Comfort for Imperfect Performers

 



 

My husband’s favorite snack mix is a mixture of Corn Chex, Rice Chex, and raisins, which he mixes with olive oil and peanut butter and then bakes in the oven. When he takes it out of the oven, it smells so good. I could eat quite a lot of it. He’s glad to share it with me, but sometimes I eat more than my share. 

This morning, I noticed that the snack mix was almost gone, so I put what remained of it in a cup, walked downstairs, sat in the rocker beside my husband, and said,”I’m eating the last of your snack mix.” (Pause) “But that’s okay because I didn’t eat much of the last batch; you ate most of it.”

“There, you justified yourself,” he said. We both laughed.

What does it mean to justify ourselves? It means that we try to cover up an action that we feel guilty about by making a legitimate (good-sounding) “reason” for our action. 

Did I need to prove to my husband that it was okay for me to finish off the snack mix? Not really. He’s very generous and willing to share. There must have been some doubt in my mind about my motives.

Although I’ve been a follower of Jesus for many years, I still tend to struggle with doubt. Not doubt about who Jesus is and what he did for me by his death and resurrection. Just doubt about me. Doubt about my performance as his follower. I want to be the “perfect” follower. 

When I feel impatient with my progress toward perfection, I might silently scold myself with these kinds of comments:

“By now, I should have learned that!”
“God must be disappointed in me.”

What does this self-accusation do for me? Nothing good!  It stirs up despair in my soul, it makes my body feel tense, and it causes me to become self-centered–so preoccupied with my performance that I can’t see the needs of those around me. 

One night, I was restless and could not sleep. These words of Scripture popped up in my mind: “It is God who justifies.” They were the comforting words given to followers of Jesus in the 8th chapter of Romans. To be justified means to be declared innocent and made acceptable.

God’s message to me was that I needed to stop worrying about my “performance” and put my confidence in his performance. Perfection is his work. The following Scripture verse states that so beautifully!

Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.  All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen. (Jude 24 and 25 NLT)


Suggested Activity: Reflect on the above Scripture and the following poem. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you. Then, write your thoughts in a journal entry. 


Jesus, thank you for this day
Holy Spirit, help me stay

On the pathway you mark out
Shield my soul from fear and doubt

In your love, I will remain
By your power, I’ll refrain

From doing what in the past
Kept my soul from peace and rest

Quickly, show me when my mind
Receives a lie—any kind

Help me reject and replace
Deception’s voice with your grace—

And love-filled Truth! Patiently
You shepherd me—faithfully,

You’ll persist until that day
When before you I display

The perfect work you have done—
Most Holy God, Glorious One!

1/29/18 Jane Ault

8 thoughts on “Comfort for Imperfect Performers

  1. This is such a good reminder that we need to focus on God and allow Him to guide at all times. He’ll lead us where we need to go and to what we need to be doing. We only need to be confident of our Heavenly Father.

    • I like the way you stated your comment, Diane. “we All need!” That common need (when we recognize it) brings us together at the cross, where in forgiving-love all of our needs are fulfilled.

  2. Thank you, Jane. This is such a great word of encouragement. I’m sure many of us need to feel like we are living our Christian lives out perfectly. If we could do that, we wouldn’t really need a Savior! I love the verse in Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again.” (NLT) As Ruth Bell Graham’s tombstone states “End of Construction. Thank you for your patience.” We are all under construction and I, for one, am glad He is not finished with me yet!

    • Thank you for your comment, Sandy! I’m glad you felt encouraged by my words. I did not know about the inscription on Ruth Bell Graham’s tombstone. What a fantastic statement. Encouraging words like hers (and yours) help motivate me to stay in the race until the final day.

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