Karen Long started a Sunday School class at Wilmington United Methodist Church in January this year. The class is designed to help members of our church to discover and tell their faith story. We used NPR's This I Believe essay format to inspire our faith stories. This is the first of many web-publications from the class.
I Believe in Embracing My Imperfections - by Karen Long
I believe that God sees the hope and possibility in me and in everyone. God created each one of us to fulfill a unique and special purpose in our lives. God desires a relationship with each one of us that will guide us to know our true authentic selves.
God wants us to be more closely connected to him and to one another.
God does not dwell on my sins and imperfections. But often, I do. Sometimes, instead of focusing on the promises of God, I find that I beat myself up for even minor shortcomings and live in the shame of my imperfections.
I look back and know that there were times in my life when I was blind to God’s word and purpose for my life. There were times when I doubted the truth of Jesus being the risen Christ. There were times when I judged others for their own doubts and questions about who God is. There have been many times when I worried and talked about my troubles instead of praying about them. There were even times in my life when I convinced myself that I was not good enough and that I never would be good enough at anything, that I’m too fat, not smart enough, not pretty enough, not pure enough…that I’m just not good enough. Looking back, I can see too many times when I had nearly given up on me and lived my life in my own way, ignoring the patient God who remained at my side the whole time.
But more recently, I am working on turning my focus toward scripture and focusing my mind on accepting myself and discovering gratitude and joy in my life. I am working to claim the person that God created me to be. I am more confident in my knowledge that God gives generously to all without finding fault in them. I am reminded in scripture that I must ask and believe and not doubt God’s generosity. In Romans, I read the truth that God will renew my mind through the power of his Holy Spirit, if only I will focus on his promise and claim it. Each day, I give my body and my life as a living sacrifice to God. This is my daily act of worship. I know now that through intentional focused prayer and reading scripture and other inspired teachings, God can and will transform my negative perspective of myself into a life of hope and possibility. And it is through worship with my church family on Sunday mornings and relationships with other believers that help me to stay focused on the hope and promise of Christ throughout each day.
I seek more than just moments of living in the light and living in the hope and possibility and gratitude. I seek a life lived authentically. I seek a life under the leadership of the Holy Spirit living in me, strengthening me, rooting for me, and leading me to service to others. God helps me see my imperfections, accept them and love myself.
I believe that God wants each of us to see the hope and possibility of within ourselves and one another and embrace our imperfect lives.