Finding Beauty in Imperfection

By Linda Tancs

Are you a perfectionist? Or do you suffer with a spouse, friend, family member, colleague or boss who is one? Psychologists define perfectionism as the need to be or appear perfect. It might sound ideal to strive for perfection. In fact, I recall one of my college professors calling it a “virtue.” But decades of studies reveal that perfectionism correlates with depression, anxiety, eating disorders and other mental health problems. That doesn’t sound very ideal, or virtuous, does it? Yet we live in a world that embraces perfection, as evidenced in everything from grade inflation in schools to airbrushing perceived imperfections out of photos.

On a spiritual level, perfectionism underscores a self-reliant effort to be flawless that undermines the power of God. The Pharisees are prime examples of biblical perfectionists, bound by legalism, pride and judgment. Psalm 18 reminds us that only God is perfect (Psalm 18:30). He seeks to do a good work in us, to perfect us in holiness through Grace (Philippians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 7:1). In God’s eyes, perfection arises from an inner beauty, not outward adornments (1 Peter 3:3-4).

Perfect your faith, not your IQ score, selfies or triceps.

The Road to Transformation

By Linda Tancs

In the movie Eat Pray Love Julia Roberts’ character remarks that ruin is the road to transformation. The remark was sparked by a tour of an ancient Roman ruin, but its deeper meaning is related to failures in life as the film’s story line indicates. It’s a compelling statement, and oftentimes we do think of transformation in the context of some failure that preceded it. But why focus on failure? I prefer Thomas Edison’s famous positioning statement: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Those “10,000 ways” are success stories, don’t you think? Every time we discover a way that doesn’t work, we’re that much closer to finding a way that does work—and learning a whole lot about ourselves in the process. The point is that transformation isn’t an event, it’s a process.

That process occurs by the grace of God, one baby step at a time. By testing the waters, we discern His will (Romans 12:2). Regardless of how long the road is, He that began a work in you will bring it to completion (Philippians 1:6). The Bible is packed with examples of people who were utterly transformed, Jesus’s death of course being the ultimate illustration of transformative, redemptive meaning. Think, too, of the apostles, ordinary men who became great leaders and kingdom builders. And Paul, the persecutor-turned-evangelist. David evolved from shepherd boy to a king. Remember Moses, Gideon, Ruth, Habakkuk. Their minds and hearts were all renewed in God’s Word in countless ways, bringing peace, joy and strength in times of triumph and adversity.

Think about what God has taught you from your “10,000 ways.” Would you have learned as much without Him?