My daughter recently turned 11; she has really been through a lot in the 11 years she has been on this earth.
She was part of a “perfect” happily married family for the first 8 years of her life; she had 4 dogs, a bird and a swimming pool, she had her own living room and ample space to be a child in safety… she saw most of our belongings being sold and loving pets been given away; she packed the bit of belongings she had left, she had farewells, said her good byes and left her “home” to go and live in Saudi Arabia with her parents. A week after their arrival in Saudi Arabia everything fell apart right in front of her, she returned to South Africa with her mother 4 weeks later, leaving her father behind. I don’t know what she has seen and experienced in the coming few months. While her father was still stuck in Saudi Arabia, she had another “Pappa” (Pappa 2), not knowing if she will ever see her Pappa 1 again, not knowing if he would be able to return from Saudi. I can honestly not say I knew where they were and who they were with. I don’t know what she has seen or heard. There was a period of 4 weeks I couldn’t get hold of them; phone calls were not answered, messages were delivered, read and not replied on. Where was she? Who was she with? Did she choose to move on with her mother? I returned to South Africa 4 months later; she was shocked the first time she saw me, she was distant, not really interested in me or my time. It became better as time went on.
From a happy family to a broken family in a blink of an eye. We were divorced exactly a year since the nonsense started, since the devil tightened his grip on our family. I fought hard, really hard, on all grounds… She deserved better… my daughter definitely didn’t want things to turn out the way it did, and in such a small space of time.
All of this had an effect on her; and I don’t accept and refuse to hear “It is life, she needs to deal with it”, “I’ve been through it and came out okay, so she will be okay. She doesn’t have a choice.”
I pray daily for her… She really has a Jesus heart; loving; caring; gentle; understanding… so very special; however, she is really hard on herself.
I always do homework with her on the days I have her; and this week she lost it.
We did math’s; she is really good with numbers and have a clear understanding of it. The calculation we did was a bit difficult, but I know she has solved more difficult equations before, she just struggled with it on this day. She got frustrated with herself and started throwing her pencil and pen around… “I can’t do it, why don’t I understand it?” I tried calming her down and asked her to be more patient with herself, to take her time, just slowly read what the question was again. The more I tried calming her down the more she got frustrated, it actually just made it worst. She started crying; through the tears she said something that hit me hard… “It must be perfect… I am not accepted because I am not perfected. I don’t have friends because I am not perfect.” Gulp… what is going on in that mind? What is she thinking? Why does she feel rejected? How does she deal with emotions? How does she distinguish emotions?
I didn’t know how to respond; how do I bounce back on this? We both became silent; she finished the maths homework in silence, packed her bag and went to sit on the couch. I let her be for a while as I silently prayed… having these words replaying in my mind… “I am not accepted because I am not perfected.”
As I was thinking about this, I was reminded of something I read in a blog a while ago. “Being pure does not mean perfect.”
I went and sat down next to her and asked her to look me in the eyes… “Danielle, you don’t need to be perfect to be accepted. In actual fact you are accepted by Jesus just how you are, you are perfect the way He made you, there is only one Danielle Ferreira and no one can ever try to be you, and you should never try and be anyone else but yourself.” She replied… “But Pappa, I want to be like you, I want to impress you.” My eyes watered up… “Danielle, I love you the way you are, you don’t have to try and impress me; nothing you do or say, or don’t do and don’t say will ever change my mind, I love you just as you are. You are pure and clean with only good intentions in your heart, and that is more beautiful than perfection.” She replied with a grin “Dankie (Thank you) Pappa.”
“Not accepted, because not perfected…” Man oh man, how many of us are sitting with this thought? And do we actually know that we are sitting with this?
Take a few minutes and define the word PERFECT. Don’t cheat, don’t Google it… What is your definition of it, to be perfect?
Now that you defined it, if you could… What is the measure? How do you measure it? I mean if you strive for it there should be a goal, with a goal there should be standard to uphold to achieve it, this will need to be measured to track your progress.
So, is being perfect not being pure? And is pure not being perfect?
The meaning of PERFECT in the Oxford dictionary is; without faults or weaknesses, completely correct; exact and accurate, it is faultless.
Another Dictionary states “To satisfy all requirements, corresponding to an ideal standard.”
References in the Old Testament (in Hebrew) with the word PERFECT makes mention of “Without blemish”, “without spot”; WOW… that sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
The New Testament; Colossians 1:28 talks about spreading the true Gospel, and by doing that it will present every man PERFECT in Christ. The word perfect, in Greek, in this context means “wanting nothing necessary to completeness”, MATURE in integrity with virtue.
1 John 4:18 talks about PERFECT love; “He that fear is not made perfect by love.” This meaning is “To carry through completely, to accomplish, finish, bring to an end, to bring to fulfillment.”
Hebrew 12:2 talks about Jesus being the Author and finisher (PERFECTER) of our faith; this makes perfection a person, “one who has in his own person raised faith to its perfection and so set before us the highest example of faith.”
And finally, without spot or blemish,… in Ephesians 5:25-28; Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, That He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such things [that she might be holy and faultless].
In the Oxford dictionary it is defined as “not mixed with anything else; with nothing added, in its most natural form; clean, without harmful substances; morally good, without evil thoughts; it also refers to completeness.”
The Old Testament have reference in Hebrew as clean & clear, some reference makes mention of a goldsmith’s work being to refine, to purge away blemishes.
The New Testament refers in Greek also to clean & clear; innocent & modest; to be tested and found as genuine.
So, not entirely the same… what stood out for me in PERFECT is Hebrews 12, Perfection being a person, Jesus, He raised faith to perfection and setting us an example of such; then in Ephesians 5:25-28, Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice, surrendering His all to present us without spot or blemish, in glorious splendor, so that we can be holy and faultless.
In Genesis 1, God created man in His likeness, He looked at His creation “And everything is perfect.” We were perfect in the beginning of our time, but corrupted by sin. Jesus came, fulfilled the law and made everything perfect again. He became the ultimate sacrifice, and removed whatever the enemy had against us since the day in The Garden. He is our Perfector and made us whole, complete, perfect.
Perfection is an illusion we create in our minds, a distraction influenced by point of view, man’s point of view… It’s an ideal we want, to a standard that cannot be defined, nor measured. You will not be tested on perfection; the day of Judgment will not be a scroll of your imperfections vs your perfected actions or a life lived in perfection. We live a life wasted chasing to be the “Perfect”…
From God’s point of view; You are already perfect; He has never and will never create defects. The perfection gets corrupted by… not being PURE; it distorts the intention of the heart and purpose of life, which is to glorify His name, and how can you do that if you strive to be perfect? Do you doubt the perfection in His creative abilities?
On the other hand, being Pure is something we should be pursue. In Matthew 5:8 Jesus tells us; ‘ Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.’ This word Pure means to be purified by fire; a vine cleansed by pruning to produce new fruit; free from corrupt desires; sincere genuine; unstained. This will bring us into the presence of the Almighty God.
What is really so beautiful for me in this is that it is not a perfect heart, but a heart that stands surrendered and ready to be tested;
a heart that stands in the fire to be tested and have anything impure to be consumed in the presence of the Almighty God just to be in the presence of the Almighty God;
a heart that is standing arms wide open to be pruned off of any dead vines to produce new vines and fruit;
a heart that climbs onto the blacksmith’s block to be refined and purged;
a heart that knows how important it is to behave in its most natural intended form, God like;
a heart that desires to not be filled with any harmful “substances”, nor be influenced by human opinion, but desires God’s love and affection;
a heart that does not seek heaven as a place, but longs to be in the presence of the King occupying the space.
The intentions of such a heart is to be holy, as God is Holy… and on this you can, and will be tested… The pureness of your character will be tested.
How do you respond in circumstances designed to test you?
What you say, and how you say it in circumstances created to provoke you to react instead of responding.
How do you respond to situations demanding you to forgive instead of seeking revenge?
What do you do with thoughts trying to invade God’s space in your mind?
I can’t remember where I read it, but recently I read something that spoke about our actions and God’s response. Nothing we do, no works can ever repay what He has done for us… He doesn’t love us because of what we do or what we say, He loves us because of who HE is; He is love.
A pure heart pursues the King, this heart will find himself in the presence of the King, the King that occupies the Kingdom, as much on earth, as it is in heaven…
Pursue it, NO matter what it takes!!!
‘I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.’
1 Peter 1:6-7