Perfection is not a Prerequisite

Perfection is not a prerequisite to stepping into your purpose. Maybe you can relate- so many times I’ve wanted to do something or felt like I was supposed to take a step in a certain direction, only to be stopped in my tracks by my own brain telling me that I can’t do it. That I’m not good enough to do it. That my mistakes overshadow the qualifications that I do have. That if people knew the real me- messy, damaged, imperfect- they’d find someone else anyway.

Comparison is always a dangerous game, but when you’re up against the ideal, perfect you that your mind tells you you need to be, dangerous can become debilitating.

I can think of about 5 areas off the top of my head that I’ve felt this way about in just the last month alone. I have these opportunities to step into things that could be life-changing not only for myself but others as well. But, I count myself out before ever getting it a chance.

The truth of it is, though, that if the Lord is calling me (or you) into something, he already knows our resume. (And he probably knows it better than we do.) He knows every scar and every bruise, every mistake we’ve made. He knows every time we’ve chosen him, and every time we chose something else instead. And yet, he still chooses to use us. Who are we to say we can’t when the creator of the world, the one who supplies our every breath, the one who created the mountains and the oceans, the stars and the galaxies, tells us we can? If he brings us to an opportunity, opens the door, and tells us to walk through, why is it so hard to be obedient? Who are we to tell this God that we’re the wrong choice?

We aren’t the first ones to struggle with this. In 1 Corinthians 1:26-29, Paul gives us the reminder that we all need: 

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are,  so that no one may boast before him. 

He calls us to reflect, letting us know that it doesn’t make sense. He reminds us of how small and broken we were before we had God. But what gives me so much hope and confidence is that he continues to say, “God chose…” Not  “the situation came up and so God had to…” Not “because the qualified ones couldn’t, God had to use…” You and I are God’s first choice in whatever he’s bringing us into. He has a choice, and he’s choosing us. Even if your situation says there were others in line before you, God says, “No, I chose you.” There’s a reason you are where you are right now, no matter how much you think you deserve to be there or not. 

Maybe knowing our potential isn’t about us at all. Maybe it is about remembering that we are just the vessel and trusting in the potential of God. So do the thing. Whatever it is, just do it. Sit down with the Lord in a time of prayer and hand it over to him. And listen to him. When he opens a door and gives you the peace and opportunity to walk through, do it.  Your mind might be telling you a thousand different lies, but the maker of your mind is giving you the truth. That’s why He calls us to renew our minds.

Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

The pattern of this world is dangerous and sinful, and probably a top reason that so many of us struggle with our mental health in some way or another.  We’re filling our minds with the people we see perfectly edited on social media who seem to have it so together, but we forget that the purpose of a filter is to literally filter out the imperfections, leading us to believe that perfection really exists, which makes us look at the unfiltered version of ourselves and say that it’s not enough. We begin to compare our blemished and imperfect realities to other people’s carefully filtered photos and perfectly curated highlight reels.  And even if we don’t compare ourselves to them, we form this idea in our head of the person that we believe we should be, instead of the person God has actually created us to be. And the deeper we focus on the world, the more the life, purpose, and overall self that God created for us begins to slip away. 

So whether you have things in your life right now that you feel unqualified for, you have in the past, or there’s a potential opportunity in the future, my prayer is that we are able to renew our minds. Daily. Hourly. Maybe even constantly at the beginning. It can look like putting away some things. It can look like adding other things. But truly renewing our minds look like centering it on the Lord, his presence, and his purpose. 

Remember how he used David, who had an affair and killed a man, to lead a nation. Remember how he used Moses, who had a stutter, as his mouthpiece. Remember how he used Jonah, who ran away from his opportunity. Remember how he used Abraham & Sarah, who thought they were too old. Remember how he used Joseph, who had a tragic past of abuse.  Remember how he used Paul, who literally killed people who preached the Gospel of Jesus. 

My hope is that one day looking back, you’ll be able to say, “In spite of my past, look at how God used me.” 

Discussion Questions
  1. Can you think of a time when you’ve seen God use you (or someone you know) in a position that the world would say you’re not qualified to have?
  2. What does  1 Corinthians 1: 26-29 tell us about the character of God? How can that apply to your life right now? 
  3. What does it look like to practically renew your mind?
  4. Is there anything holding your back from fully trusting God in this stage of your life?

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