But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 (ESV)
I am a former nail biter. And I get so excited when all ten fingernails are the same length. Maybe, just maybe I will use that pretty pink polish. But low and behold, before I can do the first brush stroke one breaks… then another… and another. Back to the clear polish.
I was a young adult in the 1980’s. I call it, “The decade of “big hair.” And every 3 months without fail, I got a perm. I often joke that the 1980’s were the only time I was taller than 4’11”. And it had to be perfect. If one hair went astray my day was ruined.
I may have been born a preemie weighing 4 pounds and 9 ounces, but after that I struggled with my weight. Up and down. Even when I have been at my “perfect” goal weight I wasn’t completely satisfied. I still had those dreaded chubby thighs.
A childhood accident left me without vision in my left eye. I now wear a custom-made prosthesis. My parents never had the money for braces. So, I still have crooked teeth.
Can anyone relate? Why is it that we all struggle with perfection? I have gotten better over the years. I think that comes with age and maturity. I don’t get perms anymore. And hair disasters no longer ruin my days. I now eat as healthy as I can and exercise daily, but it’s “getting” less about a number on a scale.
I believe the human struggle for perfection began in the Garden of Eden. Before the Fall, Adam and Eve were perfect. They didn’t know pain, disappointment, loneliness or the feeling of being “less than.” But after the Fall, they realized their weaknesses. They tried fixing themselves to regain perfection. Their clothing of fig leaves left them frustrated because their perfect lifestyle was now tarnished as well as their relationship with God.
Try as we may, we cannot be perfect on our own. I realize that although my ocularist did an amazing job designing my prosthesis, she could not restore my sight. I can exercise and eat perfectly, but my 50+ year old body will never look like a supermodel.
God’s perfection isn’t about the physical. Yes, there are many scriptures that say “be perfect” (i.e. Matthew 5:48). A closer look at that word in many cases means “complete.” We can only find our completeness in an ongoing relationship with Jesus Christ. As we learn to embrace our imperfections, let us all strive for a deeper relationship with our Creator.
For further encouragement, take a look at 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. What a comfort to know that it is what is on the inside that truly matters. Our mothers were right after all! So, while our outer shell is decaying with every passing day, our inner self is being renewed. We will one day have perfect bodies. Whatever flaw(s) we may have will be completely erased.
Father, You are the Author and Finisher of our faith. I am glad I find my completeness in You. Help me to look beyond my flaws and imperfections. Remind me daily that my failures and afflictions are momentary. I long for the day when I am truly in Your presence and in my new body. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.