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With us in the brokenness


My 8 year-old-daughter recently made a little minion out of paper for her little brother. When she showed it to me, I told her how kind that was and how amazing I thought her art and creativity was. She smiled for a moment, but then starting looking closely at her creation. She started to see the flaws, the imperfections and pointing them out. She even called it “horrible” and that it looked like Humpty Dumpty.


I was quite struck by this. Even though I told her (truthfully) how awesome I thought it was, she was so focused on the flaws. Why did she do that? Where did that feeling of feeling inadequate even come from? Have there been times I’ve perpetuated that chasing after the fleeting idea of perfection? Has my woundedness and family of origin contributed to the voice that tells her that her best work isn’t enough, that she isn’t enough? Probably, but there seems to be a recognition of the human brokenness and sense of imperfection at an early age.


I think this is such a beautiful picture of how we often come before God even as adults. We see our mess, our flaws, and our shortcomings. We too often listen to the voice that says that we are “horrible” and on our best day, we won’t ever measure up. And sadly we believe it all.


Yet God meets us in that place and if we come before him truthfully, acknowledging our own thoughts, the negative voices that we are listening to, he meets us in that brokenness. And it’s a beautiful thing. It’s grace in the moment. It’s the antidote to shame. It’s the gentle voice of the one who created us, reminding us what is actually true—reminding us how much we are loved and how amazing he thinks we are. Not perfect, but redeemed, forgiven and very much in process. That’s what this Christmas season is all about—grace and love coming down to remind us that God is literally WITH us—in the chaos and brokenness!


I wish that reminder would be enough to sustain me for longer. But in reality I have a need to constantly come before Him in the midst of my own mess, to be reminded over and over and over again. That’s what I think of when Jesus says to “remain in me,” so we can be a little more aware of his abundant love and how he sees us. And in that tension, a beautiful thing takes place. God uses us while we are still in process, very much flawed and imperfect, to love others well--in spite of and especially because of our flaws--to be a light and hope to the people around us.


-Matt

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