Don’t be invisible

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9


If I can’t do it well (whatever it is), I’d rather you not watch.

But if I wait until I get it perfect, you may never see it at all.

When Barbara Brown Taylor was stepping into a more public preaching role in her church, she recalled this advice below. I say let’s take it for ourselves in our everyday lives.

As my beloved rector had told me in seminary, being ordained is not about serving God perfectly but about serving God visibly, allowing other people to learn whatever they can from watching you rise and fall.


“You probably won’t be much worse than other people,” he said, ”and you certainly won’t be any better, but you will have to let people look at you. You will have to let them see you as you are.”
   – Barbara Brown Taylor,
Leaving Church

That’s not to say let’s be hypocrites and do our works just to be seen by men (Matthew 6:1-2).

But let’s also not keep God our private little secret, hidden away until we can unveil him with the perfect ta-da ! moment.

Be a light for other people in your humanity to point them to God in his divinity (Matthew 5:14-16).

Be imperfect. Take the insult. Rest in your weakness. 

Sometimes the bravest thing you can do—the strongest, the most loving—is just be who you are.

Honor your Creator.
Be visible.
Be you.

Let him be God.

For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:10

* * *

Is it hard for you to let go of perfectionism? In what areas have you succeeded?

29 thoughts on “Don’t be invisible

  1. Linda @Creekside

    mmm … what have we missed along the way … people, opportunities. joys, highs … because we were waiting to somehow be invited or perfect or sinless or completely pulled together … loved this, Lisa. and I’m so glad you’ve come into my life in the last month or so!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      As I share my own imperfections here, I’m amazed that God lets people ever return to hear more. So thanks for your encouragement, Linda. I’m glad you’ve come into my life too. 🙂

  2. Kate @ Teaching What is Good

    2 things: as if we can ever get to the place of perfection, and as if our meager efforts impress God! What DOES delight His heart is our journey of faith and trust along the way.

    Thanks for sharing this great post! Coming over from Hear it on Sunday link-up.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Those two things are point-on, Kate. God *wants* us to depend on Him; how much better could that get? He knows we’re imperfect and gave us Jesus because of it.

  3. Ceil

    Hi Lisa! You are certainly not ‘God’s little secret’ as you blog about the importance of living a life that reflects his generosity. You are helping all of us along 🙂

    Yes, I do battle perfectionism, but I know it’s there, so that is a good step. God is perfect, I am not. I have to keep telling myself that!

    Thank you for visiting my blog today! I hope you will come again, and we can get to know each other!

    Happy Monday 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      They say seeing our problem is the first step to overcoming it, so at least there’s that. 🙂 I think God knows we couldn’t stand to see all of our weak spots at once, so he reveals things to us as we’re ready to accept his grace to cover and overcome them. Thanks for stopping by, Ceil.

  4. Beth

    I’ve never heard the role of a minister explained this way and I like it, Lisa. I guess, I should amend that statement, I like it in theory! ha! As a pastor’s wife I struggle to let my life and my marriage be on display, since it is often “messy.” But God keeps urging me forward or sometimes even pushing me forward when I resist Him! ha! Thanks for this encouraging post, my friend!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I like it better in theory, too, Beth. In practice is where it gets harder. 🙂 Being vulnerable and exposed doesn’t come naturally to us. But you do an excellent job of that with your blog and I know many are helped as a result!

  5. floyd

    Agreed. Nothing more of a turn off to see someone being fake, especially when they claim to be the representative of our Father. Relating to others in our weaknesses and honesty is where God begins His spiritual awakening. Amen, great post.

  6. Mia

    Dear Lisa
    This is my favorite post of yours so far! Oh, it is just the way we humans are! We always want to put the best foot forward or nothing at all. But how can we be encouragers when whe are not honest about who we are and what we have gone through; the good and the bad. I have found that suffering in my life has healed me of so much hypocrisy for I know that apart from Jesus, I don’t have much together in any case. So why pretend?
    Blessings XX

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Suffering definitely plays a key role in learning how to be genuine. If we’re not real, how can others know when we need help, and how will we be able to help others? You’re so right, Mia: why pretend?

  7. beverley

    As you already know i teach every Sunday, but if i were to wait for my own perfect Ta-Da moment we would all be waiting a long time, but where i lack God picks up the slack, thankfully.

  8. laura

    What good advice Brown Taylor’s rector gave her. Yes, this is helpful. I often tell my sons that it’s easy to be gracious when things are going our way but it’s how we act when things take an unexpected turn that can glorify God if we allow it. I really need to read this book.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Especially being female and in the position you are in, I know you would relate to much of what she says in this book, Laura. I found it delightfully rich!

      You give your sons wise counsel. It’s when times are tough that our true colors show through about who we’re trusting in–ourselves or God?

  9. Angie in Guernsey

    This was very timely, Lisa. I’m usually quick to spot perfectionism in others and am blind to it in myself, but your post has shown me an area in which I have a BIG problem with trying (and failing!) to be perfect.

    As for areas in which I’ve succeeded against perfectionism… well, I would have said being houseproud, but I’ve just spent a quite a bit of time spring cleaning. I would have said I didn’t have too much of a problem, but Jesus is showing me all kinds of areas in which, when I lose control of a situation I find myself demanding perfection…so quite a work in progress. “The heart is deceitful above all things’ – Jeremiah 17:9

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I can be a perfectionist in my home too. 🙁 Some friends stopped in the other day and commented on how clean it was and I immediately started noting the things I had NOT done. Must get over that. I don’t want to be either too proud when I’ve done a “good job” or feel bad when I think I haven’t.

      So yes, I’m quite a work in progress too, in multiple areas. We’re blessed to have a Lord who goes at just the right pace in working with us. 🙂

  10. Jean Wise

    I’ve read some of her books but not this one. Good advice. I know I am very accomplishment oriented. I want to be successful so don’t look until I am complete. I am learning that God calls me to be faithful not successful though. hard lesson to learn but I am slowly getting the idea!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I also love your phrasing here, Jean: “God calls me to be faithful not successful.” I’ve known for years that I’m too much into efficiency and checking off my to-do list every day. I’ve found a little more balance but I’m not there yet. Thanks for this heartcheck again.

  11. Caroline

    Awesome, Lisa. I really need this kick sometimes, since I’m like this, too: “But if I wait until I get it perfect, you may never see it at all.”

    This is huge: “Sometimes the bravest thing you can do—the strongest, the most loving—is just be who you are.” Thanks, friend.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *