Can You Relate?
Growing up I had a teacher in Germany who used to tell me my handwriting was awful. She used to sit me out in the hallway and tell me to write my lessons over and over and over. She did not like the way I held a pencil. So she made me practice the way everyone else did it. She said practice made perfect.
Many times I have struggled with forgiveness in my life, yet the biggest struggle I have had is with forgiving myself. Perfectionism is something I have battled with too. This is indeed the evil one’s plan. He doesn’t want us to know about our identity in Christ. His job is to not only distract us from the fact that we are righteous in God’s eyes. When He sees us, He sees Jesus, but to get us running on the treadmill of good works and wear us slam out.
A Glimpse of the Longing God
I am reading a book now by Brennan Manning. He passed away last year before I began reading his books. The first one was an audiobook I listened to at night called, The Furious Longing of God. It was life changing as I learned of the loving compassion of God, and went to sleep to it being spoken over me. So I wanted to share from another book that is molding and shaping me now. A Glimpse of Jesus The Stranger to Self Hatred. In it Manning is quoting Bernard Bush in regards to perfectionism and the church.
“I hope it is clear that feelings of guilt, accompanied by anxiety, fear and restlessness, arise from deep within ourselves and are not an accurate gauge of the state of our souls before God. We cannot assume that He feels about us the way we feel about ourselves, unless we love ourselves intensely and freely.”
So many struggle with perfectionism. What is so amazing is that it is a struggle with a big fat L.I.E., lie. The only perfect one is God. Yet we chase our tails trying to become perfect. Trying to create perfection in all we do. Trying to please God when He is well pleased with us. It ends in exhaustion and failure.
5 He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son,[a] with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” Matthew 17:5 ESV
We need not only to capture this lie, but to replace it with the knowledge of who we truly are. Righteous ones saved by our faith in “The Perfect One”. Those with whom the Lord is well pleased. And to trade in our thought of God as wanting to hammer us and mold us into perfection through our obedience. He loves us intensely and freely just the way we are. Obedience is important because He loves us and wants the best for us, but it is not what pleases Him. Grace is what molds us. Only our faith in Jesus and His great sacrificial love for us results in the reward of grace.
6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Hebrews 11:6 ESV
Our work is believing:
29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
John 6:29 ESV
Beloved, we can live freely and be loved intensely. Why are you striving for perfection instead of being perfectly loved by the perfect sacrificial Lamb when you can be free from you own struggle with perfection? Work on believing and receiving the reward of grace. Faith is the only practice that makes perfect.
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I leave you with this song.