This is week four of The Prison of Perfectionism series. I hope you’re beginning to believe that the idea of perfection is over-rated and unattainable… because it’s not God’s plan for us.
If you missed the introduction to the series, you can find it here.
The second week’s entry on “I’m Not Good Enough” is here.
Last week’s post, “I’ll Never Be a Good Mom” is here.
Now, let’s jump into week four…
Do you ever feel like – as a Christ-follower – there are expectations for you to be perfect in all you do and all you say?
Do others expect you to have all the answers to life’s problems?
Are you expected to have the perfect husband and kids… the strongest marriage… the most compassionate servant’s heart… the wisest advice… endless encouragement… and the biggest tithe?
Who in the world can live up to those unrealistic expectations?
Not me, that’s for sure.
But sometimes I feel I have little wiggle room in that prison of perfectionism. Just because I write and speak for God doesn’t mean I have life figured out.
Sheesh… not even close.
Honestly, that’s a lot of pressure for me… for us. And it’s a demonic set-up for failure because those expectations are unattainable. We simply cannot be those things all the time.
This quote from an unknown author says it best. It reads:
When I say that “I am a Christian”…
I am not shouting that “I am clean living.” I’m whispering “I was lost, but now I’m found and forgiven.”
I don’t speak of this with pride. I’m confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.
I’m not trying to be strong. I’m professing that I’m weak and need His strength to carry on.
I’m not bragging of success. I’m admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess.
I’m not claiming to be perfect. My flaws are far too visible, but God believes I am worth it.
I still feel the sting of pain. I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name.
I’m not holier than thou, I’m just a simple sinner who received God’s good grace, somehow!
Because others know I am a Christ-follower… they watch me. Others look to see how I handle life’s problems. They watch how I respond when I get hurt. I’m under scrutiny with how I act and things I speak.
Sisters… you are, too.
You see, the world watches us try to live out our faith… perfectly. Sometimes it seems they are just waiting for us to fail. And when we do, they are quick to point the finger.
They use our mistakes as proof positive that Christianity is for the birds. That it doesn’t work.
This response is expected from the world… but it gets worse.
As Christians, we tend to hold each other to that same standard of perfection.
There is little tolerance for mess-ups in the body of Christ. And when someone does fall short, they are hung out to dry. Often, others smile and nod when one fails.
Even among other Christ-followers, there is an expectation to be perfect and act without reproach.
Why is that?
Jesus doesn’t expect perfection. What He does expect is for us to love each other. And just how can we love others when we’re busy pointing accusing fingers?
Answer: We can’t.
I think we all need a big dose of GRACE.
We need to give it… and get it.
We need grace for others when they fail and mess up.
We need grace for others when expectations of perfection aren’t met.
We need grace for ourselves when we miss the mark.
And Jesus is the perfect model for grace.
He loves us no matter what we do… what we say… how badly we’ve messed up… regardless of our flaws… in our weakness… when we are lost… when we make bad choices.
While the world has unrealistic expectations of Christians, God has none.
Rather than being the perfect… He wants us pliable… purposeful… prayerful.
He knows we will never be perfect this side of Heaven.
Maybe we should follow His lead… and cut each other a break.
REALITY CHECK: There is no such thing as a perfect Christian… only a perfect Christ.
How do you raise Godly kids in today’s world? Find out here.