The Beauty of Imperfection

“Why are you showing that one?” asked my granddaughter.

She was referring to a video segment I used in a little movie the grandkids made to honor “Papa” on his 60th birthday.  They had come up with the whole idea for this little skit.  As they were singing “You Are My Sunshine,” Emery started to cry, Gracie puked and Emma responded with an “eewwwww.”    I chose that clip because it showed the real “them” as they were delivering this heartfelt song to their Papa.  Emma thought that perhaps I should have used the one that didn’t have those “mistakes.”

(The clip is actually is pretty adorable, as you can see here)

I thought about this (desire to hide our imperfections) in light of one of my favorite scriptures:

2 Cor. 12:9-10
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. [10] That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

This scripture took me a long time to understand.  I hated “messing up.”   Even in kindergarten, I ran away from school one day and hid in my garage when I realized I had forgotten my lunch money.  You see, I was supposed to bring the week’s lunch money to school on Monday.  When I realized I had forgotten to bring it to school I must have thought the world would come to an end!  I reasoned it would be much better to just run and hide than own up to my mistake.  As a teenager, before I became a Christian I thought I needed to practice “doing right” long enough in order to “get good enough” to become a Christian.  I finally came to understand that the whole point of Jesus’ death was that I could never be good enough – and that fact was very freeing to me.  It allowed me to become very grateful for that sacrifice made for me.

However, this old way of thinking would at times become my “default” mindset.  This hindered me in learning how to be vulnerable and in sharing the fears and shortcomings in my life.  Deep down, I often felt it was “not ok” to mess up.

How refreshing it was to realize again and again (as my friend Gordon Ferguson often says, “the best of us is a mess.”) I have since learned the joy of vulnerability, and as the above scripture states – God’s “power is made perfect in weakness.”

The question from my granddaughter reminded me of the joy of imperfection.  My grandchildren were giving their best effort to honor and show love to their Papa.  The puking, crying and “eeewww” were actually part of the preciousness of this song. I love the imperfection, because I know the effort is wholehearted and filled with love.

If I could live perfectly there would have been no need for Jesus to come.  Fact is…my life will always have episodes of mess-ups like (spiritual) puking, crying and “eeewwwws” – or worse.  However, as long as I am striving to love, honor and obey my Father, I believe he will delight in the imperfections even more than I delighted in the imperfections of this little 3 minute video.

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About Jeanie Shaw

After retiring from forty-five years in full-time ministry, Jeanie Shaw went back to school to earn her master’s and doctorate in spiritual formation and discipleship. She also serves as a certified Christian life coach who loves helping people discover the joy, peace, and purpose that come from finding and following God’s plan for their lives. She has taught classes and workshops all over the world and has written numerous books. She has four grown children, eight grandchildren, and a golden retriever who thinks he is human. When she is not reading, writing, coaching, teaching, or enjoying her family she might be found walking along rivers, learning new lessons about life.

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