I love REAL. I love people who admit their faults and tell the truth about themselves. They are so much easier to identify with when you know they’re not perfect. But I have a confession to make: I’m not always real. I have to approve of a picture of myself before a friend posts it. My right side is more photogenic than my left side. I also color my roots because I started getting gray hair at a young age (gotta love genetics). That was a tough one to admit, but like I said, I want to be real. I can go see perfection any time I want when I logon to social media. We all know people post their best, their “highlight” reel, as some have described it. I’m guilty of it too. Not only am I guilty of it, but I have about 3 different ways to filter photos on my phone before I post them. Isn’t it better to show the sides of you that are the most attractive? Isn’t it more pleasant to make everyone think you’re perfect? But not today! Let’s talk about what happens when we decide to leave the filters out of our lives.
Before I begin talking about the imperfections, I want to let you know what, or better yet who, inspired my post this week. My sister in law, Sarah, was pregnant with her kids at the same time I was. She, like most women who carry babies in their tummies, got stretch marks. They make her feel insecure, and often times she has talked about getting the “Mommy Makeover”. However, Sarah exercises and watches what she eats. She is always my workout partner on vacations and we have walked miles and miles while pushing baby strollers, have done kick box together and even resorted to DVD’s to get in shape when our kids were little. But those darn stretch marks keep her from wearing a two-piece bathing suit. She’s worried about what people think about her, so she covers up the imperfect and pretends it’s not there.
While on vacation in Florida, Sarah did the unexpected and wore a two-piece for the first time. I was amazed at how good she looked because I’ve never seen her in a two-piece. Ever! She made me think to myself: how many people would be inspired by Sarah’s imperfections? When you think about it, people can identify more with our weaknesses, our messiness, our imperfect lives, than they ever could with our strengths. If you only show what you’re good at or show your “best”, people will only wish they could be like you. You will seem so out of their league, they will only put you up on a pedestal, and I’m sorry, but if you’re on a pedestal there’s only way to go from there: down. But if you’re willing to show your weaknesses, people will know you are like them and you will be able to influence them as you work on the not so pretty things you try to hide.
So you must be asking yourself, “How does this parallel the spiritual?” That’s a good question. Here’s the deal: no one is perfect. The Bible says in Romans 3:10, “There is none righteous (perfect, good), no, not one.” Just like working out is ugly sometimes… you know, the sweaty armpits, hair flying, and ugly workout faces… working on our imperfections can be ugly too. It doesn’t feel good to know you’re not perfect, but it feels even better knowing God knows your weaknesses and loves you anyway. Revelation 12:11 says, “We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.” Your testimony is how God saved you because you are weak. Your weaknesses, the things you don’t filter, are part of your testimony, and your testimony has the power to inspire and influence others to walk in your footsteps.
There’s a danger in hiding our imperfections and not admitting our weaknesses. The danger is that instead of working on them, we hide them and tuck them away, pretending they’re not there. When I first started crossfit, I hated doing snatches because I was bad at them. Whenever I would see snatches in the programming I would grumble and complain. I just wanted to ignore them and move on. Couldn’t we do something I was good at? But my coach told me the weaknesses are the best things to work on because they are what make you better. You’ll always be good at what you’re good at, but when you identify your weaknesses and admit them, work on them, and definitely don’t try to hide them, you end up becoming a better person. Proverbs 28; 13 says, “Whoever conceals his transgressions (faults, sins, weaknesses) will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” In my opinion, the strong admit they’re weak. It’s a different kind of strength because it’s not easy to do.
So, beautifully imperfect people, I want to leave you with this: continue to post those perfect pictures, but don’t be ashamed of the not-so-perfect pictures either. Give God your imperfections because He is the only perfect One, and He loves you, imperfections and all. The uglier the workout face, the better the results. The messier the life, the more glory God gets as He continues to perfect you in the light of Christ.