I'm a bit of a perfectionist. I'd really prefer to reserve that title for the obsessively clean, the compulsively neat, or those who have their clothing color-coded and organized according to the seasons. I am none of those, but what I do, and how I think, are most certainly a version of perfectionism.
I don't care much for major decision making. It stresses me out. Too many choices cripple my brain. I hate it. The perfectionist streak in me is actually less of a streak and more of a broad sweeping stroke of paralysis slathered across my brain. I want things to go well, very well. I want things to be right, just right. Otherwise, I tend to freeze.
This doesn't make me a special breed of human being. Most people want things to go well, don't they? Add to that my Christian faith, and instead of making things easier, things wind up getting very hard.
Christians should get it right, that's what we preach. Not only should Christians get it right, they should get it right far more often than anyone else. It can be a choosing a house. It can be a meeting your mate. It can be relocating to a new city. We are supposed to get these things right more often than normal. Nothing should be a gamble.
Having God in your life, with His Spirit as your personal friend and guide, really ought to come with some guarantees, wouldn't you say? Why do we still 'mess up'? Why do we still end up at dead ends in career or relationships? Why, after praying and looking for answers to the pesky problems of life, do we still not know which direction to go in or which choice to make. Where is the big neon sign that says 'Christians, Go This Way"?
What I suffer from is a 'need to know' brand of perfectionism. I like to know the end from the beginning. Yes, I took those words straight from Isaiah 46:10, and yes, Isaiah was referring to God, not me. I seems that I am NOT the one who ought to know the end from the beginning. That's not my status, my title, my pay grade. Yet, sometimes I knead my poor brain into a lumpy blob of worry and anxiety all because I want to know unequivocally how things will end.
This is a condition I routinely deal with, so I have come to love a particular verse of scripture, also in Isaiah, that draws me away from fret and into peace:
"Whether you go to the left or the right, a voice whispers, this is the way, walk in it." Isaiah 30:21
If I go left, If I go right, whichever way I go. The Voice goes with me.
Take the job, leave the job. The Voice goes with you. Marry him, do not marry him. The Voice goes with you. Wear the purple dress, wear the blue dress. The Voice goes with you. Get a loan. don't get a loan. The Voice goes with you. In the end, God is with you. That is always the one certain thing, the very best thing, but can we learn to let it be enough?
Sometimes we don't realize that we have not actually put everything in God until we the illusion that we are in control is shattered by our failures and mistakes. There is no choice, no single choice of ours that could unravel the plans of the God of the Universe.
Nothing can alter God's plans, and nothing can separate us from His love,
so can we learn to let Him be enough?
If you go left, and going left leads you to a brick wall covered in slippery moss, turn around and keep moving. Change your mind. Change your direction. We don't have to stay frozen in time, waiting until we have the perfect answers. Mistakes and obstacles are not indicators that you are a lousy Christian! Be willing to say, "this isn't working" and then move on towards a solution or new path.
If we examine the many stories of faith laid out for us in scripture, there won't be a single example to support our modern 'need to know' behavior. The reason these stories are such great examples for Christians today is precisely because Abraham, Moses, Jeremiah, Peter, Mary, Esther, none of them knew for certain how things were going to end, but they moved forward anyway because they were going with God.
Perhaps this is why the trials come, the mountains rise up and the plans fall through, perhaps it is that we must, at every turn, remember that the priceless privilege of walking through life with God is always enough.
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