Abandoning the Pursuit for Perfection

I had no clever title for this post.

I have been away from this blog for a while. I don’t have an excuse for that. The truth is that, I end up taking more sabbaticals than I should because I desire perfection. I rarely admit it and even more rarely try to hide it. I may drop the ball on some things often, but I always get the backlash from my mind immediately after.  I might try to cut myself some slack often but I know that deep down, my mind will tar me apart for falling short of perfection.

It isn’t a wonder then that this often spills over to ministry. I know I’m called to service and equipped for it. I will dive in headfirst after laboring in prayer then get a distance from the shore and wonder why I set sail. Am I actually called to this? Did I pray enough? Am I praying enough? Has pride started creeping in? Am I doing the best I can: stretching myself and exhausting my energies for God? Is this effective? Am I to believe that God wants to send me when there are millions of other qualified people out there? And the spiral goes on and on. So I end up sitting in my thoughts, giving those ‘what if’s’ a voice that is louder than that of Him who called me. I take long breaks, invest my time in seeking affirmation from God and when I don’t have an answer in a week or two, I drift off. I start trying to control other things in my life since I can’t sit still and wait for the affirmation I need. Weeks turn into months and months into years before I find myself asking GOD, “What happened to this and this calling to service?” And as I write this, I can imagine Him shaking His head, wondering how long I will keep up with the cycle before I let the truth take root….. Let the truth take root.

There are so many I’s in this post and therein lies the problem. Although my intentions may be good, they are easily overtaken by the ‘I’ factor. Such valid concerns can easily spiral into a ‘self’ thing if they are not checked by The Word. The truth is that it isn’t about me. It is not about ‘my’ work, my feelings, my uncertainties or fears. It is Him who works in me both to will and to do that which is His good pleasure. I can do nothing of eternal value of or by my own; apart from Him I am nothing (John 15:5). I don’t care more for lost souls than He does. I’m not more concerned with how well things are done than He is. There isn’t any question I have considered that He doesn’t have an answer to. I can ask, but I also need to be patient.

The thing with getting answers, sometimes, is that they come with an expiry tag. After a few days, weeks, months or years, the satisfaction from the answer wears off. I start looking for a similar answer or a new one to keep me going. The truth is that, though I have the truth, it hasn’t taken root. Strong trees start with deep roots; those that are anchored firmly in the ground. I often realize the need to check my heart when it comes to pride and other more obvious vices but I seem to let fear and doubt masked in concern take over. I may want to say that I still trust God in these moments but the truth is that I am more assured in my capacity to fail than in His ability to completely transform me, situations and circumstances. But if the Word has taken root, then how is it that the truth is overshadowed by anything else? This reminds me of the parable of the sower in Matthew 13:18-23. So now I’m asking, “where does the seed fall? Which ground am I?”

My quest (conscious or unconscious) for perfection is slowly drawing to an end. I am realizing more and more that the only thing I can do is to be available, to sit and to be still.  I am learning that stillness and (being in) service are not mutually exclusive; I don’t have to neglect one to have the other. In fact, they are complimentary. In sharing this, I don’t purport to have figured it out. Instead, I hope that someone out here relates, gains something and grows, even as I grow. In the meantime, the posts are back on….consistently. I hope you stick around so we can grow through it all together.

Grace and peace!

0 thoughts on “Abandoning the Pursuit for Perfection”

  1. Deep insights here, I can relate. We are truly in a perfectly imperfect world and its only by the grace of God we go through and overcome circumstances and are thereby transformed. By His grace we are also able to fight giants and patiently wait for revelation of God’d will at the fullness of His time. Great piece.

  2. Thanks for the post. When the truth is planted there can be no room for doubt and fear. I like that especially so considering that I’m also in a ministry.

  3. I totally get you. Everytime I find myself in a place like this, the song I remember is “Oceans”. The second verse nails it!

    “You call me out upon the waters,
    the great unknown, where feet may fail,
    and there I find you in the mystery,
    in oceans deep, my faith will stand.

    And I will call upon Your Name,
    And fix my eyes above the waves,
    When oceans rise
    My soul will rest in Your embrace
    For I am Yours and You are mine…

    Your grace abounds in deepest waters,
    Your Sovereign hand will be my guide,
    Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me,
    You’ve never failed and You won’t start now…. “

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