The term “AS IS” in an estate sale or antique mall notifies the potential buyer that the item has an imperfection. The chip on the crystal wine glass from a hardy toast; a jagged dark line reveling a crack in a vase; the figurine’s delicate arm now re-glued. Each the scar of a life event locked in the attic of my mind. Small imperfections offer a discount to the discerning decorative buyer.
Similar labels signified my imperfections as damaged goods, flawed, broken, incomplete, blemished, defective, unlovable and unworthy. I could give you a list of how I tried to change myself with every failed relationship.
Through trial and error my imperfections transformed into a driving force within to strive for perfection. If only I could be a little better I would gain their love. If I was skinny, smarter, quieter, prettier, they would love me. Maybe next time. My few successes were punctuated with a long line of failures. Unaware of the blanket of negiativity that dictated my perception of myself and my reaction to others. My heart screamed “What do I have to do for someone to love me?”
The smallest mistake triggered anger taken out on someone else when the one I was angry with was me. You see, I am not perfect, I failed, I made a mistake, how can you like me, respect me as your boss, work with me, love me as your wife, sister, daughter, friend, co-worker. Another label added to a crazy quilt of my unworthiness. It repulsed me with all its bulk lacking the warmth my heart craved. My relationships suffered.
While I was struggling with my value as a daughter of God I heard His voice ask. “Am I not enough?” Stunned, I mulled over His question. Why I was unable to get life’s journey right? What was wrong with me? My relationship with God and others hung in the balance.
I drew confidence from Paul’s example.
2 Corinthians 12:8-9 NIV Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
I too pleaded with the Lord. No answer. I had a feeling God was saying, “Your my way” doesn’t work here. I have already given you the answer.”
The personality I now call Angry Lyn carried a protective badge of honor called perfectionism. Doing it my way usually meant I can do it myself, I don’t need help and at the end of the day I found myself again angry because I didn’t have what I craved, rewarding relationships. I pleaded with God, my prayer’s turning into help me sessions, topped with I don’t understand, convinced I was unworthy.
I had to give up perfectionism in order to humbly live in God’s love.
Understanding God’s grace takes time and living in it takes practice. This process which often seems allusive is called transformation. It doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time. There is no magic formula except a deepening relationship with Jesus. The journey is different for each of us.
Then one day you realize that God’s grace, the all-encompassing love and instantaneous forgiveness is sufficient for you. With joy the relationship dives even deeper.
I stubbornly continued building my relationship with God. I am really not sure how it happened. Slowly I started to realize that my relationship with others wouldn’t work until I my relationship with God became number one.
I realized that the times I experienced joy were related to the times that I demonstrated God’s love through my weakness. Sharing how I strived for perfection to gain my earthly dad’s love with a young lady who was dealing with the same issue. Reveling that I understood the perpetual emptiness with the loss of baby with a mother still gripped in grief years later. Writing devotionals as I prayed for the right words.
Opportunities to demonstrate His power appear almost daily. Some I ignored. I didn’t feel confident I had what I needed to make a difference or everyone would think I was crazy if I did what was asked. (I wasn’t obedient) Occasionally, I acted on an opportunity understanding immediately or learned I had made a difference months later.
It became apparent my deepening relationship with Jesus was the key to improved relationships with my friends, family and extended to other parts of my life, too.
Friends, it doesn’t matter how long it takes, the important thing is that you never give up on God. He is working alongside you. I know you won’t always feel Him. I assure you I didn’t. Will you walk with me for the next three weeks as I explore relationships?