It’s the Perfect Time to Do Something

IMG_5928Hello. My name is Judith and I’m a recovering perfectionist. Maybe you are, too. I’ve spent more time than I can quantify chasing perfection and I have little to show for it. Because the thing about perfection is that it is elusive.

But more than that, it’s hobbling. It will hinder you from creating or pursuing the things you desire, the passions and dreams God has placed in your heart: the relationships you’re meant to have and the life you’re meant to live.

In fact perfection often will keep you from even trying, from beginning the things you know in your heart and your spirit that you were created to do.

Perfection has gripped me and held me fast in its lie too often. I have written words only to delete them or put them aside. I have formed friendships only to let them languish. I have faced difficulties in my marriage only to blame them on my spouse.

All in the name of perfection. All because perfection created standards in my mind that nothing and no one could reach.

Too many dreams and desires and lives are sacrificed on the altar of perfection and it’s time to set the record straight: perfection is a lie perpetuated by the enemy so that we do not realize our God-given potential and ability and talent.

But here’s the good news: It’s not too late to begin again and leave perfectionism to itself, to the enemy.

We do not have to fall prey continuously to fear and lives of desperation. We can live boldly and we can live abundantly. It’s our choice.

I like the way The Living Bible translates the verse in Ecclesiastes about watching the wind and the weather: If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done (Ecclesiastes 11:4).

There are no perfect conditions. There are no perfect people. There are no dreams without risks and hurdles and there are no relationships without difficulty. There are no lives without struggles and trials.

But there is One who is perfect: the God who planted those dreams in your heart and who gave you the vision for your life and relationships, who gave you the vision for your business or your career or your art or your parenting or your community. And He is waiting for you to choose to try, to live, to create, to hope, to shine, to thrive.

What you create won’t be perfect, but it isn’t meant to be. But today is a perfect time for you to choose, to do those things you feel drawn to in your heart.

God created you to do things that only you will do in this world during your imperfect life. He knows the stumbles you’ll experience and the mistakes you’ll make and the failures you’ll face. But He knows also the wonder you’ll experience and the success that you’ll have and the ways your life will touch the lives of others. It’s far beyond what you can see or know or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

And it’s possible. In Him, through Him, with Him, it’s possible (Matthew 19:26).

It’s possible if you’re willing to leave perfection behind and embrace the One who is perfect and who can multiply and redeem every effort you make in partnership with Him.

Let’s not sacrifice any more dreams or relationships on the altar of perfection. Instead, let’s do the good works that God ordained each of us to do for Him in this world.

So, I’m curious. Has perfectionism ever kept you from doing something you know you were meant to do?

Following the Path of My Dream

sun and cloudsFive-Minute Friday: Follow. And go:

You walk along the shore of my life and stand before me, whispering, Come, Follow Me.

I hesitate for only a moment before moving toward you, eager for the adventure to which you invite me. There is fear beating in my heart, but I choose you nonetheless. Even before your invitation, I knew you; I knew your promises. Even though I knew you not.

Because you knew me and your voice whispered long before I was born into this world. I recognize it in my heart.

Your voice whispers to me, still.

I meet you here on this shore again. And again, and again, and again. Because too often I lose my way. I lose sight of you in the world, harried and hurried and caught up in chaos and daily tasks.

But you bid me, Come. Each morning you bid me, Come. You bid me, Be still.

And so I do.

Some days, you stand on the shore of my life early in the morning, as I wake and then again in the middle of the morning and then again at lunchtime and then again in the afternoon, with the sun shining brightly in my eyes almost blinding me to your presence. But your whisper reaches me and bids me, Come.

If I am going to live out my God-given dream, the vision you planted in my heart long before I came into being, if I am going to do the good works and write the good words that you prepared for me long before I knew you, I must come to this shore often.

Moment by moment, I must come back to this shore and find you.

And when I forget?

You seem to find me where I am along the path. You find me and you hold out your hand and you invite me back to the adventure of a dream I know only in you.

Stop

(This post is part of Kate Motaung’s Five-minute Friday at Heading Home. She gives us a word and we write for five minutes. This week’s word: Follow)

Did You Hear Something?

Are you guarding something that matters to you?

Are you protecting something? A dream? An idea? A passion or God-given purpose?

Are you guarding something so fiercely that you might miss the invitation of God to join Him in the creating, the building, the revealing of something He intended for you to share with others?

Fear Not

(48/365 Days of Fear Not)

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! (Luke 2:8-11)

Sometimes, when God shows up and calls us to join Him, we are terrified, aren’t we?

Not terrified so much of God’s appearing, but of His bidding:You want me to do what? You want me to write that, say that, share that, create that, proclaim that?

Suddenly, the very thing that defines us in the depth of our being frightens us beyond measure. Even in the presence of God. Perhaps especially in the presence of God. Because we know what He wants. We know what He is about to ask of us.

And it scares us.

Because it’s one thing to birth and grow an idea; it’s another thing altogether to invite the world in to see our creation, our art, our soul, our heart – our baby.

But the message is clear: Don’t be afraid! I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.

No, our dream is not the Savior come to earth, but it may be the reflection of Him that someone needs to see, to hear, to experience. The reflection of His truth or His grace or His goodness or His love or His hope or His presence.

For us, the good news is that it’s time to release our gift, our creation, our baby into the world.

Because it won’t be any of those things – truth, grace, goodness, love, joy, hope – unless like the shepherds we faithfully follow Him and share with everyone what we alone were designed to create.

For if we refuse. If we choose to guard our dream, our idea, our calling, our purpose. If we choose to perfect it rather than release it.

What joy will others be deprived of?

What beauty will others miss?

What goodness will others not witness?

What hope will others not receive?

What opportunities will we forfeit?

When God shows up we don’t need to be afraid.

When God calls us to the good works He prepared for us to do, He will provide us the means and the strength to do them. He has created each of us for such a time as this: a time when He shows up and whispers that our time is here. Our time is now.

Walk boldly and confidently with Him and bring forth the good works, the Good News, that a desperate world longs to know.

So, what is God asking you to release into the world? What’s holding you back from letting it go?

Silence the Storm of Ordinary

A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:37-40)

Fear Not

(45/365 Days of Fear Not)

There is a life to which I am drawn. One that I sense somewhere deep within me, within my soul. Sometimes, in the quiet of the night, when the house is silent and all is at rest, my spouse, my children, my worries, I see myself clearly.

I see the me that I am. The me that God designed me to be and to whom He is calling in the wee hours and the quiet.

Do you ever sense your true life?

That life for which your were knit together in your mother’s womb.

That life for which God planned many good works for you to do even before the beginning of you and your time here.

Sometimes I sense Jesus standing before me in my desperation and desire. This desire to be something more than ordinary. This desire to do something more than survive the days I’ve been given.

The storms of life threaten to overwhelm and I panic. I see Jesus sleeping calmly as this vessel in which I travel these oceans is pitched and swamped with the waves beyond my control and I shake Him awake. Don’t you care that I am about to drown in ordinary?

His response is as matter-of-fact for me as it was for His disciples that night on the Sea of Galilee: Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?

I rationalize and hedge. I tell Him that it’s not that I don’t have any faith, but that the world, my circumstances, they cause me to falter, to doubt, to second guess. And to fear.

But even as He questions me, He stills the storm. Quiet and calm envelop me and it is there that I hear the whisper of my true self beckoning me to the life I’m meant to live.

The life of risk and of boldness and of absolute, radical faith. A life lived with seemingly reckless abandon with and for the One who gave me life.

The life of extraordinary.

It’s there.

Do you sense it?

There, in the midst of the chaos and the chores and the children and the noise and the fear.

There, in the midst of the storm there is Jesus. And with Him, there is peace.

But it requires faith.

Will you choose it?

That’s the question we all get to answer. Will we choose faith? Will we choose extraordinary?

It likely will be scary. It likely will be messy. It likely will be stormy.

But it will be worth every moment if it means discovering that wisp of vision that calls you forward.

Leave fear behind and discover the life for which God created you.

Combat Fear with Faith

By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. (Hebrews 11:23)

Fear Not

(41/365 days of Fear Not)

So many times when God tells His people not to be afraid, He precedes that declaration with a call to trust Him. To trust Him more than what their eyes can see and to trust Him more than what the world or the culture is declaring to them.

In other words, He desires our faith.

Because although God is always faithful, we are sporadic and timid and tempted and broken. And we tend to play give and take with our faith despite our desire to trust Him more.

But without consistent faith, we are prone to fear.

Clearly, Moses’ parents realized the connection between trusting God and not being afraid, otherwise they would not be known by name in the Faith Hall of Fame (also known as Hebrews 11). And God leaves little room for interpretation here. By faith they did what they needed to do, they hid their son, and they were not afraid.

Not, they hid Moses because they were not afraid.

No,t they hid Moses and hoped for the best.

No.

By faith they hid Moses, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict to kill all Hebrew baby boys at birth.

Imagine the courage, the faith-filled courage it took to ignore and ultimately defy Pharaoh’s proclamation to put all Hebrew baby boys to death. Imagine the faith-filled courage it took to do this for three months.

Did Moses’ parents spend a lot of time looking over their shoulders? Did they spend hours and days searching the horizon for Pharaoh’s chariots and soldiers? Were they afraid?

Or did they spend a lot of time on their knees, seeking God’s face and protection and provision?

Did they trust Him completely with their son’s life?

Indeed they did.

And so by faith they hid their son for three months and by God’s faithfulness and mercy, their son not only survived but became the first vessel of redemption for the Israelites. Moses became the appointed deliverer for God’s people because his parents trusted God with the outcome.

Faith and fear cannot coexist. They are polar opposites.

We either trust God completely with the outcome or we don’t. There can be no hedging.

You’re either all in by faith or you’re not.

What will God do in your life, with the God-given dream and purpose you are living out if you trust Him completely? If you combat your fear and uncertainty with faith.

By faith.

What will your entry in the Faith Hall of Fame read because you chose to live by faith and not by sight as you lived out your God-given purpose in this world?