Her mouth speaks wisdom, and loving instruction is on her tongue.
Proverbs 31:26 (CSB)
An email filled with criticism had slipped into my inbox that week and it hurt my feelings . . . for days. That one email set off a storm of self-doubting emotions. It’s amazing what one person’s criticism can do. When someone criticizes me as a mom, I’ll doubt myself as a mother. When someone criticizes me as a friend, I’ll doubt my ability to be a good friend. Ten people could say something nice to me or about me, but what I’ll remember most is that one person’s criticism.
I called a friend to process the harsh email and my emotions. With wisdom she told me, “Renee, you’ll never be perfect. And if you ever get to where you are perfect, you will be all alone!” Boy, she was right! I’m definitely not perfect, and I’m sure I’ll never be perfect. And I’m thankful because I don’t want to be all alone.
Sweet friend, here is what I know . . . Jesus was the only perfect Person to walk this earth, yet He was constantly criticized. But guess what? Nowhere is it recorded in Scripture that Jesus ever doubted Himself. No matter what, He stayed secure in His purpose and confident in His calling. That day, my friend spoke reality into my feelings. And God used her wisdom to remind me: Jesus depended solely on His Father’s approval.
What His Father said was all that mattered. And that is what He wants for us, too. He is there in the midst of our less-than-perfect lives, when disappointments and failures leave us empty and make us doubt our worth and purpose. He is there when we’re criticizing ourselves and questioning whether we have what it takes to be a godly woman. He sees us, and He’s pursuing us with the gift of His perfect love.
Let God be perfect. And embrace the less-than-perfect reality of your life, your day, and learn to see both as normal because, after all, only God is perfect.
This message was written by Renee Swope and appears in A Moment to Breathe: 365 Devotions That Meet You in Your Everyday Mess, a devotional from the (in)courage community available at DaySpring.com and wherever books are sold.
Let God be perfect, and embrace the less-than-perfect reality of your life. -@ReneeSwope: Click To Tweet Leave a Comment
Michele Morin says
Perfect words for the beginning of another imperfect day!
Amen & Amen
So very true!!
Renee Swope says
Thank you for the smile your words brought to me 🙂
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
What a great thought to counteract the pride-trap of perfectionism. “And if you ever get to where you are perfect, you will be all alone!”
I have struggled with the urge to try to be “perfect” for years. I can be my own worst critic. I’m not exactly sure where this tendency originated, but the bottom line truth of the matter is that unless we are getting our sense of identity from what Jesus did on the cross for us, it will forever be a striving and failing pursuit. In this world our sense of self will take many blows. Perhaps my husband abandoning our marriage after 26 years was the biggest blow. But, when we are laid low by someone, it is the perfect opportunity for God to come in and really do a major overhaul on our sense of identity. We can’t muster it up on our own. I had to ASK God to work the truth of my identity of being “perfect only through the blood of Christ” deep into my soul. Ask and you shall receive. Do I still struggle? You bet, but I keep coming back to the visual of God looking at me through the veil of blood that was Christ’s sacrifice. No striving or earning needed. Excellent post and great reminder!
Bev, its like you are living my nightmare. BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS, the pain, disappointment. But this article in courage’s me, I’ll never be perfect in anyone’s site. And that’s okay, through all the pain i’am finding i need JESUS, who will never. abandon me. Loneliness, gets to me / depression please pray for me. As i pray for you. Thought, people will always disappoint us, as they are not perfect themselves. Love reading your kind words ❤️
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Amen – Jesus will never abandon us!! Joining with you in clinging to Him for our identity. We are truly and fully loved by Him. Praying for you through loneliness and depression. Praying this promise for you: “I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you.” (John 14:18). May you feel His presence profoundly each and every day.
Love and gentle hugs,
Amen & Amen
Thank you Renee,
This was perfect timing for me – God knew I needed this! I had forgiven the incident, but realized from reading this, that I was till angry with the person. Realizing I could not stop being angry on my own, I gave it to God, and now have His peace. What God says is all that matters….
Oh wow…I needed to hear this today more than you’ll ever know! Thank you for blessing others so much with your words, Renee!
Renee Swope says
So glad God timed this post just when you needed it Anne! He loves you so much! xoxo
Thanks, Renee! Good reminder. I was just doubting my ability to be a good friend last night in the shower. Not sure where that came from. Or maybe I am!
thankyou ! yes we all have those hot headed people who spew things at us..its how much of an impact we allow them to have. my husband always says let it be like water off a ducks back…dont grasp the hurt that the words are filled with.
You are right that it never states Jesus was insecure , his apostles were nervous it states but they walked forward and fulfilled their mission. here’s to a great God who helps us in our emotions .
Emily B. says
Amen!! Thank you for the reminder that mistakes, criticism all of it is ok because we are not perfect and we need to go easier on ourselves. What the Lord thinks of us is really the only one that matters and He loves us anyway in our imperfection!!
Beth Williams says
People say “words will never hurt”. That is a myth. Words can cut deep. They can leave us reeling from the attack. Sometimes words hurt enough to make us doubt ourselves & our worth. We begin to feel less than & unwanted. I know words have hurt my feelings down to core. I have felt “dumb, stupid, & unloved”. Hurtful words or actions have caused many young people to attempt harmful acts like suicide. The realization must come to us that none of us is perfect. No matter how hard we try we will always fall short. Embrace the reality of our less than perfect lives & let God be the perfect sinless one. We need to be super careful what we say & how. We should speak wisdom & loving instruction. Also we need to get our identity from what Christ says about us. That we are His beloved. He went to great lengths to show us His love. We are wanted & cared for more than we know. Everyone should look to the Bible for their identity & worth. We are priceless jewels to Him.
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
We are all pricless jewls to Gods. What Beth Williams said really spoke too me. Yes words Beth can hurt so we have be careful what we say. Also they can scar especially if that person not saved. As they take longer to forgive. If the person said something hurtful. Jesus says we have to careful with our words. They can be like salt we can do more over flavoring than we need. Then spoil a good friendship. You spoke such words of wisdom. Thank you Beth what you wrote. Dawn Ferguson-Little xxxx
Beth, WORDS cut deeply, words are used as weapons, to attack the mind & heart. We must all understand all people are fighting some type of battle, some battles are seen some are invisible. That’s why we need to be in the word daily. To get strength to overcome harsh words, that make us feel les-than. In the end , believe, trust in the lord is what will truly matter. Love & prayers to all, in-courage followers.
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
We might not be perfect Christians. There never will be a perfect Christian. No matter how hard we try. We all mess up. We all as Christian do from time to time do and say things we should not. Hurt people we should not. Who may not be saved or not saved. There is no perfect Christian. We have to go Jesus and say here I am. I am sorry I have messed up again please forgive me. Then go ask the person if they will have us and forgive us. That we have hurt. Make friends with even if it hard. God will give you the strength to do it. If that person wants you to say sorry to. If not just pray for them leave them with Jesus until they are ready to accept your sorry. If ever. At least you know you are not perfect you know you messed up. You did the right thing went to Jesus asked him to forgive you and said sorry to him. Jesus has forgiven you. You have prayed for them you have prayed left it at the Cross. Another thing don’t feel you have to be perfect by wearing make up having this body or that body. Jesus love you without make up and the lovely body you all ready have. Don’t beat yourself up too look this way or that. Remember you are a Daughter of the King. Jesus Love you just the way you are. You don’t have to be perfect and comply with the worlds looks. It only matters what the Master says about you not the World. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little Excellent reading once again. Xxx
Patty Joyce says
Beautifully said Renee! God knew our imperfections when he created us—and yet He did! Looking over my life, I doubt I would have. He then went infinitely further sending His Son to die for our imperfections so we could be made perfect in Him.
Greater love hath no
man that He would lay down His life for His friend! Praise be to God!