Freedom from Perfection
Author’s Note: Today is a first. Today, I’ve got a guest writer – My wonderful wife Barb. Thanks for writing Barb!
The house was clean, the kids were playing quietly, I had a beautiful table set and dinner smelled delicious. We were just waiting for the guest to arrive. The doorbell rang, and as the door was opened, I heard, “Oh my goodness!! What happened here?!?” Our guest was gingerly trying to step over a massacred rabbit our cat had left on the doormat. How’s that for the perfect welcome?
The struggle is real – wanting everything to be perfect; our homes, our children, ourselves. But we aren’t. And the constant striving for perfection is exhausting and steals our joy. We set impossible standards and then beat ourselves up for not measuring up.
Author Suzanne Eller hits the nail on the head when she says, “Instead of ‘Do I measure up?’ the real question is “What measure of Jesus do I need today?’” She goes on to say, “When we first meet Jesus, we have no idea how that relationship will change us. That comes as we practice intimacy. We work through frustration. We learn to be truthful with him. We spend time with him. If we believe that we have to be perfect or be like someone else, we rule out authentic relationship.”
Don’t let the quest for perfection keep you from authentic relationships; with Jesus, with family or friends, and even with people you just know in passing. People relate to messy and broken. You will have more of an impact in the lives of others if you are honest and transparent about your struggles. Perfection isolates us, and when we are isolated, the enemy can influence us. II Corinthians 12:9 says, 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
God does not expect perfection from us. Romans 3:23 says, For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. All includes me and it includes you. But if you’ve placed your trust in him; then his power is made perfect in you. You can stop trying to measure up, you can stop trying to be the perfect wife, the perfect employee, or to have the perfect house, or the perfect kids.
Eller sums it up this way: “When we believe that God knows who we are becoming, we exchange condemnation for connection. The more we learn about him, the greater we see his hand at work in us. Instead of striving to live for Jesus, you live with him. When we stop trying to measure up, it breaks manmade barricades between ourselves and God. We open the door to life-changing conversation rather than beat ourselves up. Our words are kinder not only to ourselves but to others.”
Focus on spending time getting to know Jesus. Spend time reading his word, join a Bible study, ask friends to pray with and for you. You will be amazed at how God will use your broken and messy self if you let Him do the work!