a sacred offering

This post first shared as Issue 1 of These Sacred Words

If I’m honest (which I will always try to be here), starting things is terrifying to me. It’s the reason I took so long to start this newsletter, even though the idea had been plaguing my mind for weeks.

At any given point in time, my mind is spinning with ideas (freelance gigs, church plant plans, ministry ideas, blog posts, etc.), but many of these things I don’t finish (or even start). And as I’ve taken the time to process through why I do this, I’ve realized that it comes down to a central fear.

A fear of imperfection and of vulnerability.

I’m fairly certain that I’m not alone in this fear. In fact, I’ve seen how it trickles into hidden areas of all our lives.

I’ve seen it in the friend who keeps conversations surface-level because she’s scared to share the mess of her past. The couple in small group who asks for prayer for their grandma’s sister’s dog because they’re terrified to admit that their marriage is in shambles. The girl (hi, it’s me) who never finishes or shares a project because it’s just. not. good. enough. yet.

We are scared of failing. Scared of imperfection and – moreso – of letting people see the ways we don’t quite meet the standards we’ve set for ourselves.

I get it.

We want to portray the best side of ourselves. We want people to see the good in us, particularly the parts we have prettied and perfected and made worth presenting.

But. I think if this is all people see of us…they (and we) are sorely missing out.

Pressing into my mind lately have been remembrances of how I have seen the Lord work graciously through my admittance of my imperfection. Moments of vulnerability that have led to another feeling safe enough to share their own failures. Glimpses of grace when I have admitted my shortcoming and my need, and in response have seen the understanding dawn on someone’s face that they too can cease striving and simply trust in a God who redeems.

You see, in the most beautiful way, imperfection is an invitation.

When we reveal our imperfections, share vulnerably about our mistakes, and allow our true selves to be seen…we extend an invitation to others. An invitation into deeper relationship.

When we share ourselves – our imperfect, unfinished, messy selves – there is beauty there. There is true knowing and genuine relationship. 

But you, O Lord, know me; you see me, and test my heart toward you (Jeremiah 12:3)

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Psalm 51:17)

This is the very essence of the Gospel. To allow myself to be truly seen as broken, sinful, and desperately needy is precisely what is essential to salvation.

Broken. Imperfect. Known. Loved.

It is only when I truly see the depth of my darkness that I am pressed deeper into Christ. It is only when I admit my shortcoming that I am reminded of his character – his grace and goodness and surpassing worth.

It is when we truly acknowledge our imperfections that we are invited into the abundant grace of God.

We can find joy knowing that our Father does not look for moral competency – for crossed t’s and dotted i’s and straight-line walking. Instead he takes our imperfections and sins, he lovingly deals with them on the cross, and he promises to walk with us as we seek to follow him and know him more.

God’s mercy triumphs over our mess. His grace saves and sustains. It redeems and it reminds. It is forever and it is also right now. In every moment, over and over and over. Grace is available in abundance.

My words will not be perfect. My ministry will fail. My marriage will be messy. My friendships will be difficult.

And the same goes for you. The “standard” will never be met. But nevertheless we bravely press into life – our stripped-of-pretense self a sacred offering. We pursue vulnerability, we embrace imperfection, and we sink into the grace that is waiting on the other side.

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