Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
"Hey, Buddy. What are you doing?" I said trying to refocus the attention of my middle son back towards his math worksheet for the fifth time in the last ten minutes.
"oh yeah," he said swiveling his head back toward the table from the spot on the ceiling his mind had wondered too.
Focusing on his math worksheet to complete it is not this boy's strong suit. He has much more interesting things to ponder in that creative mind of his.
I shook my head, stifling a giggle when he looked back up and smiled a sheepish grin at me. I love this tender-hearted artistic genius with everything I've got. It does not lessen my love for him that he cannot pay attention for more than a minute at a time. In fact, when I rave about him to my friends, my heart swells with pride and joy. I don't love him because of what he can do or not do, I love him because he is mine.
And yet, when it comes to the standard I set for myself, I act as though I need to figure out how to transcend any and all weakness to move towards perfection. Just today at work, I was on with a client and missed that our meeting had gone over and I was late for the next one. It was seven minutes past when I was supposed to call. I panicked.
Quickly I dialed her phone number, but she did not pick up. Frustrated with myself, self-defeating thoughts went parading through my mind.
"How could you have forgotten and missed the time?"
"she is angry with you because you blew her off"
"you are going to lose this client now because you couldn't keep it together"
"why can't you keep it together, Micah?"
All of this over seven minutes. Why? Who told me (and you) that we need to be perfectly perfect all of the time? And what is your definition of perfection? I bet is slightly different than mine, but no less reachable.
It is time to lay this expectation of perfection down. Perfection is a burden we were never meant to bear. It is a manmade ideal (aka idol) that takes us away from the gospel that rescues us.
We will never meet perfection and God did not call us to do so. God called us to lean into Him in our weakness and let His power show through us. He called us to be saved by His grace and not through our works. He called us to live rooted and nourished in His love for us. We can do none of those things when we are trying to be perfect for whomever we are trying to be perfect for.
God is teaching me that I need to slow down for a minute when I hear those less than perfect shame statements start talking. It is my natural inclination to attempt to fix my error by working harder and shove my feelings aside. But it has never worked. Instead, I need to take my ridiculous standards and failure to reach them to Jesus and let Him cover them with His love.
When I took my seven minutes less than perfect shame to Him, He brought me the story of my middle son and his inability to stay focused on math. He let me feel the love that inflates my chest when I think of this far less than perfect, but still all mine boy. And then He reminded me, that is how He thinks of me. That is how He thinks of you too.
You are not perfect, but you are His beloved, and that's enough.
Father, you did not call us to be perfect, for only you are perfect. It is in and through you that we find the strength we need. Help us to remember to come to you when we make mistakes or when we are weak so you can be strong through us. And help us to let go of our desire to be perfect. You know that it is rooted in our striving to be loved. We don't need to strive for love because we are already loved completely by you. Let that be enough for us today and every day. In Jesus' name, Amen.
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