One evening, a quiet, pig-tailed girl picked up a book and began to read the story of a boy who made no mistakes. When he ate cookies, not a crumb fell on his lap. All the other children made messes and got in trouble, but not this boy. He was perfect. He score 100% on tests, knew all the answers to the teacher’s questions and obeyed all the rules and directions.
Guess what the little girl discover when she turned the page. The boy was no boy, but a robot boy! No wonder he was perfect. He wasn’t human. And what was the moral of the story? That we humans are all imperfect. That a little girl can’t eat cookies without crumbs, earn perfect scores on all the tests and win every race. That all boys and girls are human, and loved, and good enough just the way they are, faults included.
But she was little, perhaps too little to understand the story. So instead, she compared herself to the robot boy, and decided to try to be as close to perfect as possible, to not look at the girls and boys around her, but at the ideal, at perfection. And so as she grew older, she fell down this deep dark hole of sadness and self condemnation because she could never be as close to perfect as she longed to be.
For many, many years this little girl lived a life of comparison to the incomparable. And her life grew harder and harder. Until one day she read a different book.
This book said she was created “very good”:
“So God creates mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. And God saw all he had made, and it was very good.”
-Genesis 1:27&31 NIV
and that she was “wonderfully made:”
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Psalm 139: 13-14 NIV
and that she was loved:
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
1 John 4:10 NIV
The more the girl read this new book, the Bible, the more she came to understand how loved she was in her imperfection, how beautiful a flawed human is to her Creator.
If I have to be honest, I was that little girl. I am that girl. I have to relearn the real lessons from both books daily. The tendency to compare myself against perfection is strong. And I’ve learned that nothing will rob you of your joy quicker than that comparison. But God created me. He created each of us. And he says we are VERY GOOD!