Sunday, January 07, 2007

perfectly imperfect

I'm sure that most people who attended this weekend missed the video that played during the "five-minute countdown" before the celebration began. Brad Wise, our creative director, wrote the text for it. Check it out...

Release...
take a deep breath in...
and release...
feels good doesn't it?
try closing your eyes for a few seconds
and listen to the piano...
what if we let go?
...stopped trying to be perfect
...stopped chasing something that doesn't exist.
because the truth is...
we will never look "perfect"
our job will never be "perfect"
our families will never act "perfectly"
nor will our church...
what does that even mean? "perfect"...?
he perfect house,
spouse,
kids,
life...
they don't exist.
relationships are not perfect...
and in theory we know that...
yet we want them to be…
and get frustrated when they aren't.
we hold grudges for others' imperfections...
for their mistakes.
we carry with us disappointments...
and let downs caused by imperfections.
we carry regret...
for not being the perfect friend
for being the imperfect spouse
for demanding from our kids what we can't provide...
perfection.
we carry guilt...
for our imperfect faith...
our imperfect past...
what if you let the regret go...
release...
take a deep breath in...
and release...
God doesn't want your perfection...
He doesn't demand what you cannot give.
he just wants your faith...
your trust...
your belief that Jesus' sacrifice makes you perfect.
perfectly broken...
perfectly human...
perfectly forgiven...
perfectly loved...
by the only One who provides what we all desire...
perfection.


I like that thought: exhale.

It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people. By that single offering, he did everything that needed to be done for everyone who takes part in the purifying process. Hebrews 10:14 (Message Bible).

How are you dealing with perfectionism?

8 comments:

  1. Dear Dave,

    your message this past Sunday was one I really needed to hear. I have showed signs of of the perfectionist attitude in my teen years, but now more so in my twenties. I didn't take the quiz thing at church because I knew I have the perfectionist traits pretty strongly. 90 to 95% of the things you named off about perfectionists fit me to a T (I took the test later on just to humor myself and got a 20). I wasn't aware of the things perfectionism caused and I openly embraced it. I thank you for teaching on it Sunday, as it has opened my eyes to the dangers of it and I'm now working on improving and ridding myself of perfectionism---through prayer and submission to God.

    Thanks Dave.

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  2. Dave,

    I think this message is very needed in the church. I am a recovering perfectionist. And the churches I've attended in the past rather than being places to receive grace have contributed to my perfectionism. It wasn't until the last few years that I realized how toxic perfectionism is and really started working on overcoming it.

    I'm sure your message on Sunday helped a lot of people.

    Peace,
    Brian

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  3. Dave,

    Please thank your wife for me. I ran right out and bought "How Not to Look Fat". (I'm really glad I didn't have to ask someone for it - she is courageous!)

    Am I rationalizing when I tell myself that it's not a perfectionist thing, but rather a "how-can-I-best-accept-my-imperfections-in-the-Botox-age" kind of thing?

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  4. During this Christmas season I was very ill. Matter of fact just a few days ago I started feeling better. I was hit with the flu bug harder than any other time in my life. Being a perfectionist made this very hard for me. A week before Christmas I was so ill that I was unable to go shopping for my children. I was bed ridden for 5 days. I couldn’t cook, clean, or go to work. The illness lasted until a few days into the New Year. For some reason this took a strong hold on my spirit. If I would put my faith on a scale of 1-10, any other time before my sickness, I would say it was a strong 8.5. During the illness I felt weak and would say it went down to about 3.5. I was wondering how I would reach the peace and spirit filled life that I once had. This past Sunday others in my family were taking on the illness and even though I didn’t feel like going to church by myself I knew I had to.

    Well to my surprise God stepped in and worked through our pastor Dave again to give me a right on time message. At the end, through my tears and many tissues Dave said that, “The reason why the video was so powerful to us was because we are all in the wheel chair”. Now my first reaction to that was yeah right, it was because the father had such a great heart I felt tremendous joy and pride for that relationship, but quickly God stepped in and said no, you are in the wheel chair. Wow isn’t it great to come to church and have God stick a mirror in your face. Well maybe it hurt a little but it worked.

    Thanks Dave again for the right on time message. It didn’t take long after that that my spirit soared back to the 8.5.

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  5. Dave, just back from the Jan 13 worship and the two messages meld together - perfection - we fall short - we blame - we "try harder" - fall short - blame...

    It took my mind to Ted Haggard's fall from grace with his church and so many who looked to him for spiritual leadership. My sister's church in Kansas City area is losely affiliated with New Life. They told me at christmas that the entire church staff is going through a "morality assessment" and could be let go if the assessor do not like what they find. I was horrifed by that. I suppose it was designed to ease the congregation's uncertainty about the church's standing, but...I just thought Salem Witch Trials.

    I also wondered how the church there is treating Mr. Haggard. Instead of shock and indignation, I felt sorrow and pain for him. The church - often the part with evangelical leanings - has a real problem with perfectionism, and as a result, blame. It seems systematic at times.

    What I wanted to know, was how you might see this? Also, wanted to thank you and the staff for consistantly leaning on and promoting God's grace. You don't let us off the hook for what is sin, but I have never, in 18 years felt a spirit of condemnation here.

    Be well.

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  6. I knew there was a problem with perfection when I almost had a perfect score and I had written a do to list on the bulletin insert around the "are you perfect" test...

    I am a women of high expectations.

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  7. I guess I'm just a little confused at what the problem is with "black and white" thinking. Christ teaches us not to be on the fence and to take a stance, I just cannont place its meaning within a "perfectionist" sermon...

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  8. i went on a date yesterday and it turned out so awkward, we just didn't hit it off contrary to my expectation, i mean we all hope for the best and try our best. i felt terrible today. in retrospect i thought that we can be really successful, "perfectionistic" in our careers but dating is not something i do everyday.
    So it was good to read something with a practical side to it.
    It was good to just "exhale" my awkward dating experience, and it is good to have friends to ask for prayer.
    thanks.
    God Bless - keep on posting, Google did a good job finding your site for me.

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