"We are all handmade people created by a God who is not safe or small." Rend Collective Experiment

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Matthew 11:30~

 An aquaintance approached me a few weeks ago to speak about adoption.  She and her husband had brought home a sweet little 2 year old from China.  They had been home for a month and she was tired.  As we talked I shared with her how exhausting the first months home were with our toddlers.  I shared how they were like mobile newborns ..into everything yet completely unaware of danger. I recalled that they were sweet times, but oh so busy.   I felt like my house constanly looked like Toys R Us had thrown up in it and I don't even remember putting food on the table, but I must have because nobody starved. 

As we talked I could see her relax and tears welled up as she had found someone who understood that while a new addition is a happy time it can also sap you of your physical and emotional reserves.  She told me that she was so happy she had come to me and that she had been  hesitant to because I always appeared so calm and put together.   Oh, did that ever make me sad.  I am anything but calm and put together.  I am not perfect and I do not have a perfect family.  I make so many mistakes each day. each, minute, each hour.  I love my children to pieces and I think they are all wonderful, yet they are not perfect either.  We all have our moments...some days we have many, many moments ;o)

There is a song that was played wuite a bit on Chrisitan radio quite a bit this past summer.  The refrain says,

"got a couple dents in my fender
got a couple rips in my jeans
try to put the pieces together
but perfection is my enemy"

I have found that perfection is my enemy but more than that I believe that perfection is from the enemy.

There is a lot of pressure from the world to be perfect.  Sadly, the expectation for perfection is also very prevalent in Christian circles. 

This goal.. this desire.. this push for perfection robs everyone of of joy, peace, and purpose.

1. Perfectionism says our value is what we do and how well we do it. Perfectionism says we are accepted or rejected by the merits of our works.  It says that when we are perfect God loves us and when we fail He loves us no more..

HOWEVER


 God says in Romans 8: 38-39- "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,]neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

He loves us because He sees us through the righteousness of Christ. His love is unfailing and never changing.  He wants us to let go of our human expectations so He can use us for His Glory.  He wants to use us.  He has a plan for each one of us and He is not waiting for us to have our "act together ".  He is ready to begin and He will use us faults and all.  He loves us to the uttermost and is advocating and praying for us.

2. Perfectionism takes our eyes off of Jesus.  When we are striving for perfection suddenly our measuring stick becomes people's approval or disapproval.  This makes us fearful .  We also begin to measure ourselves against other people.  It paralyzes us.  We don't want to reach out to others who we perceive may have nicer homes, more well behaved children,  better cleaning organizational skills.  We know that God is calling us to minister in this area and we will start just as soon as we have our lives in perfect order..

HOWEVER

God says in Colossians 3:23-

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,"    When we have our eyes on Jesus suddenly it doesn't matter if our couch is threadbare.  It matters that the Lord wants us to invite that someone over and minister to them.  When we have our eyes on Jesus it no longer matters that we aren't the best cook if he asks us to bring a meal to someone in need.  When our eyes are on Jesus we don't have to have the perfect words to say to someone grieving. We can go and and He will give us the words.  We are working for Jesus.  He loves and us and will never forske us.  he will be there with us and pick us up when we fall.

3.  Perfectionism places unfair expectations on those around us.  When we are trying to acheive perfection we are very aware of the people around us and their shortcomings.  We begin to hold those around us to a higher level.  We expect our children to uphold a perfect image.  We suddenly know how everyone else should do things.    If they would just do it our way..or this way..surely we know the right way..We become critical and sharp eyed.

HOWEVER

God says in Philippians 4:8,
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

I love the whatsoevers included in this verse.  God knows it is our nature to be critical and to focus on the negative.  He encourages us to reflect on the lovely in the timiest of ways.  He encourages us to look for the good.  He encourages us to look for any virtue and to meditate on those things.  It really is the opposite of perfection.  It's looking for the lovely in imperfection.

Which is what He does for Believers.

He chooses to see Jesus' righteousness and perfection in us.

He loves us.  He wants to use us.  He wants to bless others through us.

The enemy wants us to believe that God is a harsh taskmaster that is never satisifed with us.  That is not what the Word teaches us. Romans 5:8
"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." 

Recently our Pastor gave a beautiful insight to the verse in Matthew 11:30 which says,
"For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

He shared how the yoke was built for two oxen.  They pulled together and worked together.  Jesus is pulling alongside us.  He is right next to us and with us through each step.  That thought is so precious to me.  He is not standing over us with a whip driving us mercilessly.  He is walking with us carrying our load with us and making it light.

13 comments:

Kimmie said...

Okay Renee;

This was the perfect word for me...as I have perfectionist tendencies...and I am hosting Thanksgiving tomorrow. ;-)

What a beautiful family. Oh how I pray that the Lord continues to trust us with more. ;-)

Thank you for leaving me a love note...I think I want to adopt you now...or would you like to be my best friend Renee ;-)

thank you again sweet friend!

Kimmie
mama to 7
one homemade and 6 adopted
*expecting again...
from Ethiopia!

Megan at My Heart, My Home said...

Thanks for these words. I needed to hear them. I have a 4 month old, and I just confessed to my husband that motherhood is not what I thought it would be. Everyone else seems to take it in stride, yet I'm not able to. Thank you for reminding me that I am not alone.

Deborah said...

I needed these words. Thank you.
I love you so much, and miss you so much. Thank you for taking the time to post when so many little ones need your time.
You are precious.

Leah-Joy said...

Thank you so much Aunt Renee! That is so encouraging! Thank you!! I have been feeling a little bogged down and this is so encouraging!

I loveyou and miss you!

Ann said...

Thanks for a great reminder! The older I get, the easier it is to let go of perfection and yet . . . so hard to do. Great post as we go into the holidays with high expectations!

Robin's Reports said...

Beautiful, once again. A great reminder for anyone, but especially *this* one who is trying to make up for a month of illnesses & trying to declutter, cook, ... be perfect.

As I have time, I'm reading a book called, "Heart of an Artist" and Ch 4 is about Perfectionism vs Excellence. Here is a good quote, "While perfectionism is destructive and man-centered, pursuing excellence is constructive and God-honoring." Look for what He expects, not what we expect. Psa 62:5.

That was so key & releasing for me between being an "odd" hs mom, fishing wife, and recently singing in praise band. I measured myself against man and not with God's wants. I like what you said about the measuring stick.

Btw, I sang that song all summer. LOVE IT!!
Happy Thanksgiving!!

Adeye said...

Oh my goodness, that is absolutely beautifully written. JUST what I needed to read tonight.

Love and hugs

Mom to 9 Blessings! said...

Renee - AMEN AMEN AMEN!

Love this post and will keep in touch about the forum on just the conversation you had with the new adoptive mom. There is such a need for a safe place to share and be encouraged - where we can get and give godly sound advice.

Your new header and sidebar photos are precious!!!!! What a beautiful quiver!

Love and blessings,
Jill

Grace* said...

WoW..I really needed to hear what you just said. Thank you so much for all of the time that you took to post this.

Jenny said...

Amen!

Grateful for Grace said...

Thank you for sharing this. I think it's time I get back to the book/healing study on perfectionism/approval seeking issues by Randy Alcorn. Thanks!

Your words are beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I have never really thought of myself as a perfectionist...since I never live up to my standards, how could I be a perfectionist, right? But reading through this post, I saw myself. I saw how I view those around me, especially my children, with a critical eye. It breaks my heart that I have gotten into this habit of seeing their faults so much more than their virtues! And I realize that this same perfectionist tendency is why I always feel so defeated. I always see my failures and flaws, and when I think of how far I must go to reach even my standards, I despair of ever being "good enough" for my God. I strive to please Him, then fall short & feel like I can never satisfy Him, even thinking He is cruel to expect it of me...but He doesn't expect it of me!! Oh, I pray that someday I can forget myself & just really, truly live for Him. Thanks for this eye-opening post...

Angel said...

awesome post. thank you!