Monday brought a sense of relief with it. I’ve always been a fan of Mondays – something about the fresh start to a new week appeals to me. Maybe that makes me a Monday Nerd, but this particular Monday was extra welcome as I hoped it signaled the end of a week of mess-ups. A long list of things I hadn’t done right paraded across my consciousness. Things, like forgetting to check on a sick friend, attitudes I wasn’t proud of, less time spent in prayer than I needed, and showing up at the wrong location for a meeting one evening, and other assorted mess-ups made me want to wash my hands of the previous week and move on.
The only problem was, I was taking myself with me.
My prayer time reflected my unhappiness with myself for not “getting it right” as my frustration spilled over.
“Lord”, I prayed, “I’ve known you for so long, and I still get irritated, battle pride, see selfishness in my heart, and do things for the wrong motives. I’ve never been good enough, and I never will be!”
THE BAD NEWS
I was right. I’m not good enough to live up to the standard of a holy, perfect God. I’m not a perfect wife, parent, daughter, friend, or sister.
But instead of feeling depressed by that raw admission, I felt the grace and joy of God come flooding into my heart as I uttered those words.
I felt as if He was singing and laughing over me – “Yes! You finally got it! You can’t do it, but I achieved perfection for you!”
THE GOOD NEWS
The good news is, the bad news IS the good news.
No, I will never be good enough on my own to measure up to perfection, or even to my own standards.
But I don’t have to be.
Neither do you.
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
At our worst, we are loved and accepted.
I don’t have to try to be perfect to be accepted.
I can just breathe and give myself grace.
It doesn’t mean I should be content with the sin I see in my heart.
It does mean I can know that I am loved in spite of it, and allow that love to motivate me to respond wholeheartedly to God in every aspect of my living.
As a dear friend of our family said last night on the soccer field, our one job in life is to love the Lord with everything we’ve got – heart, soul, mind, strength.
What Matters Most
Our one job isn’t to daily beat ourselves up for our failures. Too bad, since so many of us excel at this.
Our one job is to see the One Who would rather die than live without us and to love Him well.
We live out that love in obedience, in caring about what (who) He cares about, and hating the things He hates.
But it’s love, not law.
If you too have been struggling with living up to an impossible standard of perfection, may I invite you, dear friend, to change your standard?The rule of law suffocates. The love of Jesus brings life. Click To Tweet
Fix your gaze on the One who perfectly fulfilled the law on your behalf, and breathe in His grace and freedom today.
Like Christian kneeling at the foot of the cross in Pilgrim’s Progress to find the burden rolling off his back, we too will be freed from the burden of perfectionism when we bow to Jesus and acknowledge that we need Him to live through us. I can’t live a life pleasing to God on my own, and neither can you.
I don’t know about you, but I needed that reminder this week so that I could shift my focus and receive His grace for effective living.
Would you let me pray for you?
“Gracious Father, thank you for loving us just as we are. Thank you for the Great Exchange that took place at the Cross – our condemning sin for your spotless righteousness, our cavernous lack for Your all-sufficiency, our desperate bondage for Your life-giving freedom. We admit today that we can’t do it on our own. We need You, living through us, loving through us, serving through us. Today, would you help us to take eyes off the standard of the law and to instead see Jesus? Transform us by Your love and grace. Empower us to love you with all that we are – heart, soul, mind, and strength. May those in our lives be drawn to You by the grace we exude. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.”
If this post resonates with you, would you consider leaving a brief comment to encourage others on the same journey?
With faith, hope, and love,
PS – you might also enjoy this article by James Dwyer in Relevant magazine about perfectionism and how it affects us.