Trading Perfection For Beauty


By Anne Marie Schlueter

 Perfect isn’t beautiful.

And I’m not talking the perfection of Jesus, which has stolen my heart and left me breathless in wonder. That’sthe place that we find perfection-- the secret space for Him, for me, where I go and rest and am filled.

That’s where my desire for perfection belongs, all aimed towards the Builder, who holds the most perfect plans.

But when perfect is sought after in other places...when the reality of perfection is the standard set for humanity, for relationships it can mean that we’re looking for what is put together, clean, no loose ends, completely figured out.

That is a distortion of perfection. And we’ll never find perfection here.

Perfect isn’t beautiful.

Two hearts.

We’re two hearts, with two stories, two lives, unsure of what to share and when to share and how to share. How to be, how to know. How to see and be seen. Only knowing that they want to adhere to the plans of the Builder. That doesn’t feel like it’s always a lot to go off of.

There’s no formula for a perfect relationship. There’s no formula for how to perfectly love, for how to perfectly pace, for how to perfectly communicate. There might be good advice, and truth speaking from friends, and prudent discernment, but at the end of the day, there are no certainties, there are no safety nets.

There’s just the cross, where Love hung and bled and died. And He’s telling us to fall into Him, though we might not know where we’ll end up. How could we, with such imperfect hearts?

Not choosing this space because of perceived perfection, but because I’ve found myself in the Father’s heart next to you. It’s so simple and there is so much joy.

Permission to be undone as we fall into the arms of the King. Permission to submit to the process, to the journey, in all of its messiness.

The first time you declared “perfect isn’t beautiful,” I felt like I could breathe. Because it’s scary when you see the beauty of a heart, the beauty of a life and you feel so inadequate in approaching it. It’s scary when you don’t know how to let someone else in and how to merely throw yourself into the wave, as C.S. Lewis writes about. There’s a lot of imperfection between you and I.

I mean, come on. Sometimes I kick open doors obnoxiously and try to use cool high school lingo and spin out of control when I dance, but you’re still here. I’m still here.

Because He’s still here.

I’m wholeheartedly interested in beauty which revives the world. The messy kind that’s the process, that’s the journey. The paint that’s been splattered on the canvas that was never meant to be there, the paper towel that has ten colors wiped across it. 

Whatever He’s building here, I believe that its beauty has a transformative power beyond what we know.

And so, we choose to stand in the imperfection, because He has made a way for us to claim the ability to do hard things.

I have seen so many women running hard things, because they don’t know the strength of their own hearts. I have seen women who have given up on falling in love, because they view it as a matter of inconvenience, because it gets in the way of ministry, of friendships, of school, of life. Except, maybe, there’s more to that reasoning...maybe it’s a result of being afraid to be seen, to be pushed, to be committed (and thus stuck), and to grow.

But the choice to grow in this space has my wild heart basking in a freedom that it’s never known before.

So yes, there is risk when there is not perfection. There’s a weight to the entangling of hearts when you don’t know what happens next. There’s fear in being seen, when you know that you’re messy. And there’s a constant, “what if I’m too much and this is it?” but there’s a heroic choice to stand in the tension of the unknown, in the pursuit of greatness, and just be.

Through it all, the Builder is building. He’s guiding, He’s directing. He’s giving the opportunity to give up the pressure of being in control, of having to know. 

He merely asks for us to move, and says that He’ll fill in the gaps. He merely asks us to jump, and says that He’ll provide the wind for us to fly. He merely asks us to love Him with all we are, to give Him our hearts, and says that He’ll take the burden of perfection, that only results in endless striving. 

My goal is not perfection. My goal is surrender, my goal is to glorify the King, to allow my heart to be a part of whatever the Builder is building.

I choose to breathe, I choose beauty, and I choose it with you.