Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Imperfectly Perfect

"I can't wait until I meet the perfect guy..."

I'm not sure how often I've said this to myself, somehow convincing myself that perfection was attainable. As much as I could tell myself that perfection didn't exist, somewhere in me I thought it still could. My list was comprised of a well-rounded man who excelled in not just one thing, but many things. He would be well-liked, well-received, a sacrificial lover of Jesus and a hard-worker by nature. In addition to his many fantastic character traits, he would be beautiful. Handsome. Strong. Athletic.

He could do no wrong.
At least on paper.
He was perfect.

My desire for Perfection in a mate was reflective of my desire for perfection within myself. The two seemed intrinsically linked. If I could attain perfection myself, then it wasn't unfair for me to expect that from someone else. If I could be all things to all people at all times (including the Lord and myself)... then why couldn't someone else do the same? I think there have been times when I foolishly walked through life thinking I could, that I would...and, as a result, so could he....and so would he. Because, after all, if Perfection is attainable and I'm a living example of it...how could I ever coexist with someone who would mar my perfection? How could I ever even consider someone who wasn't willing to strive for the very best? How could I ever think about being with someone who might mess up? Wouldn't that make me look bad?

Surprisingly enough, not long ago, Perfection waltzed into my life. At least, what Perfection had looked like on my paper. I decided to read through the list the 19-year-old version of myself had created (as much as I don't even really believe in list-making anymore because of how it can set us up for faulty expectations/hopes sometimes), and I was astounded. Could he really be...Perfection...?

Before you go off on me and tune me out because I'm all gushy/mushy/sap-face now, know that I'm not delusional. The thing about lists is that you somehow forget, while making them, that everyone has flaws. You're only putting down the things that you want, not always remembering that with all the things you want...there's inevitably going to be some things you don't want. We typically don't make our lists thinking about all the 'bad' things that we'd be willing to put up with. And sometimes we tend to forget that no matter how perfect someone might appear, it's something that's far from reality. Because, my friends, in case you aren't aware...no one is perfect. No matter how many items on the list you can check off when Perfection comes along, it doesn't mean that they're actually perfect.

They can do wrong. And they will do wrong.

So, rather than dating Perfection...I've been realizing that I'm dating Imperfection. And, beyond that, I'm realizing that it's so much better.

I had this moment last night where I realized how beautiful it all really is. This epiphany where, in the recognition of his imperfections....I am made aware that I am also deeply imperfect. There was this moment of freedom from what anyone else in life thinks about me/my love life. This recognition that no matter how much I try to people-please and have everyone on the outside looking in thinking that I have everything under control....there was this freedom from needing them to think that the guy I'm dating is the most wonderful guy in the world all the time (which, I'm personally still pretty convinced he holds the title of).

But.... he's not perfect.
He'll be the first to say that he's not, but the first to welcome in any sort of criticism that helps him move toward better (and yes, he reads my blog, knows I'm writing about him and supports me wholeheartedly in it). I have a lot to learn from him.

The moment last night reminded me that I'm dating someone who isn't perfect. And it's okay. As much as part of my heart wanted to fight against the reality of the situation (somehow still trying to think that perfection was attainable), I sunk into a deep awareness of my own sin, struggles, imperfections. Not only is the grace that covers me day in and day out my own to seize, but it is also his. That somehow, in this moment, I was fully aware and fully humbled by how good the Lord is.

I'm dating Imperfection.
But in dating Imperfection, I'm blown away by how wonderful it is. How I get to see, yet again, Christ's grace as He gives us abundantly more than we deserve. As He allows two sinners to come together and try to communicate, to attempt to depict a picture of Him. I get to see Christ's grace as Imperfection offers me grace and I, in my own imperfection, attempt to offer it back.

It's this imperfect mess that's entirely perfect.

Too often I think we can get caught up in the paralyzation that comes when imperfection hits...especially as it concerns other people. Will they notice? What will they think? How can I make this better? What can I do to prove to them that I'm better? What can I say to justify why I did this? And then, when we are attached to someone else, similar thoughts invade when their imperfection threatens to damage our own image.

But what if we could be people who exist fully secure in our imperfections and the imperfections of others because we know that our hope for anything greater lies solely in the saving grace of Jesus Christ?

Of course my boyfriend isn't perfect.
Neither am I.
We never will be, but we're striving for better.
And when the criticisms come, when the imperfection strikes...I pray that we not look it in the face with a sense of hopelessness or surprise, but that we push forward into the better. That we allow our imperfections to shape us, refine us, to move us into more of an image of Christ... and that we simultaneously are reminded of how in need we are of the blood that covers us.

It's both humbling and beautiful.
And it's better than perfection.
The reminder that I cannot without Jesus...and neither can he.
Because we are imperfect. We are in need. And may we both rely completely on the Lord to be our Savior and never on each other.

It's imperfectly perfect.

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