Have you ever noticed how models in the magazines always appear flawless? Nothing is ever out of place. Their hair is perfect, skin is smooth and like porcelain, teeth almost blindingly white, hair shiny, and their make-up is always perfect. They look like perfect people. Okay maybe I am just noticing it because I ate too much turkey… but my curiosity about those flawless looking people drove me to do some research.
To make them look so good the photo shoot is scheduled for a certain time of day and then the necessary lighting and filters are added. After all it is important that your subject is shown in the best light. Different attachments are added to the camera lens to get the right contrast. While the shot is set up, the models spend hours in the hair and make-up chair where the artist spends hours covering and correcting. In some cases huge fans blow the models hair and clothes to add that dramatic touch. In some cases, it takes hundreds of shots to get the shot and even then, it is retouched or airbrushed before publication. All in an effort to hide those pesky imperfections!
Have you ever wondered what it must be like to go to such extremes to hide a perceived flaw and look perfect? You know I have noticed it is not only models and photographers that try to achieve the “flawless” look. I see it happen all the time in our everyday lives. Too many of us believe the lie, “if it looks good on the outside then it must be okay on the inside”. We mask, pretend, make up, cover, and act up all in an effort to hide the truth that our lives are messy and anything but picture perfect. We hide our boo-boos behind our higher education, we try to overcome our pain by overworking, we fake it until we make it. In effect we live in denial. We deny our truth and we hope our friends, family, coworkers or people we simply want to impress will not be able to see who we really are. We tragically believe that to be acceptable and lovable we must appear flawless because broken and messy is undesirable.
But what if broken and messy is what endears others too us? What if the very thing we believed makes us flawed instead makes us authentic and approachable? What if being REAL became the new definition of what it means to be flawless? And trying to be flawless defined us as fakes?
What if we discovered that being real is what makes us human? What if our vulnerability was desirable? What if our hidden hurts, disappoints, and flaws became tools for Jesus to use to encourage others? What if we discovered that hiding our flaws strangles the ability of Jesus to use them to draw others to him?
I’m learning there is freedom in knowing Jesus can use everything in our life for His glory. I’m growing more comfortable acknowledging my list weaknesses and flaws; I sometimes struggle with anger, at times I get overwhelmed by stress and anxiety because I think I can do everything, I have control issues, and then there’s that sneaky pride, and I have a compassion disorder which is a tendency to try to take in and fix broken people which ALWAYS gets me in trouble because I am not the Holy Spirit.
Hiding never sets us free… it tightens the shackles. Recognition – confession – freedom result when we admit our flaws, surrender each to Jesus, and are truthful with our struggle. Paul said…
9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT
Our flaws or weaknesses give Jesus a chance to show how beautiful and complete his power is at work in us. Grace makes up for what we lack. To see his power at work in weakness is so incredibly beautiful and encouraging. I want to find strength in my weakness. In fact I want to boast in them like Paul. I don’t want to be flawless by the world’s standards… I want my flaws - my lack – my weaknesses to be visible so that Jesus and his flawless grace and overwhelming power and can be seen in me and demonstrated through me.