In the wise words of one of my spiritual teachers, Richard Rohr,
"There’s a darkness that we are led into by our own stupidity, sin (the illusion of separation), and selfishness (living out of the false self). We have to work our way out of this kind of darkness by brutal honesty, confession, surrender, forgiveness, apology, and restitution. It may feel simultaneously like dying and being liberated. We resist going through the darkness and facing our shadow, so we usually need help, as the Twelve Steps wisely identify. An accountability partner, spiritual director, or counselor can help us navigate this difficult, ego-humiliating process."
I could not agree more; as strong friendships, mentors, spiritual directors, and embracing the 12 steps have all been a large part of the medicine for embracing my imperfections and brokenness. Embracing imperfections is not just an individual concept, it can also be applied to a corporate setting, culture, art, and even politics. Yes, I just said embracing imperfections must move through the individual into these larger structures and systems.
Embracing Imperfection is NOT
~replaying the actions (imperfections) of yesterday that you know could have been different (shaming)
~reminding your friends, family and foes of what they did yesterday that was less than pleasant (an imperfection of theirs)
~talking about someone who's imperfections that make you "look" better
~believing that the imperfections you are aware of are they only ones you have
~creating or letting your identity internally or externally be hinged on your known imperfections
Embracing Imperfections could look LIKE
~choosing to read a headline or listening to a negative person rant and continue to be curious about their side of the story rather than assuming you "know" better or are "better"
~choosing to apologize even when you feel foolish
~looking at something you created with kind eyes, letting it be a part of the process rather than a "terrible" piece
~taking a deep breath before you respond to someone who's imperfections are coming at you strong!
~telling those you trust when you are not okay (depression, addictions, in anger/grief)
~sharing (confessing) your deepest darkest secret you think people will disown you once they know
~listen to your life; own your mistakes that have brought you to where you are
~remembering who's you are; that there is a force must stronger than your imperfections and they have the last word
~believing that you have been made new
As I once heard admidst being lost in the shame of my imperfections;
"The weight of your shame will never outweigh the weight of my Glory"
May the grace that has not only embraced your imperfections but made a way for you to live in freedom from them be ever present in your body, mind and soul today. May the mercy of the loving Christ be what allows you to embrace imperfections around you and live to remind them of their present beauty.