“You are perfect just the way you are.”
I twisted in my chair just the slightest bit as I heard that phrase for what seemed like the hundredth time. I plastered a sweet smile on my face, nodded my head ever so slightly with encouragement, but all the while, inside, I was squirming with disbelief. “Perfect just the way you are” just didn’t set well with my 12 year old self. It didn’t set well with my 15 or 16 or 17-year-old self either. And to be quite honest, it still doesn’t set well with my 31-year old self. I will tell you one thing…it has never seemed like I’m perfect. After all, I could point out at least 25 flaws in myself within a matter of minutes. Now, before going any further, I understand that this phrase came from well-meaning people who genuinely loved me…but I think that we are at a point in our culture where well-meaning phrases that lack substance no longer have a place with our youth. Despite what it may seem…the youth of today are truth-seekers. So let me begin my series on self-image right here, with the hardest truth of all, the truth that we must all swallow at one point or another:
You are not perfect. Neither am I. Every single one of us is fallen.
But fallen and worthless are worlds apart.
The story of our fall goes back to the very beginning. You know the spot…right there in the Garden of Eden. When God created man and woman, they were perfect. Absolutely perfect. We can be sure of that, because in Genesis 2:25, the bible says, “And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.” In my book, that says perfection…to be able to walk around naked with absolutely no shame. Life was great for Adam and Eve, but then sin came into the world. And sin said, (my own interpretation) “You’re not good enough. In fact, you won’t be good enough until you eat that fruit over there on that tree.” Sound familiar yet?
Yeah, me too…so guess what? Adam and Eve gave up perfection because they were searching for something better. Read that last sentence one more time…How much sense does that truly make? Zero. And since that very moment in time, perfection ceased to exist. Our bodies were no longer perfect. Our bodies were flawed. In fact, Adam and Eve were suddenly so flawed that they were ashamed of their nakedness and God had to kill an animal to cover them. (Genesis 3:21)
Fast forward to today…our bodies are still imperfect because of sin. And I think it’s harder today than it has ever been before to accept our bodies in this fallen state. We live in the age of Photoshop where all flaws can be gone in one brushstroke. People spend crazy amounts of time getting the perfect selfie to post. Magazines may as well draw the pictures of the celebrities rather than take a photo. There are thousands of people who make a living out of sharing their opinion about who’s too fat, who’s too skinny, who wore what best, and who has the best hair.
But this is where we have a choice…
You see, there is a difference for those of us who know the Lord as our Savior. A BIG difference. Though we are fallen, though we live in this tent of flaws here and there, we are redeemed. There are several definitions of redemption, but my favorite definition, in regards to our topic here, is “the action of buying one’s freedom.” Did you read that? Do you want to say it out loud? Go ahead….I’ll wait…
Seriously…Jesus’ death and resurrection bought our freedom from the bondage of sin. Remember what we talked about earlier with Adam and Eve-when sin said, “You’re not good enough. In fact, you won’t be good enough until you eat that fruit over there on that tree.” It’s so easy to read this part of the story and say, “Why did they do that?! Didn’t they know they were perfect??” But we do that all the time too don’t we? Satan whispers in our ear the same things…maybe with a slightly different ending … “…in fact, you won’t be good enough until you lose some weight/get a nose job/wear name brand clothes/etc.” And again and again, we choose to believe the lies that we aren’t good enough…because we are in bondage to sin. Yes, you, my sweet friend, have redemption from all that.
But if I’m redeemed from all that, then why do I still hear it?
Because life is a process of gaining godly wisdom-sometimes through difficult struggles, and if God made all your problems disappear immediately, would you learn anything from that? Would you have anything to share with others from that?
So, now you know. You know the hard truth that you aren’t perfect and neither am I or anyone else on this great big earth. But imperfect does not equal worthlessness. You also know that you, through your belief in Jesus Christ, have been redeemed from the lies that affect you every single day. Now, you just have to learn to deal with the thoughts. We will talk about that in Part 2 of this series. Would you pray with me before we end this part of our series?
Father, thank you for creating me. Thank you for the truth of redemption…freedom from the bondage of lies. Father, I may not be perfect, but I was created for a purpose-to glorify you. Help me to tune out the lies that I’ve been redeemed from…help me to see the purpose you have me here for.
This is part 1 in a 5 part series I’m writing for young women. I hope you can come back in the coming days to read the rest of the series.