Wow, it’s a long time since I’ve blogged! Life’s been busy. God surprised me, and I started recording some more songs.
But God’s been encouraging me, and this is a great place to share. So can I share with you about one of those lessons?
Do you ever live drained by the weight of trying to do everything perfectly? Trying to keep up? Trying to hold it all together?
Me, I’m a perfectionist.
It’s a battle I fight constantly. And I decided it might be helpful to write it out. Maybe it could even help someone else.
It’s something I become aware of sometimes.
When Saturdays feel like chasing an impossible to-do list, trying to ‘catch up’.
When my list of jobs to do at my desk haunts me, because it’s too long and I immediately assume I’m going to fail, and carry the weight of the ‘to do’s with me all day.
I often catch myself living with a weight of ‘ought’ and ‘should’ and impossible expectations on these frail shoulders. Trying to over-achieve at everything, all of the time.
It wears you out!
And I’m beginning to realise it’s not what the Father means for me.
I think He means for life to be lighter than that.
Ok, yes, God is a righteous God and His standard is perfection. He is perfectly holy and His perfect judgement is coming (and that’s a very big problem if we stay as we are). That’s why we need a Saviour. He does want us to be perfect… and we’ve all messed up. Big time. That’s why Jesus came. He’s the solution to that problem, for anyone who receives Him.
I belong to Jesus Christ. My sins are forgiven (and yours can be, too, if you come to Him on His terms). I turned to Him for His forgiveness and received Christ’s righteousness instead of mine. I am a child of God, accepted by the Father. It’s not up to me and my performance.
And I don’t think He means me to live weighed down.
Well, of course God wants His forgiven children to live pure and holy lives, and to give our best in all we do. It’s great to serve with all your heart, giving your best for Him.
‘And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.’ Colossians 3:23-24
But I’m not sure that’s the same as perfectionism.
Actually, perfectionism probably has a lot to do with pride.
And here are a couple of thoughts that have helped me:
Jesus did it all for me already. He lived a perfect life in my place. He paid for every single failure of mine. My righteousness is based on Christ’s performance. It’s not up to me.
God knows my limitations. The Lord knows I am only human.
‘For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.’ Psalm 103:14
Yes, serve Him with all my heart, but that doesn’t mean He expects me to do it all.
Recently, I came across this verse, and it really helped:
‘For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.’ 2 Corinthians 8:12
It’s a verse about financial giving, and I’m probably taking it a bit out of context. But I think there’s a principle there.
If you have a willing mind, I think the Lord receives what you can do, instead of the impossible perfect you think you ought to, but actually can’t.
As a friend pointed out to me, what did Jesus say to the woman who anointed Jesus with her expensive oil?
‘She has done what she could.’ Mark 14:18a
He knows how many hours I have in one day.
He knows I need to sleep and eat and rest.
He knows I can’t do everything I’d like to do.
He knows, far more than I do, that the super-high standards that haunt me just aren’t possible this side of Heaven.
Does that apply to me and my work? My use of time?
The Lord sees my willing heart. He also sees my limitations of time and energy. He knows my willing heart and what I can do, and doesn’t expect me to do what I can’t.
Actually, He sees Christ’s performance in my place.
He looks at me through Jesus. 🙂
Sometimes I get burdened down at my desk, thinking about how impossible it is to get everything done. But what if, instead, I focus on getting done what I can? What if I look at it positively instead of negatively?
So I’m adopting a new motto. Do what you can.
Instead of thinking negatively, thinking positively.
I can’t do all of that, but I can do something. Let’s see what I can do in the time I have!
It could even be a game: trying to get done what I can in the time I have, instead of focusing on the impossible can’t.
How much can I achieve in this little window of five minutes?
What unrealistic expectations can I cross off my ‘to do’ list so I can be more realistic, and achieve something?
It’s so freeing. It really helps. We’re short-staffed in our office. We can only do so much. But focusing on what I can do instead of what I can’t is really helping me. And I’m even surprised by how much I can done!
And it can bring freedom, and joy.
Like with blogging. I don’t have time to write a perfect post, but maybe I can write a little something that can encourage someone.
I can’t keep my house perfect, but a little bit of housework makes a big difference.
I can’t help everyone, but maybe I can help someone.
I can give Jesus the little I can do, and ask Him to use it. 🙂
Lord, thank You that my acceptance with You is based on Jesus, not me. And thank You that I don’t have to live weighed down by impossible expectations. Thank You that You can use the little I can do. 🙂
(He offers His righteousness in your place, too, when you come to Him, turn from wrong, receive His forgiveness and surrender to follow Him as Lord of your life. It’s the way to have your slate wiped clean, and a perfect righteousness given to you freely by God, so that you can be truly, freely accepted by Him, and given rescue and hope forever).
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.