When justachik1 first mentioned her idea for this blog I was both intrigued and offended. The idea that I suck at being a woman, at being a human being, was anathema to me. After all, I am my mother’s perfect child.
But seriously, I readily admit to being imperfect. By society’s norms, I have spent the majority of my life in an ‘imperfect’ state. The reality is I am a plus-sized woman in a size zero world. I am also a perpetually single woman in a society designed for couples. However, despite my alleged imperfections, I choose to live as if I am perfect, or at least perfectly me.
How is this possible? Well, my faith teaches me that I am going on to perfection. So while I have not yet reached that state, I do have hope. Like everyone else, I make mistakes. I have many flaws. I am arrogant. I curse (frequently, fluently, and alliteratively). I get distracted by the world in which I live and forget to live as God calls me to. But while I fail at perfection, I refuse to let it bring me down.
You see, my God is a God of grace, and “grace is defined as the love and mercy given to us by God because God wants us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it.”1 Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God — not the result of works, so that no one may boast.”
This gift of grace, freely given, tells me that despite my imperfections, I am His beloved. Wow! I am His beloved. So how do I balance the societal message of my imperfection with a love so great? I wish I could say flawlessly.
The truth is, my life provides me with daily reminders that I suck. I endeavor to rise above these failings, but more often than not I find myself wallowing in ineptitude. Inside, I am still a little kid, pouting, kicking my feet, and shouting, “I can do it by myself.” I rely on myself and fall into the trap of thinking I don’t need any help from any source. I become determined to muddle through whatever challenges come my way, and more often than not I end up making a mess of my life.
When I finally remember to take a step back from the insanity that makes up my day-to-day, I reluctantly acknowledge that it’s my stubborn self-reliance that is my biggest failure. When in my arrogance I believe in my own ‘divinity’, rather than relying on God’s, I achieve ultimate suckiness.
Becoming aware of my ultimate suckiness is painful – like stubbing a toe on the leg of the coffee table. Ouch! It bites. It stings. It burns. The awareness in that moment is both intensely sad and profoundly joyful.
Joy in suckiness? How is that humanly possible? It isn’t.
Rather, the joy I find comes from God. I find joy in His love. I find joy in His grace. I find joy in His acceptance. God doesn’t see me as the world sees me. He doesn’t see me as I see me. God sees me and not this shell I wear and will one day cast off.
Knowing that God loves me despite my failures, flops, and fiascos is amazingly empowering and overwhelmingly awe-inspiring.
Knowing that God loves me despite the daily media bombardment that tells me how I’m not living up to societal expectations is comforting and reassuring.
Knowing that God loves me is not enough. It is so much more than enough. It is, in fact, EVERYTHING.
Knowing that “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me”2 is what empowers me, encourages me, and enables me to be who I am – a perfectly flawed yet undeniably loved child of God.