So… people say I’m OCD.
And by “people,” I mean literally everyone in my life. Apparently all my family and friends went to medical school and became psychiatrists without my knowing. Just to be clear: I have never been clinically diagnosed by a REAL professional – just pseudo-diagnosed by people who simply don’t appreciate symmetry and the life-altering invention of the RULER.
Speaking of rulers, I have to mention that I went to Hobby Lobby yesterday and found the most amazing ruler! It’s marked down to 3/16” and it’s clear and it’s perfect! And I shamelessly bragged about it to my mom while holding it tightly to my chest. SHAMELESSLY. Judge all you want, but my lines are P-E-R-F-E-C-T.
Anyways, back to how I’ve been labeled an OCD freakazoid. I love doing crafts and painting! Lately, I’ve been working on a bunch of small TOP SECRET projects for my sister (who I hope doesn’t read this until after I see her today). It’s been wonderful making little “masterpieces” for her! That is, until last night…
First let me explain my project so that you can understand the disaster that ensued afterwards. It’s basically a canvas with scrapbook paper glued down to it. And on top of the scrapbook paper goes removable vinyl letters. And on top of the letters goes a thick coat of paint. And on top of the thick coat of paint goes a stenciled picture in a different color of paint.
That’s how it was SUPPOSED to work out.
But then the scrapbook paper didn’t stick well. So I poured glue all over the top of it (as well as underneath it) to try to get the edges to stay down. I finally got my letters on P-E-R-F-E-C-T-L-Y thanks to my handy dandy, super cool, super fancy ruler! I weighed that scrapbook paper down even more with a thick coat of paint and I started painting away with my stencil. The problem arose when I peeled everything off. The letters came first, revealing the pretty scrapbook paper design underneath. Honestly, they came out P-E-R-F-E-C-T-L-Y. Then came the disaster that was the stencil. When I removed the stencil, it was just a big glob of paint that did NOT look like the advertised picture. So what could I do? I had to salvage the letters! They came out so well! But the blob of paint in that one area ruined the whole thing.
Needless to say, I was frustrated. And angry at the manufacturer of the stencil! STENCILS ARE SUPPOSED TO KEEP PEOPLE LIKE ME FROM MESSING UP AND FALLING APART. They’re supposed to give me straight lines, perfectly rounded curves, and a crisp, clear, beautiful picture to take credit for in the end. But not this one. This one gave me imperfection. And it resulted in bitterness, anger, frustration, and insecurity.
That’s kind of how it is for us too, isn’t it? When we look at our lives, what do we see? It’s usually not what we expect. It’s often not what we WANT to see. Perhaps we colored outside the lines there… maybe we cut a little too much off here and not enough over there… maybe we didn’t think this whole thing through well enough. When we look at our lives, it’s likely we’ll see a trail of “CREATIVITY GONE WRONG” and sections “BEYOND REPAIR” and only fit for the junk yard. But thankfully, that’s not what God sees.
When our Heavenly Father looks at us, His creations, His little masterpieces, He doesn’t see “BEYOND REPAIR.” In fact, He sees quite the opposite. He sees “ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT.” He sees “RENEWABLE.” He sees “PRICELESS ANTIQUE.” He sees “JUST NEEDS A FRESH COAT OF PAINT.”
He walks into the very junk yard we’ve thrown ourselves into and puts His renovation skills to use. He rolls up His sleeves and starts to brush away the filth. Then He assesses the damage and does whatever is needed to restore us back to Himself. He sands away the rough spots with times of struggle and growth. He rips away the things we don’t need, leaving our edges exposed and vulnerable. He pours His strength into us so that we have the courage to embrace that vulnerability. He breaks down unnecessary walls so that His Spirit has room to live. He covers us with a coat of His righteousness. He embellishes us with sweet little moments of grace and joy.
He restores us. He makes us beautiful.
He takes our UGLY and makes it LOVELY.
He takes our jagged lines, our unsymmetrical curves, our blob of a life and makes it P-E-R-F-E-C-T.
As OCD as I may be, I will never be able to attain perfection on my own because I am a sinful, broken, mess of a person who is inherently imperfect at the core. But thankfully, I can rely on my handy dandy RULER who will always keep me perfectly in line – even to the 3/16”! He is the RULER of all! And in Him all things are held together (Colossians 1:17)!
In the art of life, we can’t rely on man-made stencils to ensure a perfect life ahead. When we try to make our own paths straight, when we try to do what is best in our limited knowledge and understanding, what we get is a big, fat, goopy mess. And the only way to clean up that mess is to tear it up, take a deep breath, and hand the paintbrush to God. His freehand is far better, far more beautiful than any stencil we use!
I eventually stopped being an OCD freakazoid last night. I took the raised edges of the scrapbook paper and started ripping away until all that was left were my perfect letters. And then something strange happened… I started mixing paints together and just went crazy with my paintbrush. My paint strokes were in all different directions, all different lengths, all different shapes. It added some much needed texture to my project and made me more open to “organized chaos” (baby steps, y’all. Nobody goes from 0 to 60 like that… right?).
Friends, let go of the idea that YOU can make a pretty picture out of your life. No matter how OCD you are, no matter how skilled or talented you are, you can never be P-E-R-F-E-C-T. Our past is our past. But none of us are beyond repair. None of us are beyond restoration. Own your past, embrace the exposed edges of your life! Give God the paintbrush, slide over the paint palette, and let Him do His work. You’ll be amazed with the variety of ways He uses you for His glory! You’ll be amazed by the masterpiece He’s able to create – even with your messy, broken, junk-yard-worthy life. And by the way, in case you feel inclined to take credit for the masterpiece that is your life, DON’T. That’s all God.
Let Him create you.
Let Him use you.
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. | Ezekiel 36:26
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. | Proverbs 3:6
to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified. | Isaiah 61:3
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. | Isaiah 30:21
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. | Matthew 10:29-31