I have “Type A” tendencies. I like to get up early, be on time, keep my house neat, cross things off my to do list as quickly as possible and… you get the picture. Sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes not so much. Years ago, though, the Lord whispered a line of instruction into my heart, “Seek my perfection.” I understood that to mean “Hey, Brenda, make sure what you think is important lines up with what the Lord thinks is important.”
Lately, I have another phrase floating through my head. “Imperfection is a beautiful thing.” This thought may seem to contradict the first one. In reality, though, they both point to an important truth for those of us who sometimes get bogged down in getting things right: What God considers perfect and what I consider perfect are often two very different things.
In Matthew 5:48, Jesus tells his listeners (and therefore us as well) to be perfect, but he wasn’t talking about how quickly the dishes get done or the bills get paid. He was talking about sin, about how we can only be saved through him. Here’s an interesting article discussing that verse: http://beyeperfect.org/project/become-perfect/ . That kind of perfection isn’t what I’m writing about today, though. I’m concerned with the sort of perfection that can keep our minds and our schedules too tied up to enjoy a life of service and a peaceful heart.
- Remember Jane Jetson, of the space age cartoon? She would only answer her photo phone after she had donned her “perfect face” mask and wig. Looking perfect takes a lot of time. I’m learning to be okay with a few “warts” showing.
- Ever read Open Heart, Open Home by Karen Mains? She learned that not-so-perfect living rooms often make people feel more welcome than Southern Living style showcases. I’m learning to live with a few dust bunnies here and there.
- And while I still think punctuality is the best plan as a general rule, sometimes life just gets in the way. When promptness becomes impossible, what good does it do to spend the next hour or so wallowing in self-incrimination (or, worse yet, in anger toward some other person who made you late)? Ten minutes of tardiness can become an hour of distraction in no time at all. Not good.
Do I think we should all become lazy, messy and late? No. But we do need to become transparent, vulnerable and willing to let go of our own priorities when they don’t match up with God’s order of the day. Sometimes his plan may call for
- A late night phone call that puts me into a slow fog the next morning.
- A short notice hospital visit that tanks the day’s schedule.
- An unexpected visitor when the kitchen floor is sticky or I haven’t brushed my hair.
- Checklist items that go permanently undone simply because there’s something more important to do.
And so, I begin this day hoping the Lord’s priorities will become my own and wondering, “What does ‘seeking his perfection’ look like in your life?”