Realist vs. Perfectionist: Which is God?

Alexis photos

Go lay down on the bed for a minute; I want to tell you something.” I’ve never heard God speak to me in an audible voice. But down on the inside, where the Holy Spirit lives, he talks pretty clearly sometimes, in that loving but firm Daddy-voice. This was one of those times.

I was frenetically preparing for a dinner party. My guests would be here in a couple hours. But God didn’t ask me if this was a convenient time to chat.

“What? Right now, Lord? I am in the middle of cleaning house, and still have a hundred things to get done before Adrienne and Barbara arrive. Can’t you tell me whatever it is while I mop the floor?”

photo by pezibear

No. You need  to be still to hear what I have to say.”

            “Oh, all right.” I gritted my teeth as I rushed to the bedroom, plopping on the bed. It was difficult to listen when the cobwebs taunted me from the ceiling. I slammed my eyes shut.

“What is it, Lord?” I grumbled, wanting to get this conversation over so I could finish my mopping. As usual, I’d piddled all week, then tornadoed through Saturday to get my house in order. It wasn’t the Lord’s fault, but I blamed Him anyway. He was interfering with my plan.

Jeanette, you are trying too hard to be perfect and impress people. You’re not fooling anyone. By the time Adrienne and Barbara get here, you’ll be an exhausted mess.”

            “But Lord, You are perfect, and the Word says to imitate You. I even know where that verse is: Ephesians 5:1.”

Yes, but I am not a perfectionist. There’s a difference. I am too realistic to think you or anyone else will ever be flawless in this life. You frustrate yourself when you strive to make no mistakes, or to give the impression of perfection. My job is to be perfect. Your imitation of Me is to love others and be kind to them. Pretending you never fail, whether at housework or any venture, is not love. It’s unreality.

“Okay, Lord. I see I’m acting silly¸ not trusting You to help me clean my house, trying too hard to impress my friends. I repent. Thanks for the correction.” As I bounded off the bed to return to my mop, I heard His final word:

Any time.”

photo by stocksnap

            We don’t impress God or anyone else when we pretend to be flawless. It’s okay to say, “Oops. That was stupid of me. I am sorry.” In fact, it endears us to others when we let down our mask and admit we are still in the “rough draft” stage. They feel more comfortable around us when we let them know that we know we have faults. Then when we tell them about Jesus, they’ll be more likely to listen.

Someday I’ll be perfect. So will you, if you’re in Jesus. Until then, let’s quit looking silly by trying to appear perfect. Let’s just be real.

Jeanette Levellie

Irish redhead and former history teacher Jeanette Levellie is the author of four books and hundreds of articles, stories, and newspaper columns. Among her publishing credits are stories in Guideposts anthologies,, and Country magazine. Jeanette is also a vocalist and speaker, splashing hope and humor on audiences of all sizes and styles. She and her pastor husband Kevin are parents to two adults, grandparents to three children, and servants to four cats. They live in Paris, IL., where the winters are frigid but the people are warm and friendly. Her hobbies include fitness, reading, and finding new ways to avoid housework.

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One comment

  1. Nice reminder, Jeannette. And a good lesson that “perfection” as we often pursue it does not equate to love.

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