I have loved our garden this year; I am so appreciative of David’s hard work to research, prepare and plant it all. Together we have spent time weeding and walking through it. In fact, one of our favorite daily rituals is walking through the garden to survey its progress, growth and potential.
Tonight we harvested green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, spaghetti squash and butternut squash. I was rinsing it all and commented to David, “I love that this produce is not perfect!” It actually thrills my little heart that there are cracks, dirt, bumps, scars, a variety of colors and spots.
I contrasted the appearance of our freshly picked harvest with the produce we see at the store. At the store, everything is perfectly clean – polished and shiny, even. The colors are symmetrical and there is a vast absence of wrinkles, bumps and cracks. Actually, we expect this perfection every time we walk through the doors of a store. The colors, lines and polish bring us happiness and cause us to feel satisfied with our fruit and veggie treasure hunt.
But I realized tonight that the produce in the store is scrubbed and washed and covered in chemicals and pesticides and unnatural ingredients to make them appear perfect so we will buy them. It was not God’s design that we eat perfectly identical food like this…Rather, I’ve seen just by having our own garden that His design produces abundant variety in color, shape, size and outward appearances.
My thoughts wandered to the parallel with our Christian life. God has shown me so many truths about our walk with Him as I’ve spent time in our garden this year. Tonight I thought about our churches…and how similar they are to the pristine produce aisles at the local grocery. We put on makeup and masks, smiles and Scriptures, pretending to have life all together. We must fit in, look pretty, conform, hide ANY blemish, spot and wrinkle.
But this isn’t God’s design. We are broken. We come messy with imperfect lives as we are on this journey of holiness. None of us has it all together. And we aren’t supposed to! If we were perfect in our own strength, we would have no need for a Savior!
It bothers me that we feel so pressured to pretend and play games in the Church. Why can’t we be vulnerable and show a wrinkle or two (or three or four thousand) every once in a while with our trusted brothers and sisters? Why can’t we celebrate the fact that God has chosen us while we were still weak? Why can’t we openly share our transformation journey with each other? I want our church body to be a place where we can come in the door and not just smile and say “I’m fine” ~ but truly be free to be broken and imperfect as we live real life together.
The Church should be the safest place to be who we really are…Perfectly imperfect so that any fruit that comes from us points directly to our Designer.