When we do things that are not perfect, we easily condemn ourselves. But does God expect to find perfection in everything we do?
We all have an ideal in mind concerning the things we do in life. We have been taught to be conscientious about what we do and to strive for excellence. There is certainly nothing wrong with that philosophy of living. It is admirable and serves as a good baseline for everything we do.
There is, however, a dividing line between being conscientious and being a perfectionist about what we do. A person can be conscientious and recognize a job well done without it having to be perfect. Perfectionists always see the shortcomings in a finished task, even if they are insignificant enough that nobody else would even notice.
Adjust Your Ideal
Sometimes there is a need for a person to adjust her ideal to a level that is more realistic in terms of the capability she actually possesses. Things can be good, even excellent, without being perfect. Learning to live with less than perfect is important for peace of mind because nobody ever achieves perfection.
Even God doesn’t look at your lifestyle and expect to find perfection in everything you do. The Psalmist wrote, “For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust” (Psalm 103:14). To put it another way: God knows that you are only human. Do you know that or do you place expectations on yourself to be superhuman and then feel frustrated when you see that you aren’t?
A grace walker is one who finds fulfillment in having done her best, given the limitations that life imposes on her. When God had finished creating, He looked at what He had done and said, “It is good.” He wants you to be able to say the same about what you do. In fact, to be able to say so is a godly quality.
Does it really matter if some things go undone or are postponed? Is it worth sacrificing peace of mind, emotional stability, and being physically exhausted in order to accomplish it all? Does it really matter that much when put into the perspective of the big picture? These are questions that merit serious consideration.
Learning to live with results that are less than perfect may be an acquired skill that the Holy Spirit wants to teach you. The next time you look at a finished job and are tempted to nitpick and judge it through the lens of perfectionism, don’t be surprised if you hear Him say, “Let it go. It is good.” When you hear that still, small voice, listen and do it. In the long run, you will discover the grace of fulfillment instead of the guilt of self-imposed laws that condemn you over what you’ve done.
(This article is an excerpt from Steve McVey’s book, “Wives Walking In Grace”, published by Harvest House Publishers).