Sunday, January 13, 2019

Clinging to Perfection in this Imperfect World...

I wasn't very old when my youthful idealism and sensitive spirit collided with the ugly reality of this imperfect world-loud, sometimes violent, arguments, Mama's depression and stay in the mental hospital, Daddy's affair and decision to leave Mama and us kids. I coped by frequently escaping into the perfect world I built in my imagination. In my mind I fashioned a perfect little house and a perfect little family-my dream of what life would be like when I grew up.

It was our freshman year of college. I fell in love with his icy blue eyes, that dimple that only shows up when he's caught off guard smiling or laughing, and his singing voice. We got married the following summer. But, our life and marriage was nothing like I had dreamed it would be! Still in college, we lived in a small, furnished apartment, not the cozy cottage of my imagination. We were opposites from each other in so many ways, except for our common trait that we both had strong opinions that we very stubbornly clung to, butting heads frequently in our willfulness. The perfect life I had dreamed of was not to be. It took me a long, long time to let go of my perfectionist ideals, to accept the life I had, and to see how blessed I was in the middle of my life's messy imperfection.

I still lean towards being an idealist. I'm still shocked when betrayed by a friend, when a church leader fails, when I see the awful things people say to one another on social media, when I watch horrific things on the news. Perhaps the idealist tendency is in many of us. Perhaps it's because something in us knows that this sin twisted world wasn't supposed to be this way. It was supposed to be perfect, sinless, unmarred.

How do we cope with the reality of life in this imperfect world without sinking into despair? The answer is found in clinging to Perfection. Not perfectionism. Perfection. I'm talking about clinging to the God Who is Holy and perfect in all of His ways. The One in Whom there is not one iota of darkness, not even a hint of a shadow. When I cling to my perfect Heavenly Father and allow Him to fill up my empty love bucket, I'm much less prone to be perpetually disappointed in my fallible human husband, friends, and family members. I'm well aware of the fact that they are incapable of being my all in all and so they are set free from my unrealistic expectations. Instead, my hope and expectation is placed in the only Perfect, Worthy and Faithful One. I trust Him and I am not disappointed.

I also cling to the infallible truth of God's Word. When I cling to God's Truth, I'm not knocked off of my foundation when someone lies to me or misleads me. God's Word keeps my footsteps firm and my direction sure. His Word tells me the truth about life in this imperfect world, and how to be a victorious overcomer in the midst of it. His Word reveals to me my own imperfections and heals, washes, delivers, and transforms me and brings me into freedom. Yes, freedom can be mine, and yours, too, as we cling to God and to His Word. Fantastic freedom, right here, in the middle of life's messy imperfection.

"And I will walk at liberty and at ease, for I have sought and inquired for [and desperately required] Your precepts." Ps. 119:45 AMPC


  1. I am sorry that you had to endure such hardships. I too have leaned to lean on the perfect word of the Lord. People are fallible and each of us on our own journeys. I am learning to trust in the Lord and forgive and I pray that those I have been less than perfect with will offer me forgiveness and grace as well.

    1. As I look back, God’s goodness to me as been so abundant, through all of life’s challenges. I’m not sure I’d have clung so tightly to Him and His Word and experienced this sweet fellowship I have with Him, if life had been smooth and easy.

  2. I love what you said, "...they are incapable of being my all in all and so they are set free from my unrealistic expectations." That is a meaningful statement for me. Not only am I set free from thinking they can attain this status but THEY are too! :-)

    I love this encouraging quote from RC Sproul ~ “We are secure, not because we hold tightly to Jesus, but because he holds tightly to us.”

    Thanks for sharing your heart, Elizabeth, and a glimpse into the hard places you endured as a child.

  3. I'm so thankful we have a Father in heaven who is not like man! I've been surprised by my fellow humans, especially in the past year. Just like you, it draws me ever nearer to my Lord who is so completely different than us.

  4. We had to write a letter my sophomore year of high school about what our life would be like in 10 years. It was like a contract to myself - describing what the guy I would marry be like - as a husband and a father - and describing the life I wanted - that wasn't the life I was living - with the brokenness of being a child of divorce. I think we could sit long and talk much - but I think that contract helped keep me on a good path - I knew what kind of life I didn't want - and I wanted to make decisions to build what I thought was happy, content life with a faithful husband who loved me. Like you - there were modifications - and like you - I am an optimist. Because God was in all of it - I think it turned out better than I imagined - though it hasn't been perfect. It's had its challenges - most of them because of the brokenness of divorce. I love what God has done in your dream!!!


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