You and I Don't Have to be Perfect, Because Our God Already Is
“Mom, aren’t you afraid you’ll say the wrong thing?”
Yep. I definitely am. I am confident that I will do just that.
I was mildly freaking out with a car full of kids, as one of my daughters asked about some upcoming speaking opportunities I had: recording some videos with my publisher for my forthcoming book, taking the stage at a couple conferences, recording a few podcasts.
The thing about writing is, you can edit. You write a first draft and a second and a third. You look it over, sleep on it, run spellcheck. With writing, there’s plenty of time to correct mistakes. Of course, that doesn’t mean mistakes won’t be printed, but there’s less room for error.
But when it comes to speaking live or to being recorded by someone else, you lose all the control. There’s no going back. What’s done is done; what’s said is said. My daughter understood that.
The truth is, though, that whether it’s in communicating or relating or anything else, you and I cannot put our hope in our own words because we will surely fail.
At one point or another, we will say the wrong thing or we will say the right thing the wrong way. We will get our facts wrong, or we will misunderstand, or we will be misunderstood. Or our hearts will be in the wrong place and we’ll be flippant when we should be grave, or silly when we should be serious. There are innumerable opportunities to err.
When my daughter asked if I was afraid, my answer was an immediate and definitive yes. I loathe responding poorly to others. I hate being wrong. I lament both my mistakes and my sin—sometimes it’s one or the other and sometimes it’s both.
It’s happened before and it’s going to happen again and again until heaven. I have said and will say the wrong thing.
But at the end of the day, I must remember my hope is not in my own perfection, but in the sovereignty of God. My hope is not that I will get things just right—I already know from experience that I won’t. My hope is that the Lord himself will redeem my mistakes and my sin. My confidence is in him alone. He is on the throne.
God is sovereign and uses us in spite of ourselves. He doesn’t use us because we are perfect or winsome or excellent. He uses us because he is. He can and does use all things for his glory (Romans 11:36).
Our God is reconciling all things to himself—things in heaven and things on earth—making peace by the blood of the cross (Colossians 1:20). Christ in me is the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). Because our God is good and kind, and because he is able to redeem all things for his glory, I can walk and speak and write and relate with confidence in him alone. I have confidence that even when (especially when) I blow it, he will somehow use it according to his will. That may be in someone else’s life or it may be in my own.
My hope is that God—by the power of his Spirit, or through his word, or through his people—will reveal my mistakes and my sin to me, allowing me the opportunity to humble myself, make a correction, or repent. When we are weak he is strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
We don’t have to be perfect, because he already is.
I hate to confess it, but it’s true: my loudest thought is often, “I sure hope I don’t look stupid doing this.” But here’s what true: “the fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe” (Proverbs 29:25). Fearing how I will perform, how others will perceive me, how solid my reputation is, is a snare. It’s a trap. It will disable me. It is safe, rather, to trust in the Lord.
Our God is on his throne and he does as he pleases (Psalm 115:3). He (not me!) is in charge of all things and this is such good news. I can write and speak and love others because God is sovereign and able. He holds everything together. He will use both my successes and failures to grow me, maybe to grow others, and for any other reason he pleases.
My hope is not in my perfection or my performance, but in my risen King. And my prayer is that, by his grace, you and I will walk toward whatever he has called us, for his name’s sake, not our own.
We don’t have to be perfect, because our God already is.