I am not perfect. Surprising? No, but it’s not generally something I love to go around telling every person I meet.
As Life Teen missionaries, an image we commonly use is that living in community is like holding up a mirror to all of our faults. As we live and pray and serve with the same community week after week, sometimes we get frustrated or annoyed with one another and sometimes we disagree. Here, just as in your schools or homes or workplaces, it’s easy for us to look at someone else and say, “You’re not perfect,” but I’m learning more and more that God uses those same moments to invite us to look inside ourselves and see where we can grow. Often when we get frustrated or annoyed, it’s because we are not perfect ourselves, and the other person’s actions become that mirror for us – displaying our own imperfections.
Last week, I looked into a lot of mirrors. God seemed to be working overtime in my life as I recognized one thing after another – a whole handful of areas where I am far from perfect. I quickly became frustrated: frustrated with others who were challenging me to grow, and then frustrated with myself and all the things I want/need to work on.
The world tries to tell us that anything aside from perfection is bad and that we should hide it. As I saw my own weaknesses, I desired to cover them up, but the truth is, trying to appear perfect or like I have it all together doesn’t help anything. In many ways, I wish I was already perfect, but I’m not. I am broken and imperfect, and I cannot heal myself or become perfect on my own. I need God. Thankfully, He is always with me. In the moments when I was the most frustrated last week, it was particularly hard to feel His presence, but in prayer, God assured me over and over that He is with me and will never leave me. I saw that my imperfections did not drive God away from me, but rather, that He wished to love me and heal me and strengthen me so that I would become more perfect in each of those areas. Blessed Pope John Paul II once said:
“We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us.”
Our Father’s love is greater than we can ever imagine! He asks us to strive for perfection, yet in the times when where we are imperfect and we fail, God loves us anyways and helps us to overcome our weaknesses. I am not perfect, and today, my goal is to try not to hide my weaknesses or failures, but instead, to receive God’s love and allow Him to perfect me. Will you allow God to do the same for you?