Alice Clarke writes:
I was voted the nicest person in my year at secondary school. This was fairly annoying. I was 18 years old and I wanted to be edgy and mysterious. I would have preferred to be voted “most likely to be famous” or “highest earner in 10 years”, but I was just voted nice. So uncool.
Secretly, I’m proud of it now. I like to think of myself as a nice person. A positive person. A cup half-full type.
I’ll let you into another secret. I am not nice all the time. I’m not very good at regaining positivity when I feel tired or grumpy. I find it hard to forgive. I say mean things to the people I love the most.
Well, actually I hope it’s not. Obviously, I don’t love that I can be judgemental or unkind. But it should be pretty obvious that I’m a human being, just like you. That, despite our curated Instagram accounts, we are not always laughing over a latte with our friends on a Saturday morning.
It makes me uncomfortable, the uglier parts of me. The times that I word-vomit my frustration to totally the wrong person. I’d really like to be a bit more perfect. A bit better presented, more shiny, more able to keep everything together.
It’s becoming apparent that God doesn’t think so. He seems to really like me as I am. And he especially likes it when I’m not faking it, when I’m not trying to be like something or someone else.
He keeps telling me, over and over again, that he likes that I am incomplete. He likes that I need to rely on him for most things. Because when I don’t need to rely on him, I become independent of him. I forget his goodness.
I have a body. It is held together by my skin. That I can breathe and process oxygen. I can eat food and digest it. I didn’t do any of these things. I didn’t make them happen. They’re only happening because my creator made me. I really am utterly dependent on him.
The harsh reality is, that when you or I pretend that we are nice all the time, or when we try to live up to some other perfect image, we are rejecting the Father’s acceptance of us. I’m rejecting the truth that he loves me as I am. I am choosing what I say about myself over what he says about me. And we know that putting something before God becomes idolatry. And God takes idolatry really seriously.
My decision to strive to be something I’m not, something I was never designed to be, is idolatry. Ouch.
(And, side note, it’s actually totally unapproachable for other people when I try and pretend to be marvellous in every way. It makes them think I don’t need them. Which I really, really, flipping well DO.)
The Father sent his only son for us, fully knowing who we are. Not a race of perfectoids. He decided, and still decides that he wants relationship with us, that he wants intimacy, he wants us to call him Abba, Daddy, even though if we are far perfect.
So, let’s raise a glass to our imperfections. To our dependence. To our utter needy-ness. Let’s celebrate the fact that we must always walk with a limp, that we will never be able to do it all on our own. That we will always come out of the wilderness leaning on our Beloved. (Song of Solomon 8:5).
This article was published in Revival magazine, in July. You can find the article here.