And that is when it hit me. I had been reflecting upon this exact verse all week while in Peru. I even tied it into the devotional I led for the team. The Lord opened my eyes so I could view it in a whole new light, though.When I first came to Christ, I did recognize my brokenness, as it led to my realization for my deep need of a Savior. My need for perfection started to sneak in as my faith grew though, and was beginning to taint this recognition of brokenness.
When I think of my time in Peru, I think of an immense amount of brokenness. Brokenness that is so deep and dark, I cannot begin to comprehend it. But I also think of an outpouring of joy. Joy seen within very, very broken girls. Girls that have every excuse to be angry and bitter at the world, but choose to be joyful instead. I think the Lord blessed me with this experience for a lot of reasons, but one of them being to remind me of my own brokenness. Though I have been fortunate enough to not have suffered as many others have, I am a very broken individual. I am selfish. And prideful. And just plain sinful. No matter how hard I try to mask this brokenness with an illusion of perfection, there’s no escaping the reality of this world’s state of being, myself included. But like these girls that refuse to be defined by their past, I too am not defined by my brokenness. We are all defined by Christ himself. I am His and that is what defines me.
While on this trip, two girls made comments about how they had previously thought me to be, and I quote, “so perfect.” I would have never denied the falseness of this statement, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love hearing that. It was evidence that my ploy had worked. I had somehow portrayed myself in a way that exemplified my ultimate goal. From the surface, I succeeded then, right? I mean, it was what I’ve been aiming for. But when I break past that superficial lens I was viewing myself from, there is so much wrong with this. This illusion builds up such barriers between people. That seemingly “perfect” person is so far from approachable. They “have it all together,” so they couldn’t possibly understand. I desperately desired this aura of perfection while simultaneously hoping to maintain this sense of approachability.
This is not possible, though. My imperfections are numerous and I no longer want to hide them. It’s time to shatter this illusion for both myself and others. Once I recognize that it’s okay for others to see me as imperfect, I may start to accept it for myself as well. This realization gives 2 Corinthians 12:9 a whole new meaning then. It’s okay to be imperfect and broken because God’s grace is sufficient and His strength is seen most clearly through my weaknesses.
Not only am I freed up from the stress of reaching an impossible goal, but God’s glory is that much greater because of my complete brokenness. One of the girls on my team said something about how she loves brokenness and thinks it’s a beautiful thing. I remember thinking that sounded really nice, but can’t say I feel the same. Now I understand, though. When we are totally honest, we are so incredibly broken. I can no longer deny that. But like the Peruvians I met, I choose to live joyfully amidst my brokenness. Unfortunately though, this will be a lifelong battle for me. I’m sure of that. But I know I can rest in the sufficient grace of Christ and can consequently embrace my imperfections instead of masking them. I can even boast of them as Paul says. And that, my friend, is a beautiful lesson.