Recently, some friends and I were having dinner. During our meal we began discussing a mutual friend of ours whose talent was gaining popularity and resulting in the booking of some big gigs.
"I wonder if she wants to move to Nashville and score a recording contract," one friend surmised. "Or try out for American Idol," another friend suggested. We were bursting with ideas that would help Kim meet her potential.
Suddenly, a guy chimed in with his thoughts.
"If she ever wants to make it big as any type of artist she'll have to lose some weight and change her style," he said. "I'm not trying to be mean. That's just the truth."
Instantly my mind flashed forward to what Hollywood stylists might do to Kim's simple — minimal make-up, super casual, walking around barefoot — style. They would probably want to turn her into another, more mass appealing, person. While those efforts might allow more people to hear her voice, nobody would ever see the real her.
They would want her to exchange who she is for a shot at fame.
I didn't think Kim would go for it. But I began to wonder how many of us are so fastened to our dreams that we would willingly do anything — or almost anything — to make them a reality.
Would those of us longing for love sleep with a guy just to keep him around?
Do those of us climbing the corporate ladder lie when it will make our bosses (or us) look good?
Have any of us ever found ourselves drinking socially just to fit in?
Today it is easier than ever to create an image of yourself that seems much cooler than you really are. All you have to do is post a few good pictures, a couple choice status updates and announce a handful of key connections on your Facebook profile and you can instantly appear as your best version of yourself.
None of your friends from high school, or that small town where you grew up, have to know anything about your bad hair days, your constant struggle to lose that "freshman fifteen" you put on in college, or the reality that you have no clue what you want to do with your life.
In a world where it's easier than ever to be connected we have lost the vulnerability and authenticity that make relationships worth having. We've exchanged community for a show. We have so bought into the concept of presenting a certain image of ourselves that we believe that a girl with a beautiful voice who sings songs in churches can never amount to anything if she doesn't get a stylist and personal trainer to help her out. We work harder, dream bigger and try to morph ourselves into people we aren't, all so we can feel good about ourselves.
But that is never what God intended for us. That's why the Bible is full of stories of people who stumbled and fell, struggled with sin, and didn't have all the answers. Their imperfections are what made them need grace — and it was against the backdrop of their lives that God's glory illuminated brightly.
By aiming for perfection, and trying to eliminate the need for grace in our lives, we are subconsciously trying to erase our need for a Savior. That's why the harder we work the further away from God we actually feel.
In 2 Corinthians 12:10 the apostle Paul writes, "...for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
The next time you have a dream you think you can't achieve or you're tempted to paint a perfect picture of yourself on Facebook, remember it's the weaknesses, the imperfections — the things you can't accomplish on your own — that give God the opportunity show off in your life.
When we accept our place as broken and imperfect people, God finally has the opportunity to shine brightly in our lives. Living lives that point others to Him is what gives us purpose. So, ironically, it's in the moments of seeming failure that we are of the most use in the kingdom of God.
The Divine Dance by Shannon Primicerio
Shannon Primicerio stumbled into ministry by divine accident in 2003 as she began teaching other women that we were never designed to perform for the crowd and were made instead to dance for the Audience of One. You can learn more about her, and her books, at www.beingagirlbooks.com
© 2011 by Shannon Primicerio. All rights reserved.