“Pretty Pretty please, don’t you ever ever feel, less than perfect…”

Driving home after dropping my daughter at nursery the above song came on my local radio station: Perfect by P!ink.

If you don’t know it, it’s a gutsy song about how we believe the bad things we think about ourselves, and what other people may say about us. It’s a call to empowerment for us all, with the following lyrics.

Pretty pretty please, don’t you ever ever feel like you’re less than,

Less than perfect.

Pretty pretty please, if you ever ever feel like you’re nothing,

You are perfect to me.

Powerful stuff, yes. Admittedly, I loved this song when it came out. And, honestly, I love most of P!nk’s material. I find that she doesn’t write about meaningless things, and much of what she has recorded spoke to me in my early 20s. However, I was listening to the song on the radio and I couldn’t help but feel the message was perhaps not the message needed to be heard by people.

You see, despite it currently being popular for daytime tv shows to tell us we are all fine as we are, we are (as a society) experiencing greater levels of depression and anxiety than before. In fact, it was recently reported that, in just 1 generation, depression during pregnancy has soared by 50%. It is staggering! And, in self help sections of book shops, there are more books to help us love ourselves and embrace our identities than you could read in a year. It has become cool to practise self-love: be kind to yourself. Accept who you are. You are perfect.

The problem I have with this is that is just isn’t true. We are not perfect. We all think, say or do things which are unkind, even if it isn’t often. We all decide to not to the thing that we should do. Keep quiet when someone is being made to feel uncomfortable; walk by the homeless man and pretend we don’t see him; join in with gossip about colleagues or friends, when we should really be keeping our nose out of their business.

We are not perfect people. I think it verges on dangerous to believe that we are fine just the way we are; we don’t need to make apologies for who we are and how we act. If you don’t love me the way I am, then I’ll find someone who does. (That’s not to say that anyone deserves to be mistreated, nor that we should stay in harmful situations because no-one’s perfect. No. That’s baloney. If you think you might be in a relationship that isn’t healthy, go here or here. Speak to someone, anyone.)

We are not perfect. God created us perfect, sure. But when Adam and Eve chose to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, sin entered this world. Sin is all the bad stuff that is unkind or hurtful to other people and the world around us. We are born inherently capable of doing bad things to ourselves, to others and to this beautiful world we live in. To pretend that we are fine is to ignore all the selfish behaviour, the desire for convenience and the greed that is present across our societies.

I believe that if God were to write P!nk’s song, it would go a little differently.

Pretty pretty please, don’t you ever ever feel like you’re worthless.

You’re not worthless.

Pretty pretty please, if you ever ever feel like you’re nothing,

You are worth it to me.

Even in all of our imperfection, God says we are not worthless, we are not nothing. God says that even with all of our selfishness, lazy, greedy, envious ways, we are worth it. We are so worth it that he sent his son to die a humiliating death, killing all of our behaviour with him, and then brought him back to life.

When we acknowledge our imperfections, turn to God and apologise, he forgives us. And in Jesus’ death and resurrection, he gives us a promise of a new life after death. A new life, where we will truly be perfect.

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