It doesn’t mean ugly. I love a girl with a gap between her teeth, verses perfectly white veneers.
Perfection is just…boring." (Marc Jacobs)
Each and every day, the intake staff at Evilena’s Red Dresser look at dozens of assorted items in order to determine if the item is something that could likely be sold in our store. Their experience and trained eyes can quickly recognize if an item is in like-new condition, and if it is in-season, and in demand at this present time. Each piece is assessed to ensure that zippers zip, buttons hold tightly, hooks and clasps hold securely, and that there are minimal to no signs of “wear and tear”, with no flaws, no chips, no damage, no stains, no odors. After thoroughly looking over each item, the pieces that hold potential for resale are tagged, priced, and placed online and out on the sales floor. Often, there are items that could not be accepted, and for various reasons, find themselves either in the donation bin to go to Morningstar Mission, or given back to the consignor.
When a consignor brings in their items, they usually have high hopes! They know that Evilena’s has a reputation for being a busy shop, where items generally sell quickly for a reasonable price that benefits both the seller and the buyer. It’s a fun thing to drop off a bunch of items, then check a few days later in your convenient online consignor account and see the “cha-ching” as items are sold, and see money there in their consignor account waiting to be cashed out or used as store credit!
But what about those items that could not be accepted for consignment? Those are the items that perhaps had a bit too much wear and tear on them, or a scuff or a chip…the items that fall under the category of…REJECTED. Ugh…even the word itself creates cringe-worthy connotations. No one likes to be rejected, or have their items rejected! This is one of the toughest aspects of the consignment business. We love our customers, and it can be hard at times to have to say no to certain items. The reasons for turning away items are varied, and depend on season, current inventory, sales trends, and condition. Our acceptance of items is conditional.
But do you know what is NOT conditional?
God’s acceptance of us.
When we come to God with our arms full of our “items”...there is no rejection. He reaches out with welcoming hands and says, “Here, let me take that for you.” All of it. When we hand Him our broken dreams, our crushed hopes, our flawed habits, our weaknesses, our fears and insecurities, our sins, our pride, our past, our worries, and anything else that makes us feel inadequate, He takes them and uses them for good. God does not cherry-pick our lives and say “This I can use, but this and this and this is useless to me”. Jesus is the ultimate Upcycler! His power in the life of a believer is transforming and miraculous. God wastes nothing. Anything and everything in our lives can be used by God, when it is handed to Him in humility and trust.
God places such a high value on the soul of a person - He will never reject you based on your flaws, what season of life you are in, your condition, or your amount of personal “wear and tear.”
Ephesians 6:1 says that we are “accepted in the beloved.” This means that because of Jesus, we can be fully accepted by God. It is the act of believing in Jesus and in His death and resurrection to fully cover our sins, our flaws, our weaknesses, that makes us “accepted in the beloved” by God.
At Evilena’s Red Dresser, we enjoy taking a piece of furniture that might be outdated or scratched or flawed in some way, and we can paint it and make it look beautiful (and we sure do enjoy doing that!) but God is the only One who has the power to take what is broken in the life of a person and turn it into something beautiful that can be used for that person’s good and for God’s glory.
Thankfully, God never rejects us when we feel “past our prime.” It is easy to focus on what we used to be/do, and to be keenly aware of our current weaknesses. But God KNOWS this about us - He knows that we are weak and imperfect. He never expects us to be in “perfect” condition. He continually encourages us to come to Him with our flaws, our imperfections, and to understand that when we are at our weakest, that is whenHe is at His strongest!
We all have weaknesses. But did you know that God uses our weaknesses to accomplish His will? In fact, it is through our weaknesses that God’s strength is made perfect (2 Corinthians 12:9). What if our weaknesses were actually our biggest strength? What if, rather than seeing ourselves as imperfect and broken, we saw our weaknesses as something that could be used by God to do great things for His eternal kingdom?
The Bible is full of examples of people who made mistakes but were still used by God for a greater purpose. Take David, for example. He was an adulterer, murderer, and liar—not exactly the kind of person you would expect God to use in His plans! But despite his flaws and failings, he was chosen by God and went on to become king of Israel, and was inspired to write some of the most beautiful psalms that comfort us today. The same can be said for Paul—formerly known as Saul—who persecuted Christians until he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus and became one of the most influential figures in early Christianity. Moses killed an Egyptian man in a fit of rage, yet he still led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt (Exodus 2). Rahab was a prostitute living in Jericho before she became one of Jesus’ ancestors (Matthew 1). Both Moses and Rahab prove that even your darkest mistakes don’t have to define you — they can be used by God if you let him work through you. The Bible is full of stories about people whose lives were far from perfect. In fact, many of the characters in the Bible are downright flawed and sinful. Yet, despite their imperfections, God still chose them for a purpose and used them in powerful ways.
It’s easy to feel like we have to be perfect in order to be accepted by God. The lesson here is that no matter how flawed or imperfect we are, God can still use us for His purposes. This means that when we accept and admit our imperfections, it allows us to grow closer to God—to see how very much we need Him! It also teaches us humility; if we rely too much on our own strength or intelligence then it becomes difficult to recognize the power of faith in our lives. If we seek to find strength in ourselves instead of in God, we will find ourselves tossed about on the raging sea of emotions, fear, worry, jealousy, and insecurity. In reality, would we ever want to get to the place where we were so full of ourselves that we felt that we didn’t need God? Our weaknesses remind us how very much we DO need Him! This does not mean that we don’t strive to improve ourselves - we can work on developing a closer walk with God, better relationships with the people around us, and being good stewards of all that God has given to us. But the difference lies in our motives - when we know we are loved unconditionally by God, our motivation launches from love and gratitude for God, not from fear of His rejection. We long to live with Christ as our example, to shine as a reflection of His light in this dark world - rather than in an attempt to impress God or to earn His favor by our good behavior. God’s unconditional love is one of the most comforting truths to plant deep in your heart, and then let it grow outward toward others as you walk through life day by day!
When we hand our weaknesses and flaws over to God, He can use them for something far beyond what we could ever imagine. Striving to be “good enough” for God is something that is impossible to achieve. Our own good deeds will never be perfect enough to make us acceptable to God. God is perfect - we are not. It is only through Jesus Christ that we become acceptable to God. The entire acceptance/rejection process of life hinges on one thing - JESUS. Who is He to you? What place does He hold in your life and in your faith journey? God accepts us - flaws and all - because of Jesus. He is our advocate before the Father. He goes before us and makes it possible for us to have a relationship with God.
We are all imperfect people living in an imperfect world but this does not mean we cannot be used by God! In fact, it is through our weaknesses that we can see His strength perfecting itself in us. As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…For when I am weak then I am strong." When we surrender our lives to Him completely – broken pieces included – He can use us for amazing things! Trust Him - He has great plans for your life! God has a grand vision for all that you can be when you surrender your life to His will. Our flaws, weaknesses, the good, the bad, the ugly - He welcomes all of it and He knows exactly how to turn it all into something beautiful!