(Photo by Selma Komisky)
Seeing the Beauty in An Imperfect Picture
By Sarah Komisky
When everything in a relationship seems as you hope it would be, you can paint a perfect picture. In rose hues things are always promising. But what happens when the picture you painted isn’t what it truly is? When it’s not what you wanted? When reality stares you in the face and your picture begins to drip and bleed in all directions, then what?
In the past, I’ve ended up in this painful place a few times.
Deception in relationships can occur this way, but it can also occur if we try to make the wrong fit the right fit. Either way, we can’t make it work because that person is not meant for us. And, coming to terms with this truth is the extremely difficult when we’ve given over our heart, believed the best, tried hard, cared deeply, stood beside, and invested in thinking they’ll change. The hurtful thing is when you come to realize they won’t.
Looking back, I can tell you about the guys in my life who were handsome, charming, made me laugh, and also increased my worth by their interest, words, and pursuit. Captivated by the good pieces of who they were, I ignored their control, their narcissism, their manipulation, their inability to appreciate or value me, and their neglect of my needs, opinions, and feelings.
In the past I’ve been guilty of making excuses, convincing myself it will be better, and believing I’ve had to conform to something I was not and attempt perfection in order to be “good enough.” Unfortunately, deception blinds you to maltreatment, your standards lower, and you lose yourself.
Charm can truly be deceitful because talk is cheap, just like a pop tart tastes sweet but leaves you empty. Words cannot be a band aid cure-all. Neither are apologies without true repentance.
Action speaks louder.
Oprah Winfrey said this on the subject, “…when you are mistreated the first time, when someone shows you lack of integrity or dishonesty the first time, know that this will be followed many, many other times, that will some point in life come back to haunt or hurt you. Live your life in truth. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not.”
Maya Angelou phrased it this way, “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.”
Sometimes, we don’t see the warning signs even if we are warned. What isn’t right suddenly becomes just how things are because we’re used to it. But we don’t have to be anymore.
Healing and health begin when we are willing to get honest with ourselves and with the person who is hurting us. It means saying no, expressing what is not ok, allowing God to cut heart strings, walking away, creating boundaries, and resolving to believe that you are worth more and don’t have to settle for less, even when they don’t want to let you go.
For me, the truth that has become my soul’s anchor is God’s Words to me. When I’ve lost my way, He was my compass bringing me back to Himself and the truth of who He says I am, what His dreams and plans are for me that exceed in beauty than any of my own, and the love that has surpassed anything I have ever known.
All of us will make mistakes. We are imperfect people, but we can also be forgiven people. When God forgives, we have authority to forgive ourselves and shake off the shame. Instead of engaging in the woulda, coulda, shoulda game, we can choose to let our past cooperate with the Holy Spirit in making us wiser, stronger, healthier, and a better person altogether as we learn from it.
If I could sit across a coffee table with my younger self, I’d also tell her that Jesus’ love conquers all.
Jesus told another woman in the Bible who was seeking love in all the wrong places, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water” (John 4:10).
If we only knew what Jesus had for us, we would see there is better. Jesus, Himself, is better. His love fills us so we are content, lacking nothing. He is our source for everything as The Giver of life and every good thing! When we place Him at the center of our lives, our lives are abundant. Only then can we be whole and trust God to lead us in the right direction and as we choose the right person to enjoy a healthy relationship with.
Grace also gives us an opportunity.
This Samaritan Woman made some bad choices when it came to men, but when she encountered Jesus, He impacted her so greatly that the Bible tells us she ran to her village telling everyone about Him causing many to believe in Him (John 4)! In turn, our past when placed in God’s hands can be turned into beauty as we can use our mistakes to actually warn someone else.
To everyone who has looked like the younger me, know you’ll get there. Give it time. Ultimately, faith believes and hopes for what’s to come and you are worthy of what is better.
When you’re ready, take a second look at that canvas. You might find that the drizzled painting wasn’t a tragic ending after all, it was actually a beautiful one.