Sound spelling (encouraging kids to have the freedom to write words without worrying if they are spelled correctly) is a beautiful thing. It gives you insight into how a kid hears words that are spoken. A couple weeks ago, I came across a piece of artwork that my daughter was working on and it made me smile instantly. I think you can see the irony with me.
Misspelling the word “perfect” is a lot like misspelling the word “Failure.” It is living proof that perfection has been alluded. Want to know a secret? I am okay with that. I am okay with not being perfect. I try my hardest to do things well, but at the end of the day, I am okay with not being the best as long as I felt good about my effort. Do I want to be perfect? Depends. It depends on whose standard of perfection.
So I took a personality test online to see if I am a “type A” person. This is the personality type that is known for perfectionism. I have had several people over the years assume that I have a type A personality, and it has always bothered me because I do not think of myself as a type A person. I wondered why people thought that. I literally googled “What is a type A personality?” just before writing this blog because I thought maybe I had the wrong definition in my mind. My search confirmed that I am not a type A person, and the test confirmed it, too.
However, apparently I must give off the impression that I am someone I am not. I even had one friend argue with me about it. She made a statement about how I have a type A personality, and I stopped her and said, “What? You think I have a type A personality?” Her response was, “Oh yeah. Of course.” I was incredulous. She started listing things like, “Don’t you have to be organized?” Me: “No…I would like to be, but have you seen my house?” Her: “Like your computer desk: isn’t that super organized?” (trying to give me an example) Me: “Have you seen my computer desk?” (knowing that I would LIKE for it to be clean and organized. It was organized the first day I got it but has not been ever since.) Her: “Oh, well..” (clearly not convinced).
It is the weirdest thing to try to convince someone that you are not something they think you are. It makes you doubt what you believe about yourself. That is when I realized, I DO try to quickly shove things in rooms with closed doors before people come over. I try to make my home a peaceful place for people when they come over and I know that clutter and chaos are not peaceful. However, what they see on the outside (in the open rooms) is not always the clear picture of reality (behind closed doors).
I do not like being told I fit into a mold (i.e. type A personality) that I do not think was made for me. But then the question begs to be asked: if my physical house in any way mirrors my spiritual house, am I truly living into the mold God wants for me? If I quickly shove my dirty laundry into the closet when a friend is coming over, just so I can give the illusion of peace, am I truly at peace?
Does God require we fit into a mold? Does he require that perfection is what people see? Some people seem to believe he does. Following Jesus (being a Christian) becomes about following rules and being, well, perfect.
I do not know about you, but when I am told to be perfect, a few emotions enter the scene. One, I feel the “Oh crap!” because I know that I am not perfect. No matter how hard I try, I can not be perfect. Second, there is a little rebelliousness that wells up in me. It is kind of like, “You can’t tell me what to do.” When I am told to be perfect, I know I am not, so being told to do so makes me actually want to do the opposite of be perfect – just to prove a point. Weird. I know.
There is One who is perfect, and he says to be perfect just like he is perfect (Matthew 5:48). For some reason, when he tells me to be perfect, I do not feel the same rebellion. Maybe it is because He does not say anything about fitting into a mold. He does not paint a super clear picture (mold) of what it looks like to be perfect other than to say, “Be like me.” He modeled perfect love and a perfect life, but none of our lives will look or can look exactly like his. Today is very different from 2000 years ago, and the purposes of our lives are different from the very specific and life-altering (for all mankind) purpose for Jesus walking this earth.
Yet one thing has never changed for every person born in every generation. We were created to be like God. We have all been created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) – meaning we are godlike. We are like God. We are not God, but we were created to be like him. I heard one person say that to be made in God’s image is to be like a snapshot. We are a picture, but we are not the whole picture or the whole representation. No one person can represent him perfectly alone.
Have you ever seen one of those mosaic picture collages where the artist puts together a whole bunch of tiny pictures that create one big, amazing picture? (see the one of the cat below)
We are like one of the tiny pictures. When we are all gathered together, a representation of God can be seen more clearly. Each tiny picture looks very different and unique, yet somehow, when they are brought together, a beautiful, much larger picture is formed.
But sometimes, the picture that is formed does not look all that attractive. Sometimes the image of God is fuzzy or almost unrecognizable when we, imperfect as we are, come together. As a result, churches split. Relational reconciliation is avoided. Things are far from perfect. The only hope is Jesus.
Hebrews 7 explains that our perfection does not come through acting perfectly. Attaining the personal status of “perfect” comes through what Jesus did on the cross. He willingly took the blame for all of our mistakes and bad choices. He made himself the big picture that all of the snapshots of our lives come together to form. So when God looks at our lives, he sees Perfection. He sees the One who is perfect. Jesus. With out the “t” (without the cross) in the word perfect, we are just “perfeck.”
Here is the really good news: “And we all, who with unveiled faces reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
So to all my perfeck friends out there, take comfort with me today in knowing that the Perfect One is in the constant process of making you more and more like Him (Hebrews 10:14). And he has already made you perfect in God’s eyes.
If something in your life is not perfect today, take that thing to the Perfect God who sees perfectly and works all things out perfectly, and ask him to help YOU see perfectly.