Reframing Perfection

I don’t know about you, but whenever I hear Jesus described as “perfect,” I feel some kind of yucky feelings arise in me.

It makes my failure feel closer. It makes me want to quit trying and it makes it that much easier to accept defeat when the word “perfect” is applied to anyone...because that’s just so far from my reality.

And I’ve also heard this: perfection is boring. But no matter your prior understanding of Jesus, you have to admit his life was far from boring.

Sometimes, when it comes to my relationship with Jesus, I feel the need to throw out everything I’ve been taught and start fresh. So let’s reframe that idea of perfection.

It’s in the details that I’m coming to know Jesus.

Will you let me muse for a second about the type of person Jesus would be if He were here right now?

I think he would drink about one less cup of coffee than me in the mornings and drive about 10 mph slower - not because he was such a rule-follower, but because he was probably too busy singing along to the radio or enjoying the scenery to concern himself with passing the car in front of him - but still arrive on time.

I have a feeling Jesus wouldn’t have Instagram, Twitter or Facebook on his phone; in fact, he might even have a flip phone, but that’s just a hunch. One thing’s for sure, though: He’d be there when you called.

He would be dependable. He would be super present. He would be extremely safe. He would be the ultimate encourager. He would be emotionally mature, relentlessly kind and so sure of Himself. He would be comfortable in His skin, I think, and would actually like Himself (talk about countercultural!).  

I can’t imagine Jesus being self-aggrandizing or disparaging of himself, or that He would be at all interested in diet culture, regrets or punishing himself, but I do think He’d be huge on kindness.

Jesus would have made you feel easy to love. He would never make jokes at your expense, but I bet you guys would have a few inside jokes. He would let you know he was grateful for you - that would never have to be something you questioned when you spent time with Him. I don’t think He ever would’ve downplayed the difficulty of a hard situation you were in, but would’ve spoken into your capability and helped you put everything in perspective.

I believe He was and is a deep feeler and a deep thinker, full of genuine empathy and extending true connection.

I think this general cloud of anxiety that so many of us feel hovering over our lives was something He was free of.

I think Jesus would be the initiator of both snowball fights and difficult conversations. He would be quick to notice and include the kid who feels left out. He would be playful and full of laughter, but also an expert on constructive conflict.

Now that sounds like someone I want to be friends with and the kind of person I hope to become.

As I reacquaint myself with Jesus as my friend - a friend I desperately need and love and have dearly missed - I’m slowly learning His heart for His people, His world and myself.

Recently, He’s been teaching me some hard truths about what it means to honor the people He loves. Sometimes, loving someone well looks like being uncomfortably honest, even when you know it isn’t what they might want to hear. I’ve been learning that giving someone a watered-down version of myself is never loving them well, it’s only inauthentic.

I’ve been realizing that it’s okay to want good things for someone and also recognize that I might not be the one who is supposed to provide them with the help, love, or support that they need. I think there is freedom sometimes in coming to terms with our limitations because Jesus will pick up the slack and be what we can’t be.

Loving well might mean quitting that thing you think you should be doing but actually hate.

I’m also learning that I can’t love well out of a place of emptiness. I’d rather be honest, and a little embarrassed, about where I am, than try to posture and pretend I’m further along in this messy journey called life, because as soon as I speak the truth, freedom and wisdom follow.  

I don’t want to try and fake the real love of God and miss actually experiencing the real thing.

Author | Madison Davis

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