When you are writing, (whether it be a blog, story, poem, book, sermon, song, or any number of other things that you can create when putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard) and you finally set the last period firmly in place, you can look back over what you have accomplished, and you will see an imperfect work. It’s inevitable. Even if it is grammatically impeccable and technically perfect, there will always be things that can be done to improve the piece. Perhaps your mother, grandmother, and best friend might declare your creation to be faultless, but it is a rare and, I would say, even impossible thing to create something that the entirety of the human population would define as complete perfection. In fact, if you are anything like me, then as you evaluate your own work, there will undoubtedly come a point in your revision process when you simply say, “enough is enough.” You then proceed to set down your pen, accepting the fact that it’s as good as it’s going to get, barring a decision to commit the rest of your life to revising your words over and over again until the grave ultimately separates you from your lifelong task of achieving one superlatively flawless piece of writing. In which case, you will still most likely fall short. There will ALWAYS be something that can be changed or modified, and what’s just right to one person may be an absolute train wreck to the next. Revision after revision after revision is still somehow inadequate, and no amount of change can make what we write reach an inarguable level of perfection to everyone. At some point in time, “Not good enough” is forced to become “good enough,” after all.
Now, it just so happens that everything you’ve just read isn’t actually about writing at all. It’s about a much more complicated masterpiece. I’m talking about me, if masterpiece can even be used to describe someone who is riddled scandalously with innumerable imperfections and shortcomings. This all began as I was thinking about something that I have thought of many times in the past, but this time it was a bit more overwhelming. I began to think of who I am and where I am in my life, and then I began to think about who I believe God wants me to become and where he wants to lead me. I thought about what I would have to do in order to assume the form of that individual, and I took a good look at the person who looks back at me in the mirror every day. I began to see sub-par page after sub-par page that was ripped and torn and faded and crowded with mistakes of every imaginable kind. The amount of work required to fix ME, was not something that anyone should scoff at.
I began this year without resolutions in the traditional sense. I didn’t start out on January first with a new attitude and a new outlook on life. Even so, I knew that this needed to be a year for change despite the fact that, in the past, I’ve tried and failed and tried and failed and tried and failed time after time after time. This time however, I was determined to make some real revisions. It was time to change some of those question marks to periods and time to take pause and add a coma here and there. It was going to be a time of deleting, rewriting and reworking, and with God’s help I was going to make it happen. Well, truth be told, I did make some revisions. I did make some improvements. I was one or maybe even two steps closer to becoming that perfect and beautiful classic tale that inspires awe in everyone who hears it. Then, as I have so many times before, I began to stare through the looking glass at the 37th edition of my life, and I read the passages again. Sure enough, it was still riddled with mistakes, imperfections, and shortcomings. I began to wonder how someone who is so inadequate, ill-equipped and down right messed up can even function proficiently as a human being. The more that I corrected, the clearer it became that I am devastatingly, impossibly, far from ever becoming that perfect composition. Perhaps I might be lucky enough to leave this world as a semi-amusing parody. The work that remains to be done in me is so extensive, that I feel like a seven year old editing a four-thousand page novel without the benefit of spellcheck. It’s just hopeless.
In my heart of hearts, however, I know that hopeless is only a word on a page. There is truly no room for that word in the folio of our lives no matter how far from the mark we may fall. Hopeless is a lie, and one that we must choose to ignore if we are to have any hope of striving on towards the improvement of our own personal stories. The truth is, if you think you’ve beautified yourself to the point of perfection, then you are probably even farther off your mark than some of the most messed up humans know themselves to be. Pride, just like love, can camouflage many shortcomings, but it camouflages it in oneself instead of to the benefit of another. So, knowing that the perfect person truly does not exist, I’ve decided to focus on one revision (or maybe two…) at a time. I just keep typing away. I keep revising, keep deleting, keep spell checking, keep fixing grammar, keep on, keep on, keeping on. I know I will never be perfect. I’m so far from anything worthy, that no matter how hard I try, I will never be good enough… not even close. Knowing those things, I could take this moment to have a good cry and decide that life is pointless and I am pointless and all of my dreams for the future are pointless, but I know the Editor and the Publisher of my story, and He doesn’t care that it is chock-full of mistakes.
He looks at me, and what I see as a dirty, stained, torn and wrinkled manuscript, becomes a gleaming white, whole one when my Editor takes the inkwell filled with the blood of the lamb and pours it out on my story. What will never even have a prayer of being anywhere near a perfect work in my own efforts becomes a flawless one when my Copyreader takes the nails from his hands and feet and carves out a perfectly written story with perfect grammar and perfect punctuation onto the wooden cross where my new story is being written. Then my tale is stamped with his blood unto those crisp white pages. Finally, what most certainly could never be good enough to be a must read or a classic tale becomes more than enough when my Publisher runs the manuscript of my life through the printer of his grace and binds the book with the ribbon of his mercy before setting it on the most beautiful bookshelf in his bookstore. He displays it where everyone who walks by will see it and hopefully find joy and encouragement in the story that the book of my life holds.
So I won’t cry about my many faults and offenses, and if you are a muddled, unkempt, frazzled mess like me, you shouldn’t cry either. Because although the revisions are important and we should never give up on striving to make our stories better, if you know Christ, then when people read your chronicle, they are going to be reading the beautifully written masterpiece that he was able to create out of your life. All you have to do is give him free rule, free reign and freedom to rework the pages of your story. When God finishes his version, you can be sure that no one will be able to set it down until they’ve absorbed every last word.