I like pretty things.
I like pretty notebooks and colorful pens and washi tape. I like to decorate all the things…I’ve been known to take perfectly sized pieces of card-stock into bookmarks using some of the aforementioned tools. I watch hand-lettering videos on Skillshare and have given Calligraphy a
failed attempt in the past. I like things that are pleasing to the eye.
I also like organized things.
I have no shortage of checklists and post it notes filled with things that I need to do. I browse Pinterest and Instagram (my current fascination is the Bullet Journal trend I stumbled upon on Instagram). I have purchased and put to use multiple planners (my favorite is from Emily Ley); have a calendar on my desk and one on our refrigerator. I manage our budget with a notebook and a piece of paper. I’m just that
anally retentive OCD about things having a place and a purpose and having a place and a purpose neatly.
All of this is fine…except for when it isn’t. When I find myself anxious over what isn’t in place…or what isn’t looking like I want it to look. I have a beautiful new leather bound Journaling Bible that came from Crossway Books…and a big, huge part of me is scared to use it because I don’t want to mess it up with my imperfect handwriting and lettering. I’m not an expert and so many of these beautiful Bible’s that I see filling my Instagram feed are pure works of art compared to my menial attempts at this kind of creativity.
I shared a photo on Facebook the other day when my new Bible arrived. All wrapped up and nicely packaged in its perfectly shiny white box. The leather unscratched, the tie strap in it’s own plastic bag so as to not get lost. I also shared that I didn’t feel worthy of this Bible. I already don’t feel worthy of the message that’s inside of it or the good news that it brings. I have a beautiful ESV Study Bible that I love and read as earnestly as I can. But something about this Bible with it’s blank margins that are screaming to be filled in with prayers from my heart & cries for Jesus during whatever seasons, praises for his goodness…
I sat at the table while the littlest boy slept and the two biggest boys (being my husband and our oldest son) were at football practice with this beautiful book and a cup of coffee. I turned it over in my hands a few times; took a few deep inhales of the intoxicating leather smell; and set it aside.
I can’t do this Lord. I’ll ruin it. Your word…your book…your greatness within the pages of this Bible deserve the greatest quality and the greatest beauty and the greatest designs man can create. And that won’t come from me. I am unworthy of this…
See, my need for perfection…
my desire to have it all look like I think it should…
my belief that I’m not good enough…
not creative enough…
not whatever enough…
You see, I’m not good enough…creative enough…strong enough…smart enough…pretty enough…graceful enough…popular enough…forgiving enough…patient enough…kind enough…loving enough…smart enough…tough enough…faithful enough…whatever enough…for Him.
Not on my own I’m not.
I came into this world a sinner. Tainted and stained and drenched in my own filthy human nature. Long before my ancestor’s were even on this Earth, I was ruined. We are born into sin. We are born into unrighteousness.
You and I were doomed before we ever got started. My [almost] three year old son? Doomed. My [almost] seven year old son? Doomed. The beautiful baby you’re holding? Doomed [God willing that he or she continues to grow as we all pray our children will]. We aren’t given the chance to prove ourselves before our fate is sealed. Why? Because none of us are righteous…not one (src). It’s sealed the day that we take a breath on this earth and begin to grow into our sin nature. We can’t do any of it on our own and we certainly can’t prove ourselves to the God of the universe and convince Him that we have something that He will surely want to spare from the eternities of Hell.
The good news is, however, that God says His grace is sufficient for us and that HIS power is made perfect in our weakness (src). As I sat at my lonely little table…my heart aching to create but feeling completely unable and unwilling to make a mark that might ruin something so beautiful, God whispered to my soul…
You know you don’t have to be perfect. I never asked you to be. I never expected you to be. I never wanted you to be. What I want is for you to trust me and give me your all. Give me 100% of who you are, and just let me do the rest. You’ll never achieve perfection this side of eternity. If you did? Then my grace? The cross? It would be pointless.
When I took a deep breath and let that truth resonate within me, I realized how deeply my perfectionism was hindering me. Hindering what He has planned because I won’t get out of my own way and let Him work. I have a tendency to think that I can do it by myself and that I know what God is thinking or planning. And I really, really don’t.
I shudder to think about how many opportunities I have missed or how many blessings I have stepped beyond because I was too busy with my own agenda. Trying to push beyond my own means and handle it all on my own.
And my heart cry is that you realize this, too. That you’ll see that all of your work…all of your attempts to “get there” (wherever there is), trying to make it perfect, trying to make it as good as someone else’s, trying to prove yourself, trying to live up to the expectations…
You’re never going to be perfect. You’re never going to live up to the standard that Christ has set. You’re never going to be worthy of the gift of salvation. It’s time to stop trying.
Stop chasing perfectionism and chase grace.
Chase accomplishing all of the things that are on your heart for HIS glory and not your own.
Believe that HE is enough and that you are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before for you to do so that YOU WOULD DO THEM (src).
I picked up my journaling bible and began to write. I outlined and sketched and colored in a little something in recognition of one of my favorite verses in all of scripture. I prayed, I worshipped through the sketching and the drawing.
I exalted Christ for his goodness and His mercy…even in the middle of my messy handwriting, my blotted pens and my imperfect sketch. And it was good.