September 17, 2021
"My name is Shirley, and I'm a perfectionist." There, I've said it. I want life to be perfect—but it rarely is. Especially in these later years. As soon as I get over one illness, another pops up. Something thumps, lumps or bumps. Life's imperfections are enough to get a gal down.
But you know what? Just like the word, there's "perfection" within "imperfection." The psalmist said "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be" (Psalm 139:16 NIV). I always thought that verse referred to the length of our lives. But might it refer to the content of our days as well?
If that is true, then nothing touches me that has not been permitted by God to be part of the perfect life for me. So how do I fight always wanting things to be "perfect"? I'm writing this for myself, so let's see where the Lord takes me.
My perfection lies in recognizing Christ is with me. Whether in ER or sitting in my chair watching "Jeopardy," Jesus walks with me. And therein lies the problem. I forget about Him. If I sat beside someone and they never spoke to me, I would feel ignored. Yet how often do I ignore Christ because I'm too caught up in myself and my "imperfections."
My perfection lies in trusting God's timing. We've all heard "All of our receptionists are assisting other callers. Please remain on the line and . . . ." But we want attention NOW. So we give up and hang up. During a recent ER visit, a woman complained about having to wait. She left. Two minutes later, they called her name. She missed the very opportunity she sought.
My perfection lies in trusting God Himself. It's easy to trust God when I feel well, enjoy a slice of pizza or type up a good devotion. It's a bit harder when relationships or health or circumstances fly south for the winter. But that is exactly the time I need to "trust and not be afraid" (Isaiah 12:2). After all "We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him . . ." (Romans 8:28). God's grace will suffice.
My perfection lies in expressing praise to God and gratitude to those around me. Each morning I praise God the Father for His creation, Jesus the Son for His salvation and the Holy Spirit for His inspiration. I also sprinkle "thank you's" along life's pathway. Most recently to a young man who showed me how to zip around Costco's on a cart.
Remember. The apostle Paul's life was not perfect. He had many challenges from shipwreck to beatings to imprisonment. Yet he said: "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances" (Philippians 4:11-13). I too can learn to be content—even though life is not perfect.
Actually, life on this earth will never be perfect. Ever since Eve (and Adam) ate the apples, the earth has been cursed, and we live with the consequences. I hurt for people in pain, people with injuries, people in difficult situations. But I believe God has a purpose for each of us each moment of our lives. And our perfection lies in finding and fulfilling that purpose.