I can’t believe it! My husband just came upstairs and informed me that our brand new Toyota Highlander has a big dent on the rear passenger side. We bought this car less than a month ago and already it’s deformed! Since this is our third car in a row with a noticeable indentation, I figured that God must be calling me to relay some important spiritual message. His name appeared on my caller ID so I figured I better pick up. He started out by telling me that he really likes the number three and uses it often in the lives of us mortals for emphasis. I interrupted God briefly and asked him to speak clearly because I’m a bit hard of hearing when it comes to sanctification opportunities and I sensed he had something very important to say. He obliged.
I could hear the smile in his voice as he reminded me gently that I am a recovering perfectionist. (I’m doing my “program” perfectly, BTW—“by the way”, for those of you who do not text yet.) Actually that’s a big fat lie. I’m not doing as well at my recovery as I had hoped. Probably because I’m a perfectionist and the problem is circular, if you know what I mean. My mind is a dangerous neighborhood. Oh well. Onward!
Here’s what I heard clearly from God today in the quiet of my dented car. He told me that cars get dented. NO KIDDING! I think I’ve experienced THAT enough to know. Like THREE TIMES in a row in the last THREE years! Then he told me that people get dented too. Ouch! I hadn’t thought of that. He told me that there is no such thing as perfection in this life, but to long for it is a good thing. Interesting, I thought. He reminded me that he alone is perfect and that he made everything perfect to begin with. Someday, he will restore everything to its perfect state. In the meantime, I get to live with imperfection not because God is cruel but because God is enticing me to yearn for something better. Being discontent with the best life has to offer is a wonderful spot to find myself because at the end of discontentment’s road is the lover of my soul, standing with open arms and a huge smile just waiting to embrace me with his lasting love, peace, and joy—things the world promises but never delivers because it can’t.
But what about me? I still long to be perfect! I can’t get it out of my head! I have spent years berating myself for my perfectionistic tendencies AND for not being perfect. A double whammy!
I got another message! A Scripture! I just love it when this happens! Speak, Lord!
“Because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” (Hebrews 10: 14)
Have you ever read a scripture and thought, “WOW! I never understood it like this before!”? That’s what I thought. I noticed that, in God’s eyes, because of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice for my sin, I am already perfect in his eyes. But, I’m spending the rest of my earthly days allowing God to make me holy. It seems like a contradiction but, as a parent, I get it.
I see my kids’ potential and that’s what I love. I know that they are “dented”, just like me. They came into life dented and they will continue to get dents in their fenders and their sides as they travel on this hazardous highway of life. But I love them anyway. They are more than the sum total of their dents. They’re beautiful and new and really fun to be with, dents and all.
Still, I really want the dent in my new car fixed. That won’t be happening because of my husband, a major NON—perfectionist. At first, I was really annoyed that my husband doesn’t mind driving dented cars. We won’t be getting this one fixed either, he informed me. Hearing that was like nails going down a chalkboard, like someone singing flat, to this perfectionist with perfect pitch (almost!). But then I stopped and gave thanks for my laid back, non-perfectionistic husband. He loves me, imperfections and all. And I have deeper, wider dents than most. He says that our new car is still awesome and drives just the same as it did before the dent. Dents are just superficial. He likes my dents because he realizes he has dents too and that makes us compatible. Wow! If we could all recognize that we all have dents and make a conscious effort, with God’s help, to practice God’s grace for all who are dented—that’s ALL of us—realizing we’re in good company. Wouldn’t that make a difference in our peace of mind, our peace with others, and the peace we all want so much in our world?
New but dented. Newly dented. Dented . . . but loved by others who recognize their own dents. Better yet, loved by God who has no dents and owns the best body shop in the universe, does all the work himself–perfectly, and never charges a dime.
Now that’s a peaceful place for my perfectionistic mind to rest.
For when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 1 Corinthians 13:10
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Hebrews 12:2
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear. 1 John 4: 18