(scene from The Little Giants)
"...has it occurred to you that you are...well,

...a little intimidating?

I mean, that maybe when other people look at you, they see that you've set the bar so high for yourself that we all assume that you set the bar that high for us too - even if you don't think you do? And that some people feel inadequate just being around you, or when they see your online posts, or when you're teaching..."

The Lord knows that I'm in a time of my life when I need to hear hard things. I've had conversations where something like the above comment was mentioned FIVE times in the last couple months - which means God is trying a message through!! And He has been faithful to put in my path a women who are faithful to speak those hard things. In love, because they care. He has also given me the gift of Will, who knows me better than anyone else, and is openly honest with me about my weaknesses.

When it comes to my own heart and my relationship with the Lord - I want perfection. I want excellence all of the time. I want to be a beautiful ambassador for Jesus.

I have been so full of pride. I have faltered while thinking I'm okay.

One of the proverbs that utterly. terrifies. me. is 25:26:
A righteous man who falters before the wicked is like a murky spring and a polluted well.

Do you know what happens when people try to find refreshment by drinking from a murky spring or polluted well?! Disease! Maybe even death! They end up sicker and weaker than when they began!

I cannot describe to you the deep-down terror I feel at the idea that someone would come to me for encouragement, or examine my life to see what Jesus is all about, and go away from me spiritually weaker than when they began. I want my life, my heart, my words, my actions, my motives to be a neon sign that points straight to Jesus Christ and His mercy and love and patience and might - always. And because of that, I don't graciously tolerate less than perfection from myself, as it pertains to my journey with the Lord.

The strife comes when I project that desire for "perfect" onto other people. Like my husband, or daughters, or fellow moms, or other brothers & sisters in the Lord, or ...anyone. There is pain, discord, and broken fellowship when I hold them to the standard that only Jesus Christ can attain!

People let people down. I let people down every single day (mainly, Will & the girls, because they are who I spend most of my time with!). It's what people do! I have been so foolish to expect & require perfection from everyone around me and myself. For years, I have been breaking hearts and driving the people I love the most AWAY from the Savior, because I inadvertently expected them to look exactly like Him when really I expected that I should look exactly like Him.

God is showing me (because I'm finally willing to see!!) that there is a huge difference between:
1) expecting/demanding consistent excellence from myself and others, and
2) striving toward becoming excellent in those areas where Jesus has called me while gently guiding and encouraging others to also strive toward excellence in those areas where Jesus has called them.

For instance:
Doing these things
  • demanding my daughters have a perfectly clean room, flawless manners, and impeccably sweet attitudes all of the time only teaches my daughters that it's the outward appearance that matters.
  • expecting myself to be able to maintain a perfectly clean home every single day only leave me feeling guilty and overwhelmed by my struggle with laziness - and may compel me to only worry about the surface cleaning - taking shortcuts to make sure everything looks okay at a first glance.
  • requiring that my husband should always be completely loving - patience, kind, not arrogant, not rude, never failing - teaches him that I think he's a failure because he can't do what only Jesus can do.
...kills joy, love, peace, patience...you name it. No wonder I'm a drag to be around! Ugh!

But this approach
  • extending grace to my girls when their room is not clean - maybe giving appropriate consequences when they trash the place but understanding that they are girls and they love to play with each other (and what a huge blessing that is!), or reminding them as many times as necessary to say thank you/please/excuse me/etc because love is kind, or remembering that even I don't have an impeccably sweet attitude all of the time and showing them what repentance looks like when I don't...that teaches them that the Lord cares about their hearts and how they treat others.
  • giving myself grace when the dishes are still in the sink or the laundry is still in the washer, and just getting up every morning and trying for one. more. day. to battle the desire to be lazy, knowing that each small victory is a step toward excellence.
  • encouraging Will to look to Jesus as the example while pouring grace and mercy all over his heart when he gets distracted...
fosters life - abundant life in Christ! - and growth in the Spirit.

Oh, Lord, I'm so slow, but I'm learning. I'm so sorry that I resisted Your way of grace for so long, to Will's grief and the girls' frustration, and to the hurt of my friends & family. Help me to let go of my deadly grip on intimidating perfection & my own excellence, and to lean hard on Your grace, Your compassion, and Your excellence. It's not my perfection in You that draws people; it's You loving me patiently in my imperfection that is most beautiful.

Seeking His excellence,
for His glory!

This post has been shared over at these encouraging Link-up parties!

[If this post has encouraged, blessed, or inspired you, please leave a comment or share it with friends!]


  1. I can relate so much to this. I agree that there is a fine line between the two. It just seems that too many christians go the opposite way and make excused for themselves left and right. Sometimes as if they aren't even striving to do better, for God's glory. I really enjoyed the examples you gave. This Christian walk is so hard, isn't it? ;)

    1. The Word says that Jesus was full of both grace and truth, but it's so easy for us to fall into one of two extremes: grace, with little or no truth (doing whatever we want, knowing we'll be forgiven - this cheapens our understanding of God's holiness!), or truth, with little to no grace (always harping on ourselves and others for what they are doing wrong - the camp I find myself living in - this overlooks God's mercy!). The struggle is to keep our gazes steady upon the One who was the perfect fulfillment of truth AND grace!!

      Thanks for stopping by! :)

  2. I love this - one of the core values I have at the heart of my writing is to be honest about my weaknesses, mistakes and failures in the hope that I can encourage others. I think we have to be very careful if we work hard at presenting a glossy outward appearance.
    Thanks for sharing at Essential Fridays.
    Mel from Essential Thing Devotions

    1. Thanks for the encouragement! For YEARS I tried (and mostly 'succeeded') to hold that glossy outward appearance together; and in the last year or so my circumstances have made it so that I can't do glossy anymore. What freedom! I've learned to bless the Lord for allowing all of these things, because they've brought me to the place where I am free to be transparent and honest. How foolish I've been to clamor for His perfection without Him. But God...!

      Thank you for hosting the Essential Friday Link-up!