I’m not sure how it grabs you, but when I see perfection or even hear the word, I immediately want to mess things up – or run the other way – or stop the progress. Because surely I’ve achieved a level of mediocrity that I can live with. Good enough is good enough. That is truly me. Can I tell you how many times friends have pointed out to me the Hallmark card or Dove wrapper that says: “its OK to be flawed and fabulous” A lot.
So what was I thinking to subtitle my newest adventure: practicing and perfecting walking with Christ? If you ask me, it even sounds a smidge boastful. Is that the image I want to give people who don’t even know me? Of course, if you know me, you know my love of mediocrity and the easy road. You know my family’s motto is to work as fast as you can so you can go out and play. My husband coined that one for my family of origin. And it’s true! Always picking the easy way to do things. Never needing anything to be perfect – not even close. And valuing playtime above all things in life.
And practice!? What’s that?
If it doesn’t come naturally there is no shame in giving up.
It’s not your strength.
Work smarter not harder.
If you can’t do it well, then do it fast.
These are ‘tapes’ that I’ve played in my head for five decades. I hate practicing as much as I hate perfectionism. All those piano lessons. Wasted on one song, Love Story. I can play Love Story. That was one expensive song for my mom. My sister’s one song is Fur Elise. But I digress.
So, what’s changed? Why do I desire to live in such a way that requires practice? And perfection – eventually – and by eventually I mean in heaven. Perhaps because I’ve realized – some time in the past few years – that the Christian life is hard. That anything worth having is worth fighting for. That accomplishment, diligence, perseverance and such things are very rewarding. I’m sure Carrie Luke taking up violin lessons in her forties also had something to do with it. And wanting to emulate friends who rise early in the morning just so they can have alone time with God. All of that. But here’s where the main inspiration for adding “perfecting” in the title came from: C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity: “What does Jesus mean by ‘Be ye perfect’ (Matt 5:48)? The only help I will give is help to become perfect. You may want something less: But I will give you nothing less.”