Archives for July 2014

Grace for the Perfectionist, Post #41

What do you think is the difference between perfection, striving for excellence, and doing your best? If you’re like me, that question sure makes you scratch your head.

When I was a little girl, I organized all my crayons by the rainbow-color acronym name—remember it? R-O-Y- G-  B-I-V (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet).  I kept them organized, even if it was a box of 64 crayons. I also colored inside the lines. I was a born perfectionist.

Bless my sweet parents. I was harder on myself than they ever were on me.

All these years later, I still struggle with perfectionism in some areas of my life.  But who holds the measuring stick to decide what “perfect” is? Your “perfect” is different from my “perfect.” The only true measuring stick for perfection is Jesus, and nowhere this side of heaven will I, will we reach the beautiful perfection of Jesus.

I remember one role model in my career taught me this pithy poem:

Good, better, best, And may we never rest,

Until our good is better, And our better, best.

That’s when it hit me: my best is not perfection. And that’s OK.

When I get up in each morning, every fiber of my being strives for excellence. Then life happens…

traffic is at a standstill, and I’m late for work;

a long-anticipated meeting is rescheduled at the last minute;

miscommunication occurs with a loved one;

reality falls short of expectations.

Where is my heart in all of this?  Then I read: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” –Colossians 3:23 NIV84.

What a relief! Just put your heart and passion into all we do. May we not be half-hearted.

One of my favorite verses is five words: “She did what she could…” Mark 14:8a  NIV84.  Don’t you love it? Maybe I should have that on my epitaph!  What grace! It sure makes me exhale.

To set up the scene, Jesus was visiting the home of Simon the Leper. Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus, brought in an expensive alabaster jar full of pure nard, which is costly perfume. She took it, broke it, and poured it all on Jesus. Some of Jesus’ disciples ridiculed her for wasting more than a year’s wages of perfume on Jesus instead of giving it to the poor. Jesus told them to leave her alone and said it was a beautiful thing that she did. He told them He would not always be around and this poured perfume was preparing him for his burial. Jesus was trying to tell them he would soon die.

Mary did what she could. It may not have been “perfect” or even “excellent” in the sight of the disciples. She gave it her all.

Dear friends, do you struggle with not getting everything done on your checklist? Keep doing your best, and react with grace knowing obstacles will come into your divine path. Be encouraged. You are making a difference.  Relax. Breathe deeply. Hold it. Exhale. Smile. His grace is sufficient for you and for me. Feel free to color outside the lines sometimes.

Reflect:

–What are some ways you are a recovering perfectionist like me? Please comment.

-What grace can you give yourself or a loved one who struggles with perfectionism?

–How can you make sure your heart is in all your work? Please leave a comment and let me know.

Renew:

–“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” –2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV 1984)

–“Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” –2 Corinthians 13:11 NIV84.

–“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” –Galatians 1:10 NIV84

Resource:

Check out NY Times Bestselling Author and my personal friend Lysa TerKeurst’s new book coming out in August–The Best Yes. Pre-order now at http://thebestyes.com.

PS. Today is also a great day to print out my “Creating Your Personal Mission Statement Template,” which is free by simply adding your email address and subscribing to this little leap-of-faith “Pure Inspiration” blog.

My personal mission statement is “Shine,” based on Matthew 5:16.

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Calling As At Other Times, Post #40

“Here I am; You called me.”  It’s a scripture response and passage you may have heard before, but I just noticed five words of this profound Bible story I had never paid attention to before.

 “The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions. ..

Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, ‘Here I am.’ And he ran to Eli and said, ‘Here I am; you called me.’ But Eli said, ‘I did not call; go back and lie down.’ So he went and lay down.

God called him again. Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, ‘Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.’ So Samuel went and lay down in his place. The Lord came and stood there, calling as at other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Then Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’” –1 Samuel 3:1, 4-11 NIV84

Did you notice it? The Lord came and stood there, calling as at other times…That phrase hit me over the head.

God talks with us all the time, yet we are so distracted, we do not listen. Or we may think it’s someone/something else, not God. It took Eli to prepare Samuel to really listen the next time the Lord “came and stood there” and called him. How often do we blow off the Eli’s in our lives and dismiss their insight?

Who is an Eli in your life, who can help you  focus on God, preparing you to listen to Him calling you? The Lord is talking to you, calling your name, calling as at other times. Listen to God, and listen to your “Eli”, so you can listen to Him.

Thank God for the intentional times to slow us down and help us hear the Lord speaking. “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

Reflect:

–Do you find that your world is noisy, distracted, hard to hear God? Please comment.

–Who is an Eli in your life? Please comment.

Renew:

–“And the Lord said to Samuel: ‘See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle.’ …The Lord was will Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord.” –1 Samuel 3: 11, 19-20 NIV 84

–“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” –Psalm 46:10 NIV84

Recharge:

–What will you do this week to quiet yourself, focus, and listen? Shhh… can you hear Him calling as at other times?

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Be Strong and Courageous, Post #39

What are you facing today?  Are you overwhelmed? Each one of us is facing something huge in our lives. Today, may you be en-COURAGED to be strong and courageous.

I was just reading the Bible story about Joshua this morning and have thought about it ever since. In Joshua 1, Moses had just passed away. Joshua, one of his chosen leaders, had been called to cross the Jordan River with the Israelites into the Promised Land. Joshua was nervous, really more of a “chicken,” about this assignment. God gave him a wonderful pep talk.

Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go…Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” –Joshua 1:6-7, 9 NIV84

Don’t you just want to lift your chin up, pull your shoulders back, and stand up straighter when you read that passage? I do!  Today, just keep repeating, “Be strong and courageous” as a breath prayer. “Be strong and courageous.” “Be strong and courageous.” “Be strong and courageous.”  Don’t you feel better?

Whatever you are facing today, remember you are invincible. There’s no way we can mess up God’s plan. Be strong and VERY courageous. Go get ’em, tiger!

Reflect:

–What is the last experience where you felt nervous to face something or someone?  Please comment.

–How do you/did you feel after repeating “Be strong and courageous” as a breath prayer? Please comment.

Renew:

–“Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.” –Ezra 10:4 NIV84

–“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.” –1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NIV84

Recharge:

–How will you respond differently this week when facing a battle or something huge? Please comment.

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