Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross”
Lord, protect me from myself.
Protect me from my vanity, my pride, my selfish ambition.
Create in me a clean heart, full of grace and mercy; compassion and steadfastness.
I need Your patience, for time is not on my side.
I am impetuous and selfish; vain and insecure; arrogant and judgmental.
Forgive my idolatrous heart.
Let me surrender my will, and make Your will known to me.
Thank you for Your mercy– daily, hourly; Your grace is what keeps me from the pit.
Guard my heart; place a holy fortress around me to protect, guide, and challenge.
Thank you for Your character: deep, gracious, kind, patient, every-lasting,
omnipotent, all-knowing, wise, faithful, loving.
Pour Yourself into my cup; seal the cracks of this broken vessel.
Shine Your light into every dark corner of my heart.
I surrender, I submit.
I release my false authority and self-righteousness to You.
Turn this heart of rubble into a masterpiece; mold me to Your likeness and design.
Proclaim Your majesty through my limbs, my soul, my mind.
I recently enjoyed dinner (breakfast at night…the best!) with a friend at her college campus apartment. The kitchen was cramped—as all proper dorms are—but full of the lives of the women who share meals from its meager resources. I was honored to be a part of that particular night’s festivities: crêpes with eggs, jam, parmigiano-reggiano, and my famous sweet potato fries (burnt to perfection).
While my friend was preparing to make the crêpes, she was discouraged by the lumps in the batter. Lumps are the crêpe’s nemesis! “Never mind that,” I said, trying to be as helpful and easy-going as possible. Lumps are lumps, the crêpes will still taste good.
As she was pouring the batter into the pan, swirling the runny dough around and around the sides to make a perfectly thin disc, we were chatting about life. I was semi-distracted by my three pans worth of sweet potatoes that were beginning to smell rather potent through the rear vent of the oven. She went to slide the first crêpe off the pan and onto the plate and—crumple.
“Oh bother. I guess that will be the tester. There always has to be one ugly tester.” The large, round crêpe had broken into three smaller pieces, angular and un-crêpe like in form. I reached for a piece and took a bite. It was delicious.
“Small perfections” I volunteered, smiling at her as she attempted another swirly creation. Then I thought about that phrase a bit more. “Yeah. Think about it: maybe we make things larger and more complicated than they need to be. Maybe life is more about the small perfections.”
I’ve been thinking about that a lot in the past week since that night of eating crêpes on the floor around a small, book-cluttered coffee table with friends. We always have grand plans for ourselves, for our children, for our world. But what if God requires us to simply take hold of the “small” things: a walk with a dear friend, a long cup of coffee, a letter, a particular song that moves us, a smile from a stranger. What if we stopped focusing so much on the drive to make huge strides through this life, and focused instead on having a fully present, fully appreciative, fully humble attitude? Did not God create us in His own image? To be bearers of Himself and His story?
We are His small perfections.
There was no “tester” crêpe (human) when God created Man. There were no lumps in the batter, no extraneous oil seeping through, no broken pieces left on the plate. Every fiber of our bodies was intended to be used for a purpose. Unfortunately, sin has tainted our hopes of ever being truly perfect in this life.
But I believe He can use us in our imperfection.
I want to challenge you to find something in your life that you are grateful for—a small perfection—that helps make life worth living. Then, take that small thing and share its warmth and radiance with someone else. See how it makes you feel, how it makes them feel. Keep searching for those small perfections, asking the Lord for wisdom and healing and wholeness. I imagine that something will begin stirring in you, something that will bring positive, live-giving change to your inner life.
Listen for the Lord: He is waiting, always waiting, in the quiet corners of our hearts, to speak to us in hushed tones if we just stop to listen. Only He can help us become the redeemed “small perfections” that He originally intended us to be.