Monday, September 21, 2009

Perfectly Silly

“Go lay down on the bed for a minute; I want to tell you something.” I’ve never heard an audible voice from the Lord, but His insistent call to my heart was impossible to ignore.
“What? Right now, Lord? I am in the middle of cleaning house, and still have a hundred things to get done before Adrienne and Barbara arrive. Can’t you tell me whatever it is while I mop the floor?”
“No. You need to be still in order to hear what I have to say.”
“Oh, all right.” I gritted my teeth as I rushed to the bedroom, plopping on the bed. It was difficult to listen when the cobwebs taunted me from the ceiling. I slammed my eyes shut.
“What is it, Lord?” I grumbled, wanting to get this conversation over so I could finish my mopping. As usual, I’d piddled all week, then tornadoed through Saturday to get my house in order. It wasn’t the Lord’s fault, but I blamed Him anyway. He was interfering with my plan.
“Jeanette, you are trying too hard to be perfect and impress people. You’re not fooling anyone. By the time Adrienne and Barbara get here, you’ll be an exhausted mess.”
“But Lord, You are perfect, and the Word says to imitate You. I even know where that verse is: Ephesians 5:1.”
“Yes, but I am not a perfectionist. There’s a difference. I am too realistic to think you or anyone else will ever be flawless in this life. You frustrate yourself when you strive to make no mistakes, or to give the impression of perfection. My job is to be perfect. Your imitation of Me is to love others and be kind to them. Pretending you never fail, whether at housework or any venture, is not love. It’s unreality.”
“Okay, Lord. I see I’m acting silly¸ not trusting You to help me clean my house, trying too hard to impress my friends. I repent. Thanks for the correction.” As I bounded off the bed to return to my mop, I heard His final word:
“Any time.”

I’d like to tell you this interchange took place last week. It was closer to twenty years ago. I still wrestle more than I should with striving to be perfect. And I still end up frustrated. You too?

When Jesus came and laid down His life for us, He knew beforehand we’d not behave perfectly after we were saved. But He came anyway, because He wanted to make a way for us to be part of God’s family. His perfect sacrifice was the only way to accomplish that.
All our striving to look faultless adds nothing to His gift of salvation. We simply accept it and enter into fellowship with Him.
This isn’t an excuse to be lazy or willfully sin, saying¸ “Oh well, that’s why Jesus died. He knows I’m not perfect.”
We don’t impress God or anyone else when we pretend to be flawless. It’s okay to say, “Oops. That was stupid of me. I am sorry.” In fact, it endears us to others when we let down our mask and admit we are still in the “rough draft” stage. They feel more comfortable around us when we let them know that we know we have faults. Then when we tell them about Jesus, they’ll be more likely to listen.
Someday I’ll be perfect. So will you, if you’re in Jesus. Until then, let’s quit looking silly by trying to appear perfect. Let’s be real.


  1. Good reminder. It must be pride as to why we do these silly things. I see your word count went up, hope you had a good weekend! v:O)

  2. Lisa Harper--my favorite Christian speaker/writer--talked about that at the WOF conference and in her book "A Perfect Mess".
    We don't need to be perfect for God to love us. Through and because of Christ alone he sees perfection and delights in us. :)

  3. I love that, Jeannette! So beautiful!!!

    Have you ever read Mike Yaconelli's "Messy Christianity"? It's really good; I think you'd like it!

  4. Amen, Jeanette! This is so what I am all about, what I hope to encourage other Christians to realize as well.

    Thanks for letting me know that I am not the only one who feels the same way!


  5. I LOVE this post, Jen!! It totally spoke to my heart. I too often try to be perfect and impress others.

    "My job is to be perfect. Your imitation of Me is to love others and be kind to them. Pretending you never fail, whether at housework or any venture, is not love. It’s unreality.” Thank you for saying this. I want to be real with people about my struggles and mistakes. But it's often so hard to put aside that need for perfection!

  6. Awesome post! I especially love your last line - "Let's be real." That's totally what we need!

    I went to the ACFW conference and Harry Kraus spoke during one of the devotionals. And he said something that totally resonnated with me. "The world doesn't need more spiritual Christians or perfect Christians. The world needs more honest Christians."

    Your post is just reaffirming what Harry said! Great stuff, Jeanette!

  7. I wanted to start the comment with
    Martha Martha...
    LOL, I have so been a Martha I posted about this very same thing

    It can be very difficult to shake our habit of being perfectionist. Just last week I was cleaning for a visit with friend. Unfortuntely they called at the time they were to arrive to cancel. I was very dissappointed and frustrated. I could here God's voice reminding me that I need to be more like Mary and less like Martha.

    This weekend those same friends came by. I had a cold and had done very little around the house. I was too sick to care. The visit was joyful and I wasn't stressed.

  8. Jeanette, you are loved for yourself not what is around you, and I have to remind myself that everytime the holidays roll around and I have a house full from out of town. I'm glad God tells us to come as we are.


  9. I completely relate to this. I'm at a point right now where there truly aren't enough hours in the day, but it won't last. I remind myself the house can be squeaky clean at another phase in my life.

  10. Jeanette:
    This is a lesson we all have to learn. I no longer try to look perfect. I try to converse with friends like I know Jesus wants me to. I can't keep up with my family on going after them and picking up things. But I believe God uses me as I am-imperfect.

  11. Hi Jen -

    Great post! We might as well relax and be ourselves. Anyone who spends time with us will find out who we really are anyway.

    Maybe the key is learning how to forgive ourselves for our past mistakes.

    Susan :)

  12. I'm a "rough draft"!!! I absolutely love that. Man is that ever freeing to me, and so totally true. I just hope His revisions on me keep me growing closer to His image. Amen.

  13. I loved this post! Love how he insisted of being heard!

    I'll always remember Joy Davidman Lewis (CS Lewis's wife)who recounted the time when she had this distinct feeling God wanted something from her. She waited and pondered, and yet the feeling wouldn't go away. Finally she asked Him, "What do you want me to do?"

    His reply, "I don't want you to do anything; I want to give you something."

    I've never forgotten that!


Oh, it's YOU! I'm so happy to see you here today, and look forward to reading your comments.