Perfection. It sounds like such a pretty word, doesn’t it? We use it to describe a meal that was cooked just right. A house that is immaculately cleaned, or a turtle sundae with just the right balance of pecans, hot fudge and caramel! Mmmm! Can’t you just feel that wonderful combination melting in your mouth after a long week’s worth of exercise and calorie counting? I know I can.
Turtle sundaes may not be your thing, but they just happen to be mine. Whatever that thing is that floats your boat… get the taste of it in your mind and close your eyes for a minute and imagine it being prepared that one right way. What’s the first thing you’d likely say after you sigh and smile? Probably something like “Mmmm, this is perfect!”
A pretty word that loves to pull us in just to get us into trouble. Its greatest allure is that it looks amazing, but it doesn’t really exist. It is a time thief, a vainglorious game of smoke and mirrors that when you finally pull back the curtain on it, you find out there’s really no such thing as The Wiz. It’s just a vicious cycle that causes you to chase what isn’t there or even more often, makes you do nothing at all since you can never seem to obtain this coveted level of perfection you seek. Can I be blunt here? Perfection is like a well-dressed man that looks spectacular from a distance, but when you get up close you can see that the collar of his shirt is filthy and he wreaks with the stench of last week’s funk. (Sorry gentlemen). Perfection is a mind-binding optical illusion that discourages and stagnates us. Can I free you up? There is none perfect except Christ, so our laser focus should be pleasing Him through a little vehicle known as devotion and discipline, not by trying to be perfect.
Now that isn’t such a pretty word. The mere thought of it usually sends our soulish thinking into a tailspin. Discipline sounds like the hard way up the hill, one more thing to overwhelm our already overflowing plates, and the sweat equity it requires usually isn’t one we look forward to. But can I tell you that embracing discipline can bring about amazing results and peace? The bible puts it this way in Hebrews 12:11…
“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
I learned this firsthand when the Holy Spirit recently started wooing me to wake up at 4am each morning. I’d rejected the idea for years, but with my dreams, goals and physical health beating down my door for change, I decided to yield to the Lord’s prompting. You see the thing is, I already had to get up at 5am on weekdays. What was getting up an hour earlier going to render me other than a terrible lack of sleep? I wanted to change the narrative in my life, and perfection had already written me off as a failure because try as I might, I just couldn’t do it. But where perfection had written me a pink slip, discipline said; you’re hired!
With each passing day I found that I was able to get more done in less time. This is probably because my 4am wake-up calls started with prayer, devotions and exercise. Pretty soon I had traded in my rushed and frustrated mornings for days filled to the brim with peace. My house was cleaner, outlook and attitude better and my body slimmer! Everything isn’t perfect even now, but yielding to the Lord in the area of discipline has made everything in my world a whole lot better!
So, I encourage you to give yourself a break and choose discipline. Sounds funny, doesn’t it? Discipline has gotten a bad rap for being a hard taskmaster, but the real slave driver is perfection! Perfection is never satisfied, while discipline only asks you to rest if you must, but don’t quit. Perfection wants everything right now, while discipline encourages you to just focus on one day at a time. With perfection at the helm I’m overly stressed and rarely get much of anything done because I’m too busy critiquing myself instead working toward progress. But with discipline, I feel accomplished by continuing today what I started yesterday. I feel like I have time and grace as I face each day with growth and discipline, instead of the condemning voice of perfection.
Do you have some things in your life that you need to change? I’m pretty sure you do. Do those things require action? Absolutely. But choose to tackle them by cooperating with the Holy Spirit through consistency and discipline, and tell perfection to take a back seat. I promise you in no time you’ll be surprised at how far you’ve come and how much peace you have. It may sound counter intuitive, but Discipline really is greater than perfection. I can say that with confidence because I’m living proof!
BY: Ronda TruFiyah
Ronda has a knack for infusing great music with great verse! She is a single mother, a writer, a minister, a sister, a daughter, and a friend… but most of all, she is a child of God. She is His perfectly imperfect proof that broken things, battered things, and seemingly unusable things, can be revived and restored.