For those of you who don’t know, my family recently renovated and moved into a 90-year old house in Atlanta.
It’s age means it has charm, like antique glass doorknobs and aged barnwood in the basement. But it also means it has unexpected problems, like poor insulation, a flooding basement, no locks on doors, and electrical issues.
Every time we show someone our house, we say, “It’s got character.”
We’d take the flaws in a heartbeat because despite how we may wrestle with them, they produce stories we laugh over, nooks we could never replace, and a surrender of perfectionism.
Another phrase we humans throw around often is that someone has “good character.”
When we say this, of course, we don’t mean that it has a flooding basement and charm.
We mean that a person is morally upright. They make the wise decisions. Their reputation is one of integrity.
I think at some point in time, we all want to be known as someone with great character.
But what if the definition changed some?
What if, when we said someone had character, we acknowledged their strengths and their flaws, their beauty and their poor insulation?
I don’t want to be known as perfect – that hurts me and those around me by placing an unrealistic expectation on myself and others.
When someone says I have character, I want them to mean that I am as open with my flaws as I am with my strengths.
One of our neighbors only paints and maintains the side of their house that people see.
Like that house, the sides of me with cracks are as real as my strengths but I don’t intend on hiding them.
I have embraced my imperfections and weaknesses because I know that they can refine me and give way for me to grow.
I want people to say, “That girl has got character.”
That girl has plenty of cracks, she’s endured some heavy rains, but her imperfections are what make her beautiful.
She’s chosen to embrace those weaknesses and bend her ear to hear what they have to say to her.
She takes the good and the bad, the mistakes and the victories and allows them to mold her into the person God desires her to be.
She’s a house with an open door, allowing people to peer in to see the renovations being done in her.