After much work editing and formatting, I looked over the proof copy that arrived. I wasn’t sure what I would discover, but I didn’t expect to see all of the flaws and imperfections. There were stray commas peppered on the pages, spacing didn’t seem to be aligned, and words missing started jumping out at me. How could that be? Did I not investigate for hours on end to ensure it would all be ‘just right’?
That sensation of defeat and discouragement was starting to slither along beside me with accusations aimed to silence me or convince me to give up and fill my mind with doubt. I felt prepared to start replacing copies, feeling as if those tiny flaws and imperfections were magnifying the flaws and imperfections of my life. I suppose if we hold a magnifying glass to ourselves and each other, we will discover all of the faults we seek to find.
Don’t we do that? We search one another or ourselves, hoping to discover something that doesn’t measure up, as if we were going to win an award for it. We are a people who seek to please the eyes and the senses in all kinds of ways. We are drawn to bright, shiny objects and easily distracted by the seemingly perfect image. We crave the new and tend to toss out the old and out-dated.
People often announce themselves or introduce themselves based on their titles and talents, usually with a perfectly designed representation in order to impress and attract others (Look over here, I am, I am, I am, I am, I am…).
I began to think about a baby born in a manger.
There once was a King who was born into the most humble of circumstances. Upon birth, this King was surrounded with the stench of a barn and in the company of the barn residents. His parents were surrounded by controversy and scrutiny, though they held fast to their faith. That same King was laid in a manger after His birth. He did not live in luxury with the finest garments and servants to tend to every need. He didn’t have great beauty, the finest of things, or exalt Himself during His ministry. He was not concerned with posing for the perfect picture or carefully curating His speeches. He was not interested in impressing and attracting others with adornments or titles. He was a man of modest means.
He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
No, the King was not worried about the outward, how things looked, or whether or not anyone would find fault in Him. This King was the One who came to serve, minister compassion, and walk in humility. He rode into town on a donkey and walked out with splintered wood on His shoulders.
This King was beaten, whipped, and bruised though He had done nothing wrong. This innocent King was forced to carry the splintered wood that would become His deathbed. For all intents and purposes, His life from birth until death is one of lowly circumstances and profound levels of humility.
The Great I AM gave up His throne, His lofty position, in order to reconcile us to Himself.
So, as I made the changes to the flaws and imperfections that were within my control, I decided I was going to let the rest go. A revision was made and I walked away from it praying that the will of God would play out no matter what. Whatever ambitions and goals I may have for myself do not matter in the least if the will of God is not involved. Nothing apart from Him is going to last.
I was drawn back to why I am even sharing my journey in the first place and it has nothing to do with an image, a title, the need for recognition, or even an attempt to walk in false humility.
The truth is, I fell in love with the baby in a manger, the King who carried my cross and allowed Himself to be nailed there. I fell in love with a humble Servant, not because He was lofty or pleased the senses. I fell in love with a humble Servant because of His great love for us.
1 John 4:19
We love because He first loved us.
I am not interested in perfection or an image. I have had some impressive titles in my day and, in the big picture, those titles means nothing. I have already learned some hard lessons of how things go apart from Him; when I seek my own will or chase after a call on my life that was not actually ordained by Him I will walk into ruin.
In the midst of all the flaws and imperfections, I made the most beautiful discovery…
I am in my Lord and He is the I AM in me.