I broke up with perfect, but sometimes we get back together. Ugh. Perfect makes itself known in my relationships and it has snared me in the fear of man that steals my authenticity and shapes me into a plastic version of myself. I confessed I was afraid of you and now I must confess I’m afraid of myself.
I’m afraid of disappointing myself, and I fear failing my expectations. What if I have to buy new clothes because I can’t stick with an exercise program? What if I wrinkle my face into a permanent scowl because I’m perpetually disappointed in myself? What if I try, again, to organize my life into some resemblance of order and once again, fail? Why can’t I have endless energy? Why am I so jiggly? Why am I crabby in the morning and why do they expect me to be cheery? What if I give something my everything and it’s not good enough? What if I’m not good enough?
And there lies the root of my alliance with perfect. If I’m perfect then I’m good enough and the maddening what ifs stop taking over my mind. This is not a healthy place.
I am enough. You are enough. But why do we struggle to receive this truth? Why do we wrestle with God over this?
It could be that I’ve confused my ‘fear of not being enough’ with being aware of my sinful nature and the journey toward holiness. I’m wide awake to my failures and struggles: selfish ambition, fear, impatience, and judgement. But those aren’t the things that make me ‘not enough’ and overcoming them isn’t what makes me ‘enough’ either.
So what makes us enough? It’s found in the depth of God’s love for us which is a deep, deep well we can draw from and find the sweetest of waters. He loved us while we were trapped in sin and we love him because he first loved us.
If this is truth then where does the alliance with perfect begin? Does it begin when we don’t believe ourselves worthy? Is the idea of a love freely given so far outside our comfort zone that we make ourselves work for it?
Our experiences with perfect are not going to be the same. We live in a society that tells us we can have it all. We reach higher and higher instead of resting in God’s expectations of us. His yoke is easy and his burden is light, but we burden ourselves when we add intentions outside of what he’s called us to do.
It seems easier to beat myself up for failing to follow through on that popular exercise program or that my calendar is still hopelessly disorganized or that I didn’t reach out to a hurting friend because I was self-absorbed with my problems. I failed again.
Perfect leaves no room for failure so I put even more pressure on myself to be everything to everyone, including myself. This is exhausting and impossible. It becomes a merry go round that takes me lower and deeper into the pit of perfect and further and further away from the truth of God’s expectations.
Discovering God’s intentions has been the most freeing antidote to breaking up with perfect. My problem is that I think I need to add amendments to them creating an atmosphere of scales and balances. I think to myself, ‘Oh, God says to be perfect? Well, I’d better not make any mistakes and not ever let anyone down,’ while disregarding the fact that God intends for me to be complete in him, which is not some twisted version of perfect that my mind thinks up.
God’s expectations for my life involve making him Lord of my life and doing what he wants me to do. The problem comes when I forget to listen and that’s usually when perfect and I get back together.
Making him Lord means freedom from perfection because we don’t have to worry about fulfilling the unrealistic expectations we place on ourselves. It means we get to find out what he expects of us and release our fears of not being enough because he says, ‘Beloved you are enough. Rest in me, listen for my voice, and you will be complete.’