Christmas Countdown 2020 Day 15


At some point in my adult journey, someone was listening to me complain about my failed attempts at some project and interjected with counsel about my need to overcome my perfectionism. 

I responded with exasperation that she was obviously not listening to a thing I just said because clearly I was the farthest thing from perfect that you could get. Did she not just hear how short I had fallen on my expectations for myself?????

While I can’t remember which long-suffering friend it was who confronted me with this, I do remember her eyes just blinking at me for several long seconds until I said….oh. 

I want to do all things well.

And by well, I mean the standard I have deemed to be excellent for a given task.

So I meticulously fold the laundry the way I think it should be folded and load the dishwasher the way I think it should be loaded and you name it. I have my criteria of what is acceptable and if I am in a hurry and decide that 80% perfect is what I am going to have that day, than I can mark off another task done as done correctly. But for the rest of the day I can beat myself up over how I could have done it better.

When I taught classes at church, I didn’t want to see the evaluations at the end of the session. Any mark less than the highest was devastating. If 6 was excellent than a 5 on any point meant I failed the whole thing. To me there is no “constructive criticism.” It’s all destructive. 

Now before you go giving me your lectures, please hear me. Many of you do not struggle with perfectionism and that is cool. You have a quick answer for people like me but you need to walk a mile in my shoes, that took me quite a while to select this morning because I wasn’t sure what would look right with this particular pair of jeans.

This is a natural-man tendency in me that, thanks be to God, He is working out of me year after year…but it is something I struggle with overcoming, just like others of you struggle with your natural wiring.

 So today’s passage is one that I have to stop and mediate on and apply.

As I read this passage this morning, I think of how it would come off to me if Paul were saying it to my face. Or had commented at the bottom of my evaluation sheet….

Brothers and sisters, we taught you how to live in a way that will please God, and you are living that way. Now we ask and encourage  you in the Lord Jesus to live that way even more. 

1 Thessalonians 4:1

I would read it as something like this:

Laura, you have learned the things we taught you that are pleasing to God and we are so blessed to see how you are doing them. You are living the very things we taught you. Good job. Now do it better. 


I am meeting the expectation but I need to improve?

Already my tummy is in a knot. 

I missed the mark. 

I want details. 

What didn’t I do well enough? I have a good excuse. Let me explain…Give me another chance. 

Ha! The litany of the Perfectionist! I know it well! 

But God is showing me here that pleasing Him is not a check list to be performed on a grading scale.

I am not being evaluated. 

I am being commended and encouraged. Exhorted, if you will.

I have learned some things about how to walk with Jesus and I have made the commitment to do it every day.

So today, I will do it some more. And as I follow His teachings, I will be stretched to apply them to new levels…day after day…one step at a time. 

It’s a journey, not a destination. 

Journey onward, my friends, in the ways you have been taught that are pleasing to God and then do it more <3

Share and Save: