Now, when I pick out a pumpkin, I like a perfectly round, slightly squatty pumpkin. Not the tall ones, not the ones with interesting shapes. My pumpkin needs to be perfect in every way. Kind of like this:
And the stem on that one is even a little too big for my liking. And I like it just a bit taller. See how picky I am? I want a perfectly-shaped pumpkin without a blemish! Surprisingly (or not, considering you read my blog), I'm not a perfectionist in most areas of my life. But in the area of pumpkins, I have very strict guidelines.
My darling son, however, is the patron saint of ugly pumpkins. He wants a little one—never a big one—and he gravitates toward the lopsided pumpkins with hardly any stem. He went to a farm stand with his grandparents the other day, and they let him pick out a little white gourd. Even that thing was pockmarked and lopsided. It's four inches across! How could it be lopsided? But it was. So, when we went to the pumpkin patch last year, this is the pumpkin my son chose:
I tried to talk him out of it. I brought him pumpkins that had a better shape, that had a longer stem, that were just prettier. No matter what I did, I couldn't talk him out of this lopsided little pumpkin. He loved it. I'm pretty sure he asked if it could sleep in his bed with him. And when we carved it, he wanted it to frown:
Can you imagine? His sad little pumpkin was even sadder by the time we were done with it. All the time I spent trying to pick out a perfect pumpkin (isn't my pumpkin just so perfectly round?), and he settled for that pathetic little thing? Clearly, he needs better instruction on how to pick out a pumpkin!
Or does he?
My son's penchant for ugly gourds has made me think about why I'm so set on having a "perfect" pumpkin. All I'm going to do is change it, anyway! Why do I want it to be perfectly round? Why does it matter so much to me?
And then it made me think about God. He wants the ugly pumpkins, too. He wants people with blemishes and imperfections. He wants to love them and transform them. My son was not embarrassed of his pumpkin like I was. He wasn't upset that his pumpkin wasn't perfect. My darling son loves his ugly little pumpkins the way God loves his imperfect people: wholly and unabashedly.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 8:37-39
We are so embarrassed by the imperfections in our lives. Why? Nobody's perfect; that's why we need God. He expects improvement, but perfection only comes with Christ. The transforming power of grace is enough to overcome our blemishes. We just need to let God pick us up and love us. Whatever changes need to be made, he'll make them, but know that he loves you regardless.
Maybe this year I'll follow in the footsteps of my loving son and choose an imperfect pumpkin. Maybe. I can at least opt for a tall, skinny one. Baby steps, right?
Do you have a hard time embracing imperfections—or letting God embrace yours?