“O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For your have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased. The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
It’s funny how the very thing God desires is the very thing I detest. The very thing I have come to dislike: imperfection. I suffer from perfectionism. I always want everything to be perfect. Yes, there are benefits to that. Things that you might miss, I’ve thought about. It can be beneficial in some settings, but it has been detrimental to my identity in most cases. God loves broken pieces. He loves broken vessels. Why? I’m still trying to figure that out.
For the longest time, I have determined that I need to come before God faultless and blameless, like Job. I needed to be the perfect servant to be used by him. If I struggle with something, it might take me months to actually be honest with God. So rather than coming to him with the broken pieces, I come to him like a child who had broken their parent’s expensive vase or a coffee mug when their parents weren’t home; the pieces are put back together, but it’s so distorted it doesn’t look like the original.
That’s how my life looks when I present it to God. Distorted. Not the original life. Whether it’s a mess that I have created or a mental struggle that is wearing and tearing at me, I will present my pieces to God as if nothing is wrong. But, you can clearly see the horrible glue job with globs of wet glue and small, tiny pieces missing because they were too small for me to reattach.
God’s desire is to work on us:
Philippians 1:6 “He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.”
He is carrying out that good work every day. Which means I’m going to have a lot of broken pieces to present to him. But, we always want to present the best parts of ourselves. Culture has told us, “put your best foot forward.” But God says the complete opposite in our relationship with him. Yes, he does want us to place our best foot forward, but he also wants us to present our honest selves. That means putting our “worst foot forward,” knowing that he welcomes us with open arms. To take the broken pieces and restore them in his way and in his time.
But I honestly dislike that! Why would a perfect God desire imperfect people? Why wouldn’t he want me to be complete on my own? Isn’t that the point? To live a whole and full life?
“If you were perfect, you wouldn’t need me” is what the Holy Spirit revealed to me if I was perfect. If every time I came to God with two thumbs up, then would I need faith? Would I even need Jesus?
Sometimes our perfection really is just us being self-righteous / idolizing ourselves. Rather than seeing ourselves as flawed, imperfect human beings, we tend to take an alternate route. Yes, we are made perfect in Christ. I believe that with everything in me. But we are still humans. We are still flawed. God wants those flawed parts of us. That’s the good work that he’s carrying out. The good work is grace. But the good work requires us to present our messiest selves to him. To present the parts that we hate. To present the parts that we are embarrassed to face. He wants THAT part of us. Because the good work begins when we humble ourselves and boldly come before him. Unashamed. That’s when he can do the rebuilding of our walls. When he can take our broken pieces and create something completely new from them. Something we never thought was even possible.
Since we are flawed, we are constantly in the renewal process. It’s not just a one-time offer. God desires relationships. Relationships build over time. Relationships require vulnerability. Relationships require work.
God wants to heal us, but the biggest question we have to ask ourselves is this: am I willing to show up? Not showing up as the “cleaned up” version of yourself, but just you. The you that you thought you had hidden but God already sees. Can you come as the honest, messy, imperfect version of yourself?
As I am on a journey to loving myself, I realize that there are some things that I dislike about myself that shame causes me to hide. But that only makes the mess bigger. Presenting those broken areas of myself to God is what he desires. David tells us that he will not despise them, which means that I shouldn’t have to feel shame either. Instead, I can come to God as Paul directs me to in Hebrews 4:16 “approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of need.” We can do this because of the verse prior Hebrews 4:14-15, which says, “Since then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin.”
He loves me. He loves you. So much. Like an insane amount. How crazy is it that we have someone who loves us for who we are, for all that we are! We have to be humble and willing to receive that love, knowing that he will not turn his back on you. Others may have done that in the past, and you may be scared from that. He won’t ever leave. He made that promise, and he expects to keep that promise until eternity.