I was flipping the TV channels the other day and found myself watching American Pickers on the History channel. The show features two guys who travel around the country scavenging junk (I mean collectibles) in the hope of finding valuable treasure to resale. This particular episode really caught my eye because it featured a collection of antique carousel pieces, to include horses, pigs, roosters and elephants from the 1950’s.
I love carousels!
I find them whimsical and enchanting with the lights, music and the sparkling colors. Riding a carousel transports me into a magical world and I become a kid again, if only for a few moments.
Interestingly enough, the pickers were not attracted to the gleaming newly restored carousel pieces rather, the ones that were rustic and imperfect. The shabbier the better!
The French call it “jolie laide” which expresses the idea of an unconventional beauty or to find beauty in the unique or unexpected.
The French might be onto something… the attractiveness of the flawed.
This idea is why the rustic carousel pieces still hold immense value and have the power to inspire joyful childhood memories.
Beauty and inspiration.
If a shabby old carousel horse, untouched and imperfect, can inspire value and beauty why then do we strive so hard to project the appearance of perfection?
Don’t we see it everyday?
The worker who is fired but tells everyone they decided to make a change and pursue other opportunities.
The woman who conceals her marital struggles and masquerades like her life and marriage are perfect.
The couple with the lavish lifestyle- complete with big home, expensive cars and exotic vacations but is on the brink of bankruptcy.
The parents that cling to the ideal of perfect children but their kids are the terror of the neighborhood.
We embrace the false belief that imperfection and flaws are unworthy and that only perfection holds value!
The irony is we were created to be naturally imperfect and life itself is brimming with imperfections.
Yet, we fight for perfection like boxing champions!
Not appreciating that imperfections are what make us unique and life beautiful, because it is through imperfections that we are able to magnify God.
The Bible tells us that God’s power is made PERFECT IN OUR WEAKNESS!
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, 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. - 2 Corinthians 12:9-11
When we hide our imperfections from the world we hide the beauty of God and his work within us; we deny our story of perseverance and how God helps us to overcome.
When we are authentic, when we have the courage to remove the masks and reveal our blemishes, failings and hardships to the world we amplify GOD’S PERFECTION.
In essence, we are declaring (in our imperfect state) that God sees us, God hears us, God loves us, and God works through us. We are embracing that God purposefully created us knowing full well our weaknesses, our flaws, our slight cracks and imperfections.
Don’t be afraid for the world to know you aren’t perfect and that your life isn’t perfect.
It is in the tiny cracks of our imperfections that
God’s love shines through.
So, let God’s light shine in your life and show the world the beauty of your imperfection! God will be pleased and others just might be drawn to Him because of your jolie laide!
Father, forgive us when we hide our imperfections, flaws and hardships. Give us courage and strength to boldly confess our weaknesses so that we may magnify your perfection and your work in our lives. Your grace is sufficient and your power is made perfect in our weakness.
After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. - 1 Peter 5:10