I realized recently that when I am done building a piece of furniture, I stand there and look at it. I’m proud of what I have accomplished. I look at all the details and think back to the problems I had to solve to make this piece turn out the way it did. I will run my hands over it, feeling the smooth texture and remembering the rough, splintery wood that used to be there.
I know this sounds self-indulgent, but creating something of beauty moves me. I think back to the story of creation in the Bible and how when God created something the Bible says:
“God saw that it was good.”
I think that creative gene is present in us. So whether it is a piece of furniture, a presentation for work, or a perfect meal, we love to marvel at what our hands made. However, there is another side to this for me.
When someone comes over and compliments me on a piece of furniture I have made, that same piece I stood staring at in my garage for an hour, I do something odd. I don’t take the compliment and then explain the process of the creation to them. Instead, I quickly point out the flaw. Nothing I have ever made has been perfect. There is always some tiny imperfection that drives me crazy.
This flaw would go completely unnoticed by the person admiring the piece if I did not bring it up. I don’t show the craftsmanship or detail that it took hours to get right. I choose to not only show, but highlight, the part where a momentary lack of focus or impatience created an imperfection.
So why is it that the first thing I choose to show is the mistake? I can only think it is because I feel it is glaringly obvious to the rest of the world, and if I call it out first, then maybe it isn’t so bad. Or perhaps it is because I don’t want anyone to think that I think something is perfect when they can see it obviously is not.
I do this with more than just things I create. I do this with my life. I point out my flaws so others can’t hurt me with their criticism.
When God was creating the world, He didn’t finish with something, sit back, and say it was “Just OK.” He said it was good. He didn’t immediately point out flaws or things He would have done differently if he had just had more time, like I do. He made it, and He owned it. From an outside perspective, the duckbilled platypus could definitely be seen as a mistake, but to God, it was just what He intended.
Everything in creation has a purpose. None of us were mistakes. Do we have imperfections? Sure. But should that be what we focus on? Absolutely not!
If I make a table with a scratch in the top does that mean that the table is unable to function as a table because of this blemish? Not at all. The table, despite its flaw, still accomplishes the purpose it was created for. That is you, and that is me. God does not call us to be perfect. He calls us to a purpose.
We shouldn’t let the nicks or scratches we have incurred over time keep us from fulfilling the purpose God created us for.