Because Nobody is Perfect

I “grew-up” in the church. Not in the chronological, but in the formative sense. My early years were spent with eyes and ears wide open, my heart a sponge absorbing all that might help my tender faith take shape. I longed to nestle close to those whose lives were a deep well of God’s wisdom, whose bibles were tattered and torn, traveled cover to cover.

I’m grateful for every individual that lived out their faith by example. But mingled among them, I found those offering me a perfectly packaged version of the “Christian woman” and all the ways I would fail to be her…

If I didn’t read my bible everyday at dawn…

If I didn’t stuff down emotion to wear a quiet and gentle spirit…

If I didn’t serve to the point of personal sacrifice…

If I didn’t use a prayer journal, or catalog my pantry, or cook organic in my crock pot…

If I didn’t. Then I wasn’t. 

Half of those formative years were spent racked with guilt for failing to be that woman. And if I wasn’t failing, I believed I was succeeding—and I’m not quite sure which is worse. Because the perfect Christian woman does not exist. (←Tweet that.)

And that’s really what I needed to hear.

While my pillars of faith were well-intentioned, they inevitably fell—because well, they weren’t God. They encountered Christ, but not the same way I would. I’ve walked with Christ, but not the same way you will. And that’s okay. Patterns of faith are good, but they aren’t a personal relationship with Christ.

We don’t need a secondhand Jesus.

This is not a dig on discipleship and mentoring—those practices are both profitable and fruitful. But it’s a slippery slope when we interject our example as the rock on which to stand, because if we aren’t mindful, we’ll steal God’s glory, and more so His grace.

“I suspect you would never intend this, but this is what happens.
When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ,
you fall out of grace…What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love.”
Galatians 5:4 MSG

Our self-devised absolutes and out of reach expectations root us in works. And works do nothing but make us weary unless they are motivated by authentic faith. When we are intent on the should and have-to, we cultivate a faith dependent on our own strength.

Because Nobody is Perfect. {}

This world and the enemy of our souls would have us believe that in order to be more, we must do more. But apart from Christ, we are simply a flawed people striving for empty goodness. It is through God’s very present spirit at work in us that we are able to run—our race, God’s way.

God doesn’t want obligation. He wants an outpouring of love. 

Remember the woman bound up by sin, who puddled herself at Jesus’ feet? She came with her most prized possession, a flask of perfume, and poured out every last drop. Using her shed tears and her length of hair, she washed and anointed Jesus’ feet pressing kisses where dirt once dwelt.

“And Jesus said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you.'”
Luke 7:50 NIV

He forgave her multitude of sins—not because she brought a costly token, washed in perfect circular motion, or cried a hundred tears in a crowded room, but because her faith was evident through her great act of love.

God isn’t after perfection, empty deeds, and to-do lists, He’s after our heart.  (←Tweet that.)

#inHimican: Let’s encourage one another as we travel through the mountains and valleys of faith. As you live, see, and create images and words that set your heart ablaze for God, join me on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #inHimican. I’d love to see what He is doing through you!

You can also find these words linked up at my favorite spots: Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory)Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Bonnie Gray (#onewordcoffee), and Kristin Hill Taylor (#threewordwednesday).

Because Nobody is Perfect {}

45 thoughts on “Because Nobody is Perfect

  1. Lovely thoughts to help unravel the tendencies to “warm ourselves by our own fires…” The description of the Proverbs 31 woman can overwhelm me if I put too much stock in it sometimes. God just wants our hearts- dirty, broken, clean, fertile, desolate- doesn’t matter. It’s so easy to trip up over what we think are perfect Christian women with pretty blogs and lots of likes and fame and fortune-But that’s definitely not the whole picture and putting anything other than God on a pedestal is recipe for disaster. Been thinking over a post about how the schedule has replaced the story. The story of Jesus- the beauty of a relationship with Him- is definitely more important than the schedules or the rigors of ‘religion’ we try to keep. Thanks for your precious thoughts and invitation to be authentic Tiffany ♥

    1. God loves to receive us and then transform us, doesn’t He. I think it’s what makes our faith so powerful and the opposite of religion…that gift of grace and the growth that comes when we cultivate that intimate, personal relationship with our Savior who longs to draw near to us. He is a good, good Father.

  2. “We don’t need a secondhand Jesus.” – I know how incredibly simple this sentence is but also how incredibly profound. And you have me thinking really hard about The Message version of Galatians 5 above. I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on that. Always glad I visited, Tiffany. You have such consistent writing and I never leave here empty handed.

    1. I read and read over the translation too…the whole chapter really gets you thinking. Always up to chat more, friend. So glad you left here with something to hold on to. Hugs, friend.

  3. I wish the country was smaller and we were closer together. I could go for a face-to-face, sit-down conversation with you. I know it would be lovely. Until then, thanks for faithfully encouraging people to be real and for linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday. xoxo

    1. For some reason, I missed this comment, friend. Oh, I’d love that face-to-face too. Someday! Hugs to you and thank you for keeping the fire burning at #threewordwednesday.

  4. Tiff, I need this reminder on an almost daily basis. Seriously. I love these authentic faith posts and your heart for showing others the path of grace. Well done, my friend. You rock!

  5. Beautiful encouragement, Tiffany. Both extremes — I’ve failed or I’ve succeeded — are about me when really? We must be utterly dependent on God. Good, real, living it out stuff. Thank you.

  6. I’ve been so aware as I’ve mentored people overseas that I fall so short. (I certainly hope no one is trying to be like me because, I mean, I’m just me.) So I try to be real. Giving up on perfect here. Those expectations can be a yoke, one no one can live up too. Appreciate your words today, friend.

    1. Being real and honest about your imperfections and giving others the freedom to do the same is likely what makes them want to follow your lead as they pursue their path of faith. Yes, perfect is one thing that we can willingly surrender! :) Thanks for being here, Betsy.

  7. Oh what a refreshing breath of Holy Spirit air! Tiffany, your words are so true and so needful. We all tend to fall into comparison, insecurity, rule-driven or legalistic traps. It’s such a freeing thought to realise God only wants our hearts, not our methodologies. Processes are fine in their place but we are not identikit, one-size-fits-all Christians.God treats us as beloved individuals who are preciously different rather than perfectly the same. Maybe it’s time we began to treat ourselves and one another in the same way?

    1. It’s time!! Yes! I love your thoughts here, Joy. We are each unique and our path of faith is “preciously different.” How bland would this world be without all the unique and beautiful gifts the body of Christ has in play. I’m all for laying down comparisons and running the race Christ has set before ME! Thanks for joining the conversation today…SO GOOD!

  8. “Patterns of faith are good, but they aren’t a personal relationship with Christ.” I love this so much. I grew up in the Catholic Church, and went to Catholic school. I absolutely loved it, and credit it as the vessel God used to capture my heart first. Those very important seeds where planted there when I was so very young. It made choosing to leave that denomination behind really tricky. Sometimes, God leads us away from places we’d rather not leave, but then when we look back, we see why…and we’d do it His way any day. For me, personally, I had to be removed from what I knew to discover all I needed. I’ve enjoyed the journey with God. It truly does go beyond church walls and into the depths of your soul to have that relationship with Christ. “Patterns of faith.” I just love how you worded that! IT’s so easy for us to fall into them wherever we are! Awesome, awesome post!!!!
    Happy Wednesday!!!

    1. Love hearing more of your story here, Meg. You are well acquainted with patterns of faith. And yes…God redirects our path in ways we often would not choose on our own. But our obedience not only brings growth, but helps us to the see the goodness of His plans for us…which always pan out to be better than our own. That path can be hard and stretch us, but amen…it draws us deeper into personal relationship with our loving Father. Thank you for sharing your heart and insight today. 💛

  9. I think people gravitate toward religion and that image of ‘the perfect Christian woman’ b/c religion is easier. You know… just give me the rules and I’ll follow them. Relationship requires so much more effort to listen and learn from Jesus and hear his voice speaking softly. But the truth is that religion is empty and will never fill the void in our souls that taking the time to truly know Christ will. thanks Tiffany!

    1. Great thoughts here, Karen. It’s true…a set of rules can often create that false sense of security. But God longs for our obedience to be out of genuine love and a desire to please Him. And then He offers us the fullness of grace and forgiveness to catch us when we falter. I think that’s true freedom. Thank you for joining the conversation today.

  10. Hi Tiffany,
    Beautifully put that God deeply desires our hearts above everything! I too grew up in the church and although it was wonderful, the lives I observed do have an effect on what I think about God sometimes and I have to make a conscious effort to unravel them and discover him for myself — but that in itself is a great thing! Walking along with you on this journey! xo

    1. That IS a great thing, Valerie…discovering more of God and deepening our relationship with Him is one of the sweetest things about authentic faith. Thanks for journeying with me, friend. 💛

  11. Love what God wants from us most is our heart & our faith in Him! In giving him what we have, He fills us up with more than we could ever bring to the table on our own. Thanks for sharing Tiffany!

  12. Wow! “God wants your heart” well said Tiffany.. It is often easy to get caught in comparing the deeds of other Christians but just like blogging every Christian’s story is unique in serving God’s purpose. When we keep our heart open to Him…He will help us in accomplishing His will for our lives. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I am always blessed by your heartfelt posts. May God continue to bless you and yours..have a wonderful week!
    I need to visit #tellhisstory more often!

    1. Yes, Horace – it’s so much like the comparison trap. God has that unique purpose for each of our lives and our path isn’t the same as the person’s next to us. It’s His power in us that allows us to accomplish His will…amen! Thanks for joining the conversation – and yes, #tellhisstory is an amazing community!

  13. I really love how you inspire everyone to have a personal relationship with Jesus. You word it so well, Tiffany. Sometimes those “should’s” and “have to’s” still creep into my heart, so I need this reminder – “God doesn’t want obligation. He wants an outpouring of love.” Thank you. Blessings and hugs to you!

    1. Those should and have-to’s can be suffocating, can’t they? Both when we inflict them on ourselves and when we point them at others. I think that honest, personal relationship with Christ helps us see how desperately we need His grace, which only helps us spread it around too. Thank you for being here and for the hugs, Trudy.

  14. “Patterns of faith are good, but they aren’t a personal relationship with Christ.” Love this, Tiffany. I, too, can remember days of being bound by obligation to Jesus, rather than loving and serving Him from my heart. Thank you for gently reminding all of us that He is after our heart, not our perfection… now that’s something I need to hear! Love You Sweet Sister!

    1. Love that we have a Savior that wants the heart more than the deeds. It inspires us to seek the same, doesn’t it. Thanks for being here, Leigh. Always a blessing to hear from you. Hugs.

  15. No more obligation… only outpouring. Amen, and amen. Girl, your posts are real and on fire, more than usual, and you know how much I love your blog… this is what the whole church needs to hear. Setting aside the outward proof, and allowing our insides to show, hard to do, but benefits our faith and the faith of those around without unreal expectations.
    Love it. Thanks for diving into this hard topic with amazing grace and passion. You’ve been such an inspiration for me.
    xxoo blessings!

    1. Thank you for your sweet encouragement, Christine. It blesses me, because these words were fought for! Yes – outward proof is hard, but necessary to show those around us that grace is a more powerful motivator than guilt. Always so grateful when you’re here. Blessings right back at you!

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