end of the day it’s God that moves in the hearts of people. He will speak to them through you no matter what. Perfection is never our goal. Just surrender. Surrender to him. Be faithful in the preparation but in the end trust him to do what only he can do. You cannot fail. There is no failure when we do what God has asked us to do. Only opportunities to grow and learn. But no failure. That’s the most important thing.”
And now God is using my own words to speak back to me. Ok, that’s a little rude. ;) However, also totally on point.
Somehow I had forgotten all of this and thought all of those little annoyances were somehow going to take away from what God planned to do. Not possible.
The Bible tells us in the book of Job that no plan of God can be thwarted. (Job 42:2)
I am so thankful for that truth!
I had also made the mistake of thinking this was my stepson’s moment. It wasn’t. It was God’s moment. And that’s why it would be ok no matter what.
We live in a world more obsessed with perfection than ever before. Between all of the images we see online and the constant barrage of new products to give us perfect skin, perfect hair and perfect makeup to the perfect home, credit score, and portfolio. The world actually has us all believing that perfection is a real thing. It’s not! Perfection isn’t real! Please can we be set free from believing that lie! Perfection just simply isn’t real. Let me show you:
What is the perfect meal? I’ll tell you mine. It’s simple. Sushi. The fresher and more raw the better! Along with a side of seaweed salad. I’m completely serious. Perfect meal right there.
Now, am I right? Is that perfection? It is to me, you betcha.
But I know it is the exact opposite of perfection to a lot of pretty awesome people. They aren’t wrong and I’m not right. Perfection is wrong. There is no perfect meal because there is no perfect. There is Sara’s favorite meal. Your favorite meal. But those might change too! Maybe one day next week my perfect meal is suddenly steak and lobster. Who knows! Can you see? Perfection is an illusion. Perfection is unattainable and also unnecessary.
It’s unattainable because it only exists in our minds and it’s different in every person. There is no true north. There is nothing to stand on. It changes. It’s always evolving and moving. Perfection is like building a house on the sand. There is no stability.
We need a solid foundation. Perfection will never be that.
Perfection is also unnecessary.
Thankfully for us, since perfection is unattainable, it is also completely unnecessary. God knows perfection is not something we are capable of. So he doesn’t require it of us. The only perfection that ever existed and will ever exist is Jesus.
He is our perfection. Because he is perfect I don’t have to be. No striving, no breaking my neck to reach some impossible goal. God neither requires nor expects my perfection. Just like I told my stepson, God just wants my surrendered heart. God wants all of the imperfect me. I am a walking mess of car alarms, and train horns and tow trucks. And God takes one look at me and says “Yeah, I can work with that.” But not if I think I am perfect and not if I go around trying to convince you and everyone else that I am perfect too.
It takes humility. God can work with humility plus any other assortment of hot messed-ness. But humility is the key.
In the middle of all the imperfection last week God moved. He moved in a young man who is figuring out for the first time who he was created to be. He moved in the hearts of countless teenagers who heard truth about who they are, who God is and the great plans he has for them.
He’s moving in me. Imperfect mess of a woman me.
My sweet friend, he’s also moving in you. Imperfect, beautiful mess of a person YOU.