This morning on the way to work I heard two talk-show hosts talking about a celebrity that, from the outside, looks quite perfect. They also gave her props for (so-far) living a scandal-free life. That celebration was short-lived though as she was maybe, kinda, if-you-read-between-the-lines implicated in a hint of a scandal…and they were glad! She was too perfect for their taste, apparently.
My thought as I was listening was that not too many people would be offended for this celebrity. I’ve found that folks desire imperfection. That sounds counter-cultural, but I believe it. Proof? Think of someone who performs well on the job, is a healthy weight, has sound relationships, ‘normal’ kids and can cook/bake/scrapbook/garden…whatever…and you’ll find a line of folks who hate her/him for it. Sadly, I’ve been in on too many conversations where, instead of celebrating someone’s gifts, the lips sneer and the eyes roll.
Just to be radical, I think we should own our limp. Everyone has one. A limp, that is. Okay, maybe not a physical one but if you have a pulse, you have an emotional, spiritual, relational or maybe even a hidden physical limp. To be human is to be flawed yet somehow, some of us pretend we’re not, others of us despise it in ourselves and most criticize it in others. Can we all be a little more gracious, please?
How about instead we lead with our limp? As in, put it out there a little more. I’m not advocating that we talk about our weaknesses all the time, but acknowledging them from time to time with a trusted friend is awesome. Maybe we could laugh about our errors a little quicker. Maybe not fret for hours when we get something wrong. When we do that, people are more comfortable around us. They’re relieved! It’s healthy for teachers to say, “I don’t know,” when asked a question. I appreciate when someone can admit they’re not very good at something – but they’re willing to try.
We don’t need a flaw fest, but it’s okay to reveal a shade of imperfection. And, if we’re with others, we sure can quit pretending that we’ve got it all together. Most people don’t like that, anyway, if talk show hosts are any gauge. But if we live within a community, we need to be who we are, flaws and all. I’m on a committee right now and as we get to know each other, we can see our different strengths and weaknesses emerge. Collectively, we’re a group of imperfect people who, together, make a perfect team. We rely on strengths to get the job done and feel okay about another’s ability to do what we cannot. When we’re all thankful for how God covered our weaknesses with another’s strengths, we can get on with it.
As a teenager, I remember my pastor saying that someone accused him of using Christianity as a crutch. His quick reply, “It’s true! But please, I’d rather be in a wheelchair in that case.” I’ve spent my fair share of days weakened and I know first-hand that those times are my spiritual/emotional weight-training. So if you’re noticing a flaw in your life, feel free to work on it, but don’t hide it. Make friends with it…and in the meantime, your friends will thank you.