I Love the Imperfection

Last week, I went into an antique store to browse old furniture. The man who worked there showed me a handmade fireplace mantel. He pointed to the scratches in the wood, and the uneven design along the front. Then he caressed a round, black stain on top of the mantel where a wet glass or candle had stood.

“I love the imperfection of it,” he said.

“What did you say?” 

“I love the imperfection,” he repeated, “because that’s what makes antique furniture unique and have character.”

Unique is not a word I’d use to describe the queen-sized bed frame I recently bought. It was manufactured in China, came in a cardboard carton, assembled by yours truly, and seemingly without defect … unlike the reflection of imperfection that stared back at me from a hazy, antique mirror.

I combed my hair with my fingers and left the store asking myself, do I love the imperfection in myself or others?

Absolutely not! I’ve been programmed from birth to look my best, be my best, and do my best.

Imperfection, the flawed condition of humanity, hides behind good intentions and exasperation. “I’m sorry, but I’m doing the best I can!”

But my very best falls short of the commandment to “Be perfect just as my Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

Why would a holy, perfect God love me; the poster child of imperfection?

I try to wrap my mind around His love and grace, but imperfect emotions distort my vision. I return to His Word where truth resides:

And put my faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ: “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”(2 Corinthians 5:21)

Earthly perfection is impossible this side of heaven. But like the Apostle Paul, I can be “confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in us will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 1:6)

IF I rest in that knowledge, I can stop striving to be perfect, and instead, “fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith….so that we will not grow weary and lose heart.”(Hebrews 12: 2,3)

Since my visit to the antique shop, I have enjoyed the warmth of a crackling fire on a winter’s day. The polished wooden mantelpiece is smooth to my touch; it is not old or unique. But the words of a stranger, “I love the imperfection,” stirs my heart because it shows me how God “whose way is perfect” used even this to bring Himself praise.

Author: Karen Foster

I'd like to say I've changed, but after decades of living, I still have the same four passions. My relationship with Jesus, spending time with family, attending live theater, and writing devotions & first-person stories about a loving, faithful God who reveals Himself in our every day circumstances.

8 thoughts on “I Love the Imperfection”

  1. I love the way God used an old mantle full of nicks and scratches to point toward what we tell ourselves–about perfection or about imperfection. Great reminders, Karen, of God’s truth and where He invites us to keep our focus!


    1. Thanks Jan for taking the time to share your thoughts.I love the way God uses our circumstances, often the most random ones, to show us more of Himself. Blessings on you for the way your encourage women to use their voice!!


  2. Reblogged this on Even In This and commented:

    I wrote this over four years ago, but the topic of imperfection came up recently, and my friend’s words brought me to tears and reminded me of this earlier post. She said, “We listen to lots of lies from our enemy, but those lies wouldn’t carry water if there weren’t a semblance of truth in them. It is that smidgeon of truth that makes the lie powerful. And all the positive words can’t remove the truth of the lie. We are imperfect. Here is what does knock the enemy senseless. A perfect God uses our imperfections for his glory. God chose us, called us, saved us, and uses us. Our imperfections won’t be removed until glory. In the mean time, when the devil throws his darts, we deflect them to Jesus. Nothing about my imperfection defers what Jesus is doing through me. It is His work, His process, His perfection. When I focus on that truth, the lies have no power.” Amen, sister!
    And by the way, the man who said “I love the imperfection” has since passed away. I wish I’d shown him this post.


  3. Morning Karen
    I love the line you wrote: I return to His Word where truth resides:
    I return and return and return to the Truth
    We are so blessed by God’s Love even in our inperfections
    God Bless


  4. You have done it again! I woke up feeling all my weakness, & imperfection. Wishing I had “the list” of polished qualities I lack. I’m thankful He loves me with the way I am.


    1. I’m glad I wrote this…it was a preview of coming attractions for me too! I don’t know where I left my brain today, but I had to make two back to back trips to the grocery store and the post office. However, I’m often reminded that other people are too busy looking at their own imperfections to notice ours….:)


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