Being OK with Imperfect

Imperfection

I was standing in my kitchen the other day, looking outside at my backyard.  I had just done a little hedge trimming a few days prior.  I looked on the ground, at the base of one of the bushes and I saw a few leaves and small branches that I had missed while cleaning up.  There would have been a day that this would have driven me crazy.  I would have gone outside right away and started cleaning things up.  “Good enough” wasn’t good enough for me.  I wanted perfection.  It was unneeded anxiety…..truly a waste of time.

That day, I decided to let it go.  I left it alone.  The wind would blow those twigs and leaves away.

You know what?  I survived!  The earth continued to spin and life continued to move forward.  Everything was ok…..I felt free from the pressure of perfection.

This is a small example of what I’ve battled with my whole life.  Whether it be something small like yard work or more complicated like trying to earn God’s favor.

Perfection is so frustrating to pursue.  It can control every bit of a person’s life.  It is completely unattainable as a human being.

In fact, the only perfect person to ever walk the earth was Jesus Christ.  He is my Example and Model of ultimate love.  Although I attempt to be more like Christ everyday, I know I’ll never “get there” completely.  I’m ok with that.

So I choose to relax.  To give myself a break.  I know that I have a Savior who loves me, despite my imperfections.  That’s good enough for me.  That’s all that I need.

I still seek goodness and love everyday.  I will never stop trying to be like Jesus.  I’m just learning to stop stumbling over myself in the process.

Have you ever been caught in the trap of perfection?  How did you find that balance?

God Bless,

Paul

Why Ask Why?

Long-journey

Have you ever felt off in left field?  Where your thoughts, intentions and experiences just feel off kilter?  I’ve just come out of a place like this.  I have these times every once in a while.  I can’t really explain why, it just happens.  Have you ever experienced a season in your life like this?  It’s like driving down a long, straight road without the scenery changing.  It’s like going outside to smell the roses, but your sniffer’s off.  It’s like bbqing a nice, fat steak and your taste buds aren’t working.  Kinda like that.

It’s times like these that I feel distant or disconnected from God.  I usually will start to panic to some extent and I over-analyze my relationship with Him.  I start to over-analyze my relationship with others.  I start to over-analyze myself.  Guilt and condemnation usually creep in next.  I start to question what I believe.  I begin to criticize myself for not being super joyful all the time.  I blame myself for letting my relationship with my Creator become dull and grey.  I usually become my worst enemy.

Although the above has been a typical pattern for me, I’m learning to fight it.  To break the cycle that has controlled my life for too long.  I’m learning to absorb these times.  To search for meaning during these times.  To become a big boy during these times.  To lean on God.

I read an awesome article by a guy named Al Andrews the other day, talking about the questions that we ask during difficult times.  He states:

“I’d like to suggest a prayer that the Benedictine monks pray during times they call “Desolation.”  Desolation is when things don’t work – when life, relationships, God – all seem disconnected at best.  When that happens, our natural prayers are usually variations of the word “Why?”  Why?  Why me?  Why this?  Why this now?  Why God?”

“The Benedictines suggest a different question. They ask us to pray this simple prayer, “God, what do you have for me here?”  Do you notice the difference?  While honest, the why questions presume we are entitled to something and the current problem has no place in our life or the universe.  “What do you have for me here?” presumes that there is a larger story told by a storyteller who loves us and is far more creative in his telling than I would ever be.”

This is genius to me.  It struck me as simply profound.  If I can hold onto the view that there is a lesson to be learned in every situation, I’ve won.  It’s not about me, it’s about God shining through me.  I’m not the potter, I’m the clay.  It’s His story to tell.  I’m just here, hanging with God, riding the waves of life.  Wherever they take me, I’m standing tall, on my board, God as the wind.

So what DOES God have for me right now, in my current circumstances?  I HAVE NO IDEA.  Maybe that’s the way it should be sometimes.

Have you ever been stuck in a rut?  How did you get out of it?

God Bless,

Paul