God Versus Unlovable Imperfection
Updated: Nov 7, 2021
Pride is not all that there is
Some people think too highly of themselves, but many people think too lowly of themselves. These people allow themselves to believe that they are unable to do something, that they cannot be loved, or that they will never get ahead. When you believe these things about yourself, you self-sabotage. You engage in psychological self-harm and self-destructive behavior. Because naturally, you will not step out, go on new adventures, or try new things. You have clipped your own wings.
The background of self-loathing
Combating these feelings of self-loathing is not easy. These feelings often originate in how we were raised and what our direct environment has caused us to believe in ourselves. These feelings of self-loathing may also result from trials that have happened in our lives and have broken us. But any change starts with truth. And the Bible gives a model for approaching our self-image in a balanced, healthy, and wholesome way. The Bible teaches how God views imperfection, speaks about it, and how he deals with that in his creation.
The stupid ostrich to help us
There is a story in the Bible that I find very helpful when it comes to this topic. In Job 39, God tells a very desperate and itchy Job about one of the most foolish birds that God has created: the ostrich. This is what God says, very truthfully, about this bird:
The ostrich is pretentious. She is created with wings, and she flaps with her wings repeatedly. Yet she does not take off. She does not fly. Neither does she use her wings rightly to protect and warm her young. Her wings seem useless on her.
God says that she is a terrible terrible mother. She puts her eggs on the earth, not realizing that people can crush them and that animals can crush or eat them. She doesn’t seem to care. Neither does she seem to care about her hatched young. God says that she treats them cruelly, as if her label for them is in vain.
God has told the truth: the ostrich is inadequate.
The lovable ostrich to encourage us
Does God despise the ostrich because she is too stupid for everyone’s own good and so imperfect? No. God’s truth goes further, and there is a change in tone.
God says that he is responsible for the amount of wisdom he has given to this bird. God says he made her forget wisdom so that she would not fear. The perfect God made the bird imperfect for his own reasons.
Then, God says that this bird has a skill that surprises and surpasses human categories. He says that when she flees, she laughs at horse and rider. In other words, God has made her extremely fast.
It will help us learn to talk to ourselves in how God talks about his creation.
TRUTH. We tell the truth, and we can acknowledge that we are flawed in certain areas or come short in some ways.
ACCEPTANCE. Like God, we have this radical acceptance that we are not all created the same and that God has given talent to not everyone alike.
LOVE. The way God loves his imperfect bird, so he loves us. And what God loves, we may not hate.
ACTION. Like God points out that one talent he has given this bird and speaks of that with respect and admiration, so we also find what God did give us, and we run with it! And as we do, we will surprise people around us.
Can God use unlovable imperfection? Yes! There is no such thing as useless in the kingdom of God.
If God can give his useless bird a paragraph of admiration in the Bible, HIS OWN, STUPID BIRD, then our imperfection is lovable for him too.