LEBANON, Tenn. (BP)–It was probably fourth or fifth grade. I had a paper due that had to be written on one clean sheet of paper — in ink.
Being the type A, first-born perfectionist that I have struggled to overcome being, I was in hysterics. Tearfully running the third or fourth copy of my masterpiece to my parents to proofread, only to have them find yet another mistake, I returned to the kitchen table to rewrite a fifth or sixth draft while I hyperventilated over the realization that it would “never be right.”
It was more than my frustrated writer’s heart could bear. And it was definitely no picnic for the rest of the family who had to share the space with me. I’m sure even my teacher would have said, “Just hand the blasted paper in, Lisa. It’s good enough.” But, no. I needed perfection. No red marks on my paper, please — except for maybe a “Good work!” and an “A+.”
Since my paper was required by my teacher on a specific date, I finally had to stop rewriting it and turn it in. But that’s not the case with so many other challenges I have struggled to overcome. Sadly, I have to confess to quitting more than once when things haven’t gone my way or even to not beginning something that I can’t envision ever being done perfectly. My critical nature is a handicap that can leave me stuck in a safe, but never progressing, rut of frustrating insecurity if I let it. It even can lead to obsession with what I see as insurmountable failures and mistakes.
But God doesn’t see me that way. Oh no and hallelujah! When Job was in the pit (could anyone blame him?), God showed him the light of a new day. I’ve made mistakes. So what? God wants to clean me off and keep on using me just as He’s designed me to be used. Simple yet utterly incredible news for someone like me.
Is it good news for you, too? If you’ve ever felt as though you just can’t lift your head to face another day, it is good news. If you’ve made mistakes that can’t be covered by correction fluid, it is. If you believe that you are too worn out and thread bare to be of any more use, oh yeah, it’s good news for you, too.
“Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!” (Lamentations 3:23).
Whose faithfulness are we talking about? The Lord’s. Again, it’s a corny old word, but the only one that really fits — Hallelujah!
Okay then. Lift up the corners of your raggedy old self, and let God shake you out. Night is over, and there’s a new day dawning. Imperfect as you are, He is faithful to you, and you have been assigned a place like the dawns. “You will do well to pay attention to it, as to a lamp shining in a dismal place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19). Hallelujah! It’s morning!
Lisa is a freelance writer who lives with her husband, Chuck, their three kids, two dogs, and two cats on a farm in Middle Tennessee.