Fairy tales. I'm not going to claim anything about my male readers (although I have my suspicions...), but if you're a girl, at least a small part of you loves them. Admit it. Beautiful dresses, handsome princes, and an assured happy ending. What could be better?
Fairy godmother comes, waves her wand, and Cinderella is perfect. Her hair is perfect. Her skin is perfect. Her weight is perfect. Her shoes are perfect. Her dress is perfect. Her dancing and singing are perfect. Everything about her is perfect. And then the prince sees her, and he can't help but fall for her. After all, she's perfect.
Every little girl dreams about the moment when someone will see her as perfect -not a single thing to be improved. It becomes one of our highest goals, even if we're not conscious of it.
When we're very little girls, we truly believe that we're beautiful, perfect princesses, because our parents tell us so. We run around with our hair in messy pigtails, jam on our faces, in our mother's high heels, all the while believing that we're the most beautiful, gracious, elegant creatures to grace the earth. But then...things happen. Mistakes are made. Even just little things. And we realize...we aren't at all like those Disney princesses. That is, we're not perfect. And that means there must be something terribly wrong with us, because perfection is what we see (or think we see) around us. Why can't we measure up? We're not pretty enough. We're not smart in the ways that everyone else says we should be smart. We weigh to much -or too little. Not enough makeup -or too much. And we also discover that the men around us are often not even a little like the prince in Cinderella. They don't cherish us as he cherished her. And it must be our fault, because we're not perfect.
And so we girls strive, every moment of every day, to be what our society calls 'perfect'. We wear the right clothes, and listen to the right music, and try, and try, and try...
And never make it.
This is the devastating fact in many lives. And it was the truth in mine for many years -thirteen, to be exact. It ruined me. But then... I met Someone who really is Perfect. Not the 'perfect' that I had always believed to be perfect; nowhere near that. I mean really Perfect. This was the Prince that I'd been waiting for, ever since four-year-old Haley sat on the couch in her sparkly pink princess dress, watching wide-eyed as Disney's Cinderella played on our old TV. And this Perfect One...He truly did cherish me. He truly did want me. All of me. All of my time, all of my love, all of my life.
And do you know, even after I saw what True Perfection looks like, I still didn't think that He could love me. Why? because I still wasn't good enough. And guess what? That is, and always will be, true. I can never, ever, ever be good enough to deserve the Love that only Perfection can deserve.
So I collapse in a heap beside my Perfect Prince, and sob into trembling hands, "I see Your perfection. I see how good You are, and how right, and holy, and lovely, and pure. Your perfection isn't only an outer sort of perfect, but also an inner one. You're perfect through and through. But I am none of those things. I am poor, and weak, and ugly, and soiled. Perfection can't love me. I try and try and try, to be perfect enough to be loved by You, because I see You, and I want You...but I just cannot do it. It's hard."
The Prince sits silently beside me for a moment. Then, His voice gentle, He says, "Yes, it is hard. I know exactly how hard. And yes, you are right, that Perfection cannot love imperfection in the way that you seek to be loved. But, beloved, there is a way."
I raise my tear-filled eyes to His soft, gentle ones. "A way?"
His smile breaks my heart, because it is a smile filled with such pain. "A way for you to be perfect."
I cling to his hand. "Oh, my Lord, tell me. I'll do anything you ask, anything."
"That's just it, beloved.... you must do nothing. Here, let me show you." And then He places one scarred hand over my eyes. I had always wondered about those scars...I knew the story of how He'd gotten them, but what did they really mean?
Suddenly, I saw a hill. A terrible place, with clouds as black as evil, and cruel, hate-filled voices clamoring. There was hate and misery everywhere, choking me. And upon a cross, lifted up above the rest, was the target of all the hate and malice that the world could muster. My Prince, my Beloved, with nails through His hands and feet, and skin hanging off in strips.
A drop of red blood falls to the ground, and brilliant white light flashes, and then I am back, sitting beside my Prince -Jesus is His name. He places a finger under my chin and raises my head to look Him in the eye. "Now do you see, beloved? You are perfect, because I am perfect for you. You are beautiful, because I am beautiful for you. And I love you."
Each of us is born knowing that perfection is what we should be able to achieve. Did you know that the definition of 'righteous' is "man as he ought to be"? And each of us knows that we are not 'as we ought to be'. We're not righteous, we're not perfect. So, in a futile effort to bridge this chasm of depravity, we think that making other people think we're perfect is the same as being perfect. Let me tell you, it isn't. It's not even close. So you see, my friends... there is something terribly wrong, terribly imperfect about us. It's true. And nothing we can do, or wear, or say, or think, can change that. But there is One who is perfect for us. He is exactly as He ought to be. He is beautiful, and strong, and steadfast, and pure, and lively, and humble, and...perfect. And He invites us to be partakers of His perfection, of His completion, of His love. I have made my choice. What will you choose to see?