I love to give my friends meaningful presents and I am always in pursuit of just the perfect gift! Case in point: a few years ago, one of my closest friends approached a milestone birthday. I wanted to honour her, not just because she was an amazing friend, but because she was someone I greatly admired.
When I asked my friend how she’d like to celebrate her special day, she replied that she would like a low-key dinner with friends. She also specified she didn’t want any gifts. A dangerous glint in my eye steered her away from denying me the pleasure of buying a card. She knew how much I loved card shopping!
So, there I was in my favourite card store, a few days before her birthday. I must have spent a good forty-five minutes picking out a card. One card was too bland, one was too sentimental, one was too old-fashioned, and one was too sarcastic. I fell in love with one card, but I knew my friend well enough; its sentiment wouldn’t touch her heart in the same way it did mine. Finally! I found the perfect card! After much thought and prayer, I wrote a personal comment in the card, addressed the envelope, and tucked it in a plastic bag inside my purse. I hoped it wouldn’t crease or stain before it was safely in her hands.
I am no different than anyone else, I suppose. We want to give our best to our friends and family and we try to hide our failures. We hide the slightly burned cookies and serve the perfectly baked ones. Overnight guests sleep on our best linens and newest pillows. While we might buy clothes with a couple of barely noticeable flaws, we would never buy such clothes for others. We put up with a little disorder in our homes when we are alone, but if guests are expected, we go on a mad cleaning and tidying frenzy. It would never do for anyone to see the clutter of our everyday life!
God’s value system is vastly different than ours. God desires that we give Him all of us; the good and the bad. He wants our failures and our triumphs. He asks for an open-door policy and permission to walk into any room of our spiritual homes at will, even the rooms with unmade beds, the offices with dusty corners, and kitchens with dishes in the sink. God honestly desires to see our dirty laundry and the ring around our bathtubs. He wants permission to explore all the nooks and crannies of every cupboard in our hearts.
Your authentic self is the best gift you could ever give your Heavenly Father. He doesn’t just want what you consider perfection. That’s why He sent His Son – to reconcile imperfect us with His perfect self. Give Him everything! Surrender everything you’ve kept hidden on the back shelf of your heart because you judged it as faulty or broken. God will transform the good, the bad, and the ugly. Allow Him to be the one who sifts and sorts through your cluttered heart. You will be amazed at what the Master Creator can make out of your less-than-perfect self.
2 Corinthians 12:9 – “He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
With the above bible verse in mind, answer the following questions.
In your opinion, what is the difference between pursuing excellence and pursuing perfection?
Does your pursuit of maintaining an illusion of perfection interfere with your ability to connect with God and others?
When you think about your circle of friends, who do you consider to be a perfect host or hostess? How do they make their guests feel welcome and cherished?
Are there areas of your heart that you marked with “Caution, Do Not Enter” tape? Allow God to walk into those areas. Invite trusted and close friends into that mess as well.
What is the most meaningful gift you ever received? What made it so special?
James 1:17 – “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
All Bible verses, unless otherwise attributed, are from the English Standard Version (ESV).
Until Next Week
©2017 Katherine Walden
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