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Heart-shaped Perfectionism

As I walked along the beach, I kept my eyes open for heart-shaped stones. I was looking for a perfect one. Well actually, I was waiting for God to give me a perfect one. It’s our thing.

I had spoken the weekend before about the prodigal daughter. How that prodigal is the Beloved. Even after giving that message, which was not my message for those women but God’s, I wanted a sign. For myself. Silly, isn’t it?  But still….Hence the search for a perfect heart on the beach.


There were a lot of imperfect heart stones, there in the sand. Not a single perfect one. On the last day I found an almost perfect one. Although the rounded tops looked more like cat ears. Even as I write this, it sounds pathetic. Why would I spend a week looking for heart shaped stones? Why would I even expect to find one?



I was looking for His approval. I wanted some validation. That’s why I looked.

The pat response is He’s already given it. I don’t need a sign. I don’t need to look. I know that. But sometimes you just need a sign. Or a heart shaped stone.

On the last day, I walked the beach. Seeing many odd shaped kinda heart shaped stones. I asked God why He couldn’t give me this. A perfect heart shaped stone. This time I listened for His response.

The words were in my head. “Just because it’s not perfect doesn’t mean it’s not a heart. Doesn’t mean I don’t love you.”

After I had thought about it for a bit….

“Still putting me in a box. A perfect shaped heart box. If you want to take me out of the box, take me out of the box.

So I’ve thought about this off and on. Perfectionism is a box too. How can this be? Isn’t God perfect? Yes He is. I am not disputing that. But our world’s view of perfect, I am beginning to understand, is much different than God’s. I’m not even sure I can explain it except that “Just because it’s not perfect doesn’t mean it’s not a heart.”

There was a beach of scattered stones with heart-like shapes. Wasn’t that in fact, God telling me over and over that He loved me? That He was proud? Why was I looking for perfect? As I saw the imperfect stones, I was still reminded of love. It was still a heart.


Expecting God to work in ways we think of as perfect is putting him in an impossibly small box. I need to take him out of that box of Him-doing-things-as-I-think-He-should. Perfect in the world’s view. He doesn’t really work that way. Just ask anyone who has a child not considered “perfect” or “normal” by the world’s standard. Ask anyone who has lost a loved one or a dream. Ask anyone who is sick. Ask anyone who is struggling with anything. These are the people, the things, the circumstances that God uses many times, to refine us. To teach us. To bless us. To love us.

It doesn’t mean it’s not hard. It usually is an incredibly difficult path. But it’s on these gut-wrenching, soul-searching journeys that we learn about God. We learn that we can trust Him. That He loves us more than we can comprehend. That He works in wonderfully, sometimes weird ways.  Ways we don’t always understand.  He uses an odd assortment of people, circumstances and things to bring about his plan to further His Kingdom through us. We have to let go of our visions and definitions of perfect.  Because His are so much more magnificent.

“Just because it’s not perfect doesn’t mean it’s not a heart. It doesn’t mean I don’t love you. If you want to take me out of the box, then take me out of the box!”
But celebrate this: God selected the world’s foolish to bring shame upon those who think they are wise; likewise, He selected the world’s weak to bring disgrace upon those who think they are strong. 1 Corinthians 1:27 The Voice