I’ve always been an overachiever. Yes, I’m that annoying one that had to get straight A’s in high school so I would get a full scholarship. Had to graduate early and have a full year of college completed before I’d even started. And then of course, I had to wrap up my academic career in the same exhausting fashion of perceived perfection.
Maybe it had something to do with being naturally blonde, and constantly perceived to be an airhead. (Blondes are more fun, people. Don’t hate.) 🙂 Or maybe it had something to do with my upbringing in the church.
The Law. (Dun dun duhhhh!) From Sunday school to youth group, the rules are laid out very clearly. Do’s and don’ts. Thou shall’s and thou shalt not’s. Striving toward the goal. Running the race to win.
Not that I was under the impression that imperfect adherence to these laws would incite some sort of heavenly smack down, but I was in love with a Savior and felt that obedience and offering a pure and holy sacrifice was the best (maybe the only) way to express my love.
But have you ever been up on a pedestal? Man, it’s rough up there! Whether someone put you there or you did it yourself, it is not an easy place to be. There is always so much to lose. So much pressure. So far to fall.
You want so desperately to use your gifts and your zeal to fulfill God’s calling, but so often, you don’t know what the heck it is. Don’t know how to get to where you need to be to be good enough.
The apostle Paul, a very wise man, tells us in Romans 12:1…
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
This was always a head-scratcher for me. Yes, I want to be holy. I want to be perfect for God. But that perfection I am always striving for is impossible. None of us are worthy of the sacrifice of perfection that happened on that cross two thousand years ago. And nothing we can do can make us so. We are flawed. Tarnished from the very beginning—though we do a fair job of racking up the stains ourselves, don’t we? It’s not that I don’t want to try, but aren’t I, by nature, destined to fail?
If you go back and read Romans 12 again you’ll see that we are not meant to offer up some dry, crusty old relic. Something dead and frozen in its perfection like a statue. (Statue’s have no problems staying on pedestals.)
What we have to offer is living, breathing, moving and by default imperfect. It’s also the way he created us.
He hasn’t called for us to offer flawless love, flawless service, flawless thoughts or actions or intentions. He called us to offer our ALL. Flaws required. Because that means we can rely on Him in our weakness. We can trust Him with our scars. We aren’t out to boast our righteousness and we aren’t holding things back for ourselves.
If we really present ourselves as living sacrifices—giving Him our hearts and hopes, our stains and sparkles, our bodies and our minds, we are perfectly imperfect in Him.
Share with me: Do you have any “flaws” or imperfections that have shown themselves to be assets before the Lord? Or perhaps you have something you perceived as a “flaw” that God has used to teach you and bring you closer to Him? What’s your perfectly imperfect story?
Jennifer here: To answer the question above, I’d say that I sometimes feel like I have to tone down my strong personality. However, I’ve learned that my personality, just the way God made me, includes qualities of leadership and teaching. Also, I’d say that the infertility issues I’ve suffered have definitely become a testimony of faith and of ministering to others. I’m perfectly imperfect, too!! (In lots of ways!) Thanks so much for sharing, Amy!
Amy Leigh Simpson is the completely exhausted mother of two of the most fearless, rambunctious, and adorable toe-headed toddler boys in the Midwest. She writes Romantic Suspense and loves to take readers on a spirited journey of finding grace and redemption through stories that are equally inspiring, nail-biting, and hilarious–and maybe a little saucy! She is represented by Chip MacGregor.
Connect with Amy on:
-The Writers Alley http://thewritersalleys.blogspot.com/
-Her personal blog http://writersbreakroom.blogspot.com/
11 responses to “Perfectly Imperfect– A Guest Post from Amy Leigh Simpson”
Thank you so much for having me, Jenny! Hope your gorgeous little guys are letting you rest. 🙂
Amy! You’re a doll! Love your honesty and “blond” commentary. I’m blond too. Underneath all my black hair. Just hide it well! 🙂 Seriously, though, thanks for sharing about your journey. Don’t know that we’d have clicked in school cuz we’d be fighting for that top spot on the academic ladder! haha. But we can certainly be friends now! 🙂
🙂 can’t wait to see those blond roots someday, Raj! Thanks for stopping by.
Awesome post,Amy! I’ve often found only when I am being real does God allow me to minister to someone else. This year he has put into my path many who have walked the cancer walk, something I watched my Dad go through for 5 painful years until he went to be with Jesus. It seems like where there is an area of pain in our own lives, those are things he uses to be ministry areas later on.
Oh, Julia, that’s such a tough place to be but God is our strength in our weakest, most vulnerable areas. It always amazes me how perfectly he orchestrates these challenges, almost as if he’s showing us he knows its tough, but he has given us the metal to tough it out and trust Him to turn it around for good. What a great testimony!
Hey girl…wow, how I related to your post! I was the same: overachiever, straight A’s, etc. It means I’ve defined myself by my achievements my whole life. I’m just now starting to believe that my worth is not in what I do, but in whose I am.
One moment when I fell off the pedestal was when my mom was really sick–dying, in fact. And everyone around me said how amazingly strong I was, how they couldn’t believe I still had faith. Truth was, I was really questioning God’s love and even existence hardcore, but I couldn’t admit it, because that would mean I wasn’t a good Christian! Of course, that’s so far from the truth and I’ve since learned that it was in that questioning that I truly found God.
You’re so right…if we are perfect, then we have no need for a Savior.
I SO know God is going to use your heart and that questioning to witness to others along the path! You’ll know what they’re going through! So encouraged by your witness already!
And I by yours, Jules! 🙂
Lindsay, belonging to Him is by far the greatest achievement we can have and the best definition of who we are. I love how you put that!
I’ve had to challenge myself with the appearance of what a “good Christian” looks like too. We want to be the hands and feet of Christ. We want to exemplify His perfect love. But again, in our imperfection we can tend to twist that into a front of “holiness” instead of being genuine. Most often, when we are crumbling, and when we reach that low point of doubt and desperation, we can be an even more effective witness than when we paste on that phony smile and spew out all that Christian speak. I almost feel like those weaknesses can be our greatest assets for the Kingdom! So sorry you lost your mama, but I’m so blessed that God can use those moments to pick us back up and make us stronger. Hugs!!
When I was growing up, I was often told “Don’t be so sensitive.” As a writer, I’ve learned that being sensitive is a much-needed quality to write realistic characters who drawer our readers in. Of course, this doesn’t give me license to be “touchy” or so fragile that people are afraid to offer me feedback or advice … but being sensitive is part of who I am — and I am not going to change that.
Appreciate your blog post, Amy.
I can totally relate, Beth. I’ve always been very sensitive but I also grew up with boys. It was a balancing act because I was the baby, and I was a soft little girl, so I felt I had much to overcome to be tough. God sure knew I’d need that practice young because I learned to be tough where it counts. It served me well and helped me survive middle and high school! But even now, all that sensitivity is still there, helping me empathize and always stirring me toward compassion.