I am not a preacher, or priest, or pastor. I am especially not a motivational speaker or life coach. I am, however, a Christian. I believe that Jesus Christ is our Lord and savior. I read the bible and study the words. I listen to sermons and ask questions that I don't have answers to. I am not an expert, and I don’t have all the answers. Never will. I am fine with that. I don’t want to understand everything. Not any time soon anyway.
I grew up fishing and, in the outdoors, so some things about faith are a little easier for me to understand than they might be for some other people.
Fishing is not a perfect pastime. We are never guaranteed to catch anything. We can do everything exactly the way we are supposed to and still not catch anything. A lot of what we do is an act of faith, whether they know it or not. Catching something might be a small miracle. Some days it seems that’s definitely the case.
So, faith in something I don’t have control of is second nature to me. The thing I have the most faith in is God, not my fishing skills.
He didn’t make me a perfect creation. I am imperfect.
Imperfect - not perfect; faulty or incomplete: In other words, flawed. That describes every single human being that is alive right now, and every single one that ever lived. All of us are imperfect creatures and we will always be imperfect. Anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional or lying.
It is simply impossible for us to be anything other than imperfect. We are so imperfect we cannot even grasp what it would be if we were perfect.
This is where our struggle begins, and it is where it will end. With us trying to be better than we have been. At least that’s what we are supposed to be doing. Becoming more, even though we know we will never be more than imperfect.
Now you see the struggle.
It is Cartesian Logic, circle logic if you don’t know.
We keep trying to be better, but we are flawed to our core. So, we try to be better. But we are flawed.
In our struggle to be better, we make mistakes. I make mistakes. I can't speak for anyone other than myself. I make them on a daily basis.
I get frustrated with other people. I make judgments. I do some things that a kingdom citizen should be better than.
I am still learning. I have a long way to go in my growth with God. I think we all do, since none of us are perfect, yet.
I get distracted by things other than what we should be focused on. People and the things they do that I cannot understand are a big distraction for me. But I am learning and growing.
We take wrong turns. We make bad decisions. We get lost. We will keep doing this all through our lives. If our path to Heaven was a paved road it might be a lot easier to follow. Unfortunately, it's not. We have to stop sometimes and check our map and get out the compass to make sure we are still on the path God has laid out for us. I am learning and growing.
That's another thing that makes it difficult for us. We all have a different path that God has us on. We are called for his needs not ours. Not everyone we meet is on a path to heaven either. Some people only want to knock us off the path. It's complicated and will always be a challenge.
We only fail when we stop trying.
This is probably the biggest mistake people ever make. They stop trying. They give in to a world that is, for the most part, working against them. They become defeated. The will is broken.
Then it happens, in some. They start climbing back up. They start over. They move on. They rebuild. They get better. They forgive and move past the trauma. They get back on the path.
You can’t seem to hold some people back. They just seem to overcome anything put in their way. They might have a scar or two, and some might lack some social graces, but hey they are still trying. Sometimes that’s all that matters. That we keep trying.
If it were just us and our plans this whole system of trying and failing would seem worthless. Unless you know something about the way things really are. That there is a world beneath the surface of the pond. There is more to this life than we can see, or touch, or smell, or taste, but we feel it.
Science can’t exactly quantify feelings. They can show the chemical responses to things, but feelings are unprovable. We have to accept them. They don’t always make sense either. Not all feelings are good ones though. Some people can manipulate the way we feel about them because they have been trained to be that way.
Is it right?
Of course not. But it's the imperfect world we live in.
So, how do any of us make it through life? Good question. I’m not qualified to give an answer for everybody. I am not qualified to give answers about everything. But I know one thing, a lot of good things come from our imperfections.
They happen more than people know; they have just been trained not to believe in them. For the record, winning the lottery is not a miracle that came true. If you look at what happens to most people that do win it, you wouldn’t be so willing to buy those tickets.
Miracle - a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency:
Miracles are the impossible things that happen all around us that are simply beyond anything we could be capable of.
Ask any parent about seeing the smile on their child's face for the first time and see what they say about miracles. Two imperfect people came together to create a tiny, imperfect person resembling them both. One that will learn and grow.
Puppies, yep, miracle.
Love, another miracle.
You know those people who selflessly put themselves in harm's way to protect others. Yep, miracles.
The thing about miracles is that if we were perfect, we wouldn't need miracles. They would be normal. In a perfect world most of the things that give our life meaning would not exist.
A perfect system.
It would be more like science than faith. I don’t like the idea of a world determined by formulas and calculations, sounds like terminator.
I like the imperfect world I live in. The world with miracles. I am learning and growing to be appreciative of it.
Our imperfection also makes it possible to have grace.
Simple elegance or refinement of movement is not the grace I am talking about. Ballerinas have that kind of grace, not me. It would be a world changing miracle if I could move like that. I don’t think God has a plan for me like that. I think it is amazing if you are one of those people, we all have a calling, I’m a writer.
The type of grace that we get from our imperfectness - the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.
There is one word in that definition that everybody should pay close attention to because it applies to every, single one of us.
Unmerited. WE don't deserve it. It is a gift given to us, if we accept it.
That’s where the whole cartesian logic starts making sense. Why do we try knowing we will only fall short of the mark?
Grace is obtained from trying, not succeeding. God wants us to be perfect, but he does not expect us to be.
We become more than we are capable of on our own. Does that make us perfect? Not at all. It just means we listened to what God said and tried our best to accomplish it. He’s the one who decides if we did it right or not, not other people.
All God wants is for us to choose him over anything else. He already knows we are going to make mistakes from time to time. He didn’t make us perfect; he gave us free will. We have to choose for ourselves.
Does choosing God mean all your hopes and prayers will come true and you will live in paradise everyday of your life. Not even close. Choosing God doesn’t make you perfect and it probably won't make your life amazingly wonderful all of the sudden. It just means you choose to believe that there is someone looking out for us, and that there are things happening around us that are wonderful, in spite of us. God has a plan, and it's a good one, even though it's hard to believe sometimes, it's still there.
So, before you discount God, look around and see if you can find one thing you can’t explain why it’s good or why it happened. Not a lottery, but something good. Then try and find out why it happened or if you really deserved it.
If you think you did, we have a lot more work to do on yourself examination skills. Luckily for us, God’s mercy and understanding has no limits. If it did, we would all be in more trouble than I care to think about.
After you do find something, try and remember in a perfect world, you wouldn’t have found that. If you were perfect, there would be no need for the things we can’t explain. Life without wonder and mystery, and good things for no apparent reason, no love, no family, just a perfect system and your perfect little place in it.
Which one sounds more like a world you want to live in. Perfect or Imperfect. I have made my choice; hope you make the right decision too. But only you can decide if you want a life full of miracles and grace, or just something else.
If you want an easy way to understand faith in something bigger than you, learn to fish. It’s the easiest way to get some of it to click in place. I’ll be glad to help, if you need it.
Point of fact, I can probably answer more questions about fishing than I can about being Christian and understanding God’s plans. I am, after all Imperfect.
Just like everyone else.