This reminds me of a sermon illustration I “borrowed” way back in the early 1980s. It was a short story about a guy who came forward to the alter call week after week. Each week this guy would wail before God asking for mercy. One week one of the pew sitters who was tired of this weekly show of emotion shouted out, “Don’t do it, God. He leaks.”
And yet God loves us. And God does amazing things despite of our leaks.
This is not earned. This is not from our trying and trying and trying. God says to you, But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8. When we were still a faulty mess, we got his love already.
Hopefully that love leaks through us. You have to have those cracks for this love to leak out.
You are enough.
To find healing you need to make the long journey from “what will people think?” to “I am enough.” We have to be willing to give our leaky selves a break and appreciate the beauty of our cracks and imperfections.
For example, give yourself permission to do things that are good enough. A 20-minute walk that you do is better than the 4-mile run you didn’t do. The kitchen counter that is cleaned and wiped down is better than having every single toy back into the toy box.
We too often believe the lie that being perfect means putting on a performance that pleases everyone. When really we want to control the outcome so that you and only you can punish you. God says instead, “You have permission to disappoint people.”
You have permission to disappoint people.
Here’s an interesting Dr. Brene’ Brown research find. Research shows that perfectionism has little to do with success. In fact, it hampers it. The fear of failing, making mistakes, not meeting people’s expectations, and being criticized holds you back from ever being seen.
We want to see you. Leaks and all. And you have permission to disappoint us sometimes. You are still loved. You are still worthy. Because those two things are not based on what you do. These two things are not what you can earn. They are based because you were enough the moment you were born. The Lord doesn’t want your perfectionism. He wants you to love graciously as he loves you.
Here’s a funny reality of truth. When you think about the people you admire in your life, aren’t you drawn to them because they are real, down-to-earth, authentic and thus flawed? They show their cracks and you are drawn to them, right? Why, when we know that there’s no such thing as perfect, do you spend an incredible amount of time and energy trying and trying and trying to be everything to everyone? When you yourself are drawn to the cracked people.
Do you realize that these cracked people make you feel safe.
Do you realize that the risen Savior showed his scars. His glory came from those scars.
If you’ve had haters since the moment you were born, that is their fault. You don’t need to try and try and try to please them. They are the ones missing how awesome you are.
There is a Christian cliché that holds a lot of truth, despite being said so much that it is a cliché. Jesus plus nothing equals everything. That’s you. You are everything.
Because Jesus was strong for you, you’re free to be weak;
Because Jesus won for you, you’re free to lose;
Because Jesus was Someone, you’re free to be no one;
Because Jesus was extraordinary, you’re free to be ordinary;
Because Jesus succeeded for you, you’re free to fail. Source.
These are such brave thoughts. Scary too because to believe this way is to take out a core belief system of yours. But vulnerability is the birthplace of bravery. You can do this. You can trust Jesus to be strong, winning, someone, extraordinary, and successful. You can trust Jesus to see you and love you. Because he loved you already.
You are free of this trying and trying and trying.