Recently someone said to me, "I just wanted that magic potion. I wanted this to be the answer. I wanted the same benefits that I read everyone else was experiencing. I wanted to feel perfect." How often do we feel that way? We see the results someone else is experiencing from a certain program, diet or exercise plan and we think we should be just as lucky. That way of thinking is dangerous on a number of levels.
First, our bodies are not perfect, nor will they ever be here on earth. Regardless of what the gossip magazines, entertainment news outlets or the voice in our head are saying, attaining physical perfection is futile. Regardless of how much exercise we do, we may just have to take medicine for high blood pressure. It’s in our genetic makeup to need it. No matter how much yogurt we eat or how much milk we drink, we may need to supplement our calcium intake because of our heredity and our heritage. If we brush our teeth twice a day AND floss, we cannot expect a cavity free dentist visit every time. Every part of this life on earth is tainted by sin. There is no guarantee for anything on earth. Even if we follow the directions meticulously and abide by the recommendations of every doctor, guru, self-help book, exercise program or diet plan. Ever since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, this world is doomed to destruction and death, and we are no exception.
Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people because all sinned” -
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”.
Who’s definition of perfection is right? Does the perfect body image include long legs? A long torso? Long hair? Short hair? Blue eyes? Dark eyes? Freckles? Fair skin? Olive skin? Dark skin? High cheek bones? A round face? High hairline? Or maybe you are mesmerized like some ancient scholars were, by Da Vinci’s Golden Ratio – the mathematical equation of beauty. Each culture stresses the importance of outward appearance and how to conduct one’s self in public, or what to wear. But in America the secular definition of beauty is often equated to self-worth. You feel inferior to someone because she has the earrings that you couldn’t afford. You feel embarrassed when you see your neighbor on your way to take the kids to school in the morning, and she is dressed in cute clothes and has her face and hair made up, when all you had time to do was brush your teeth. You feel defeated during your workout at the gym because you were unable to keep up with the person next to you. These incidents of comparison and failure to measure up make you vow to shop for new clothes, exercise twice a day, get up earlier to actually take a shower and get ready, and start updating your résumé for the perfect job. You think to yourself, “I am going to be perfect, just like she is”. Why is it that you define the other girl as perfect and assume she is happy? Because we like her outfit? Because she is the size we want to be? Her hair color is what yours should’ve been if the stylist would have gotten it right? Dear sisters, you are worth SO MUCH MORE than what some column on a beauty blog says you should look like or who an article in a business journal says is successful. You are God’s child. You were chosen by God. You belong to God.
Galatians 4:7 “So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are God’s child, God has made you also an heir”.
This is the root of your worth. You can find acceptance and love and peace in this, knowing that God loves you and cloaks you in the perfection of his son, Jesus. In the light of Jesus you are perfect. He lived a perfect life, suffered and died for you. That’s how much you are valued. Jesus does not first ask for you to show him your flawless skin, your white teeth, your expensive purse, your toned arms and your push-up form. He died for you inspite of your short-comings and imperfections. He died for you even though you did nothing for him. You did not earn his love and forgiveness. You did not work your way into his kingdom.
But God has given you a certain skill set, a finite amount of time on earth and has provided resources for you to work with here on earth to serve him. I think back to almost 10 years ago when, out of left field, my husband told me he wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement. What?! He had just finished his Master’s degree in American Literature and was working toward his PhD at the University of Tennessee. Never once had I known him to take an interest in law enforcement or federal agencies. Where did this come from? We prayed about it and explored his options, and the Lord granted him the ability to pursue this new-found passion. Just over three years later, after going through the police academy and becoming a police officer, he was back behind a desk, writing. He was once again working within the framework of his skill set. God enabled him to see how he can best be utilized for service. If you are 5’2” and you want to play professional basketball, you may not be using your God-given skill set to the best of your ability. You may be pursuing a dream of yours, while being negligent of the resources God has given you. Maybe you don’t have the straightest teeth, or the texture of hair you wish for, or the ability to sing, or the capacity to run a marathon. But you have something to give. You have something to offer your Savior.
Romans 12:6-8 “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously, if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully”.
Don’t pursue perfection. Pursue your Savior and his will for you. He will open up doors for you to flourish and shine for him.