I’m giving up on perfect. Again. I’ve been in a crappy mood this week and I’m feeling out of sorts. As I write this, I’m scowling. My husband ‘made’ me take a nap this week – because I’m grumpy. I’m not usually grumpy but I have ups and downs like everyone else. I’m a serious type of person but usually not stern or grumpy. So, he noticed and sent me to bed.
What does this have to do with me giving up on perfect? Well, I’ll tell you. I’m tired. That’s it. I’m tired. A lot. I do too much, too much. Last week I had a revelation. It repeated itself this week. I’m sure It will repeat until I FINALLY get it.
Last week, my church did a fast. It was called a Daniel fast and it lasted for seven days. Now, the idea was to give up meat, sweets, and bread for the seven day period. I talked to my husband and we decided to do it together. However, neither of us had done a fast before. We decided to do a fast from red meat, sweets, and bread. We decided to have veggies and fruit for lunch too. We also decided we’d eat nothing from the time we finished dinner until noon the next day when we’d eat lunch (an intermittent fast). Then, I adjusted the menu for the week and ordered groceries.
The church set up a Facebook group and I was invited. I didn’t have a lot of time during the preparation week, so I skimmed the posts and moved along. The fast started on Sunday and went through Saturday. The point was to seek God through this fasting week.
Sunday we did not participate in the fast. We weren’t prepared and had not planned to do so. We still went to church and heard an excellent message. We kept our original plans to go get take out, go to my mom’s house to give her an errant Christmas gift, and came home. We had chicken for dinner.
Monday was crazy. My brain thought I was starving. I added a snack in the middle of the day to fill the hole. We did well, we both at the right things. I was sort of wondering how I was supposed to get in touch with God during this period. So, I just prayed more through the day. I began to get grumpy.
Tuesday was even worse. We ordered some additional items that were on the approved list as I realized that we were not fully prepared. We didn’t have nuts and we didn’t have enough fruit. I thought the veggies would be enough. They weren’t.
This day, I rushed around picking up groceries, doing chores around the house, editing my book, and doing a post for this blog. Things seemed like they were in fast forward and out of control. I was frazzled. At some point through the day, I had a notification from the Facebook group and I checked it. I suddenly realized that people were also not drinking coffee and they were not doing things that I was doing. They were also much more hungry than I seemed to be. I shrugged at the time.
At 5:30 I stopped working for the day and went to change into my workout gear. While I was changing my self-talk changed dramatically. My mind took off on a crazy-train-tangent and I went along for the ride. The first self-voice: I’m not doing the fast correctly. The second self-voice: I’m not perfect, I made a mistake.One:Jesus made lots of sacrifices and you can’t even give up coffee. Two: I’m not Jesus. I tried to let it go.
Then I went to go exercise. I turned on a yoga video that integrated breath and guided focus on the breath. About half way through the teacher gave a invitation to breathe and seek something from the universe. I do not believe the universe gives me anything. So, during these times, I seek God and the Holy Spirit for guidance. I say in my mind “Holy Spirit, come, you are welcome here.” Then I wait. This night I said that in my mind, then I said “God, what would you have me know in this fasting period?”
There was no pause, no moments of uncertainty. I had a swift, immediate answer: “You don’t have to be perfect.” I breathed in and breathed out and felt to my core that this was the truth. This was my answer. This was what God wanted to tell me in my time of fasting. This was the knowledge that I sought while I was fasting.
Here is what flows from this truth:
- We do not have to be perfect to be loved.
- We do not have to be perfect to be forgiven.
- We do not have to be perfect to be shown mercy and grace.
- We do not have to be perfect to be his daughter.
- We do not have to be perfect to be purposed.
- We do not have to be perfect to be okay.
- We do not have to be perfect for anything.
- We do not have to be perfect to be known.
- We do not have to be perfect to be seen.
- We don’t have to be perfect to be in God’s presence.
- We do not have to be perfect.
There are more truths that flow from the truth that we don’t have to be perfect. We are forgiven and that makes us righteous in God’s eyes. We are covered with the blood that Jesus sacrificed on the cross. We are purposed and seen and known in this life. Our names are marked into the book of life and are written in the scars on Jesus’ hands. We have admittance into the throne room where we can worship our God because of Jesus. He paid our cover charge.
Knowing this simple truth sets us free. We are free from the comparison trap. We are free from the lies of this world that tangle us up. We are free from expectations that don’t match with reality. We are free from trying so hard instead of being who we are. We are free from the stains of sins that trip us up. We are free.
The rest of the week was better. I was still trying to do too much but in my heart, I was okay. I maintained my commitment to fast. I was not as grumpy. Before I know it, we were at the end. I had even forgotten about all the things I couldn’t have. I forgot about my comparison. I only remembered to be loved.
I was reminded again that Sunday that I don’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to be Jesus. We were having a family devotion. Our week was a little difficult relationally. We have constant ups and downs in our home as we try to adapt and become a family. The devotion asked what we learned from watching Jesus. My husband said grace and mercy, I said forgiveness, my step-daughter said patience. In all of that, I was reminded and said out loud we are not perfect when we follow Jesus. We try and we fail and yet still we try.
That’s the point. We are not perfect, yet our cover charge has been paid, and we reap all the benefits of that cover. Still, we seek to follow Jesus. Isn’t that the point of being a Christian? That’s where I had gotten lost and what God wanted to guide me to. Just follow Jesus, just seek Jesus, just do what Jesus said was right and good. If you do that, you’ll be okay. You don’t need to be perfect because Jesus was perfect. He’s got you covered.