I struggle with a feeling of unworthiness. This feeling is especially crippling when I’m doing things for the Lord. I want to cover up my imperfections, but God won’t let me. I wish I could pretend that I were strong, but I can’t. How can I — flawed as I am — do anything right for the kingdom of God? My mistakes are guaranteed. My stumbling is certain. How can I move forward knowing I am not good enough?
I called my spiritual mentor and asked her if I could come by for a visit. We are both busy, but, somehow, God arranged two precious hours for us to sit together at the foot of Jesus’ throne. No time existed during those two hours. We were just two souls in the presence of the Spirit of the Holy One. We drew our open hands up to God, grasped pieces of His goodness and exchanged them with each other.
My friend handed me a mug of coffee, and I didn’t notice the mug’s appearance. I only noticed its feel, and it felt comfortable and perfect. As we chatted, I sipped from the mug, never once looking down at it. She began telling me where she found the mug. She was at a store looking at all the beautiful handmade mugs. While she looked at the perfectly shaped vessels, she saw one that should have been thrown away.
This mug was made too thin and the body of it had collapsed. The maker stretched the body back up, but the damage was already done. The mug was warped with wrinkles and folds, yet the maker still put the mug into the kiln. He added a handle and glazed it and presented it in his store. How could the maker offer an imperfect mug in his store? Why did he place value on something so flawed?
My friend looked at the mug then looked and me and said, “It’s an imperfect vessel and it’s beautiful.”
I held the mug protectively in my hands. It might be flawed, but it could still be used. For the first time, I looked at the mug, and I could honestly say that I’ve never seen a more beautiful vessel in my life. In that moment, I placed a great amount value on the mug. That imperfect vessel reminded me of myself.
God holds me tightly in His hands, and He places an expensive price tag on my life. I’ve been weak and I’ve crumbled, but He stretched me back up, glazed me with His Spirit and purified me in the fires. Yes, I am flawed . . . but I am no longer frail. I may have wrinkles and folds, but God thinks I am beautiful. He has fastened me with His handle, and He is ready to use me.
God show me how to be confident in my imperfections!
“Do you feel like a lowly worm, Jacob? Don’t be afraid. Feel like a fragile insect, Israel? I’ll help you. I, God, want to reassure you. The God who buys you back, The Holy of Israel. I’m transforming you from worm to harrow [a tool used for soil], from insect to iron. As a sharp-toothed harrow you’ll smooth out the mountains, turn those tough old hills into loamy soil. You’ll open the rough ground to the weather, to the blasts of sun and wind and rain. But you’ll be confident and exuberant, expansive in The Holy of Israel!”
– (Isaiah 41:14 MSG)
Every fiber in my soul knows that I am nothing in the light of God. If you were to place my spirit next to the Spirit of the Lord, I would completely disappear. It would be like placing a tea candle next to the sun. The more I grow in Christ, the more I comprehend my inconsequentialness without Him.
The story of the immoral woman washing Jesus’ feet always bothered me. Jesus forgave the woman of her many sins and He said,
“I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love” (Luke 7: 47 NLT).
What I don’t think people realize is that we are all immoral. I don’t care how the world categorizes and ranks our sins, but compared to the perfection of the Holy God, we are all liars, prostitues, thieves and murderes. We all have need for great amounts of forgiveness. The only difference between the immoral woman and us is that she comprehended the truth — she is nothing without Him.
The world might label us as a sinner or a saint, but it doesn’t matter. We are all sinful without the redemption of the cross. We are all that immoral woman at Jesus’ feet. The distinction between people who are forgiven much is not their appearance of “many sins”; it is their full understanding and awareness of their “many sins.” We all have an outstanding dept of sin that we cannot pay.
All my value and all my self-worth can only come from God. I might be a tea light, but I got the power of the sun around me. I have no significance without my Creator. It’s time I let go of finding my own value and start allowing God to place His value on me. I am an imperfect vessel, and God thinks I’m worthy to be used.
God, please help us to shed ourselves of self-confidence, self-worth & self-control and to clothe ourselves with God-confidence, God-worth & God-control. Only then will we truly be beautiful vessles!
Dedicated to my spiritual mentor and special friend, Cheryl Grundy.