There’s no such thing as perfect.
Do you agree with this statement? Or did you bristle at the thought?
Perhaps, as a leader who strives for perfection, you believe that it’s the definition of giving your best to/for God? If so, you may be living in a self-imposed cycle of continual frustration and discouragement. I’ve learned that striving for excellence and demanding perfection are entirely different animals…
Here are two quick examples:
I am a quilter. It’s a craft that requires precision. The basic process entails cutting large pieces of fabric into smaller shapes, sewing them together with a quarter-inch seam into a quilt block, arranging several quilt blocks into a pleasing design and sewing them together with, again, a quarter-inch seam. Next, long strips of fabric are sewn around the edges to form a border to make a quilt top. That’s the end of the sewing lesson, so hang with me…
If I am not accurate in my initial cutting, my quilt will not be perfect.
If my seam is not exact, my quilt will not be perfect.
If I err in the least on any of the first three steps, the borders will not fit and my quilt will not be perfect.
One of the first quilts is not perfect… but it is beautiful!
I’ve come to admire Amish quilters not only for the beautiful quilts they create, but because they will intentionally make a mistake in an otherwise perfect quilt, reminding themselves and others that only God is perfect.
My church recently held its first-ever volunteer ministry training day. We wanted every member of our team to attend. It took persistence to get some of our volunteer ministers to RSVP; others just didn’t show up. As we drew closer to the event date, I kept finding things I should have done—or done differently—and I became frustrated. Rather than insist on perfection, my senior pastor suggested that we strive for excellence with what we had done and trust the Lord to bless our efforts. How freeing that was!
Our training event was not perfect… but every evaluation was positive and encouraging. Our volunteer ministers had fun, learned about themselves and each other, and left better equipped to serve.
Things to remember:
- Perfection demands unrealistic expectations and spawns discouragement.
- Perfection is bondage.
- Excellence requires our best effort, draws upon the Lord, encourages hope and joy.
- Excellence in the Lord is freeing.
Leaders who exchange perfection for excellence in the Lord will trade in discouragement and frustration for joy and hope. It’s a great exchange at the holidays…and every day!