My four-year-old granddaughter loves to draw. Personally, I think she is very talented! I could never draw like she can at the age of four. (Whom am I kidding? I can’t draw like she can at 54!) She’s decided when she spends the day with her “Meemster”—as she so lovingly has nicknamed me—she’d like paper, crayons, and colored pencils handy – she has some creating to do.
On a recent visit, after asking her to pick out a letter of the alphabet to work on, she chose the letter S as our letter of the day; while I found coloring sheets and a few crafts for her.
Handing her the schoolhouse picture to color, cut and paste she asked, “Does it have to be perfect?” Stunned by her question I replied, “Oh my goodness! No. Absolutely not, sweet girl, just do your best; that’s all you need to do – your best!” I was crushed for her as these thoughts ran through my mind, Really? At the age of four, she is already worried about being perfect? How does this happen? So to relieve some pressure off of her, I began to explain some of the realities of perfectionism. I gave her a rundown on perfection and explained that God was the only perfect One. As I continued my pep talk, she hummed happily to herself and continued to create her masterpiece. Within a short time I heard, “There. It’s perfect.” Oh great. She didn’t hear a word I said I thought to myself. I failed to help her understand she didn’t need it to be perfect until I walked over and took a look at her perfect schoolhouse.
That’s when I saw…
The reds on each section were different colors of red.
The sides had uneven cuts.
There was a torn piece from one edge.
She hadn’t colored the windows, at all.
But it was perfect. As I looked at her picture the Lord began to reveal my faulty view of perfect. Honestly, I liked Emery’s view better. There was no stress involved with her idea of perfect. She wasn’t worried about pleasing others, nor did she care about the opinion of others. Yes, I liked her idea of perfect, and I hoped she would hold onto it forever.
But, I know that won’t happen. Someone will come along and reveal to her what the human standard of perfect really is. Then it will become much more difficult for her to color with different shades and call it perfect. She will work to make sure the cuts are even and the edges are “just right.” She may even feel pressured to color what she’d like to leave alone simply because she will one day discover a different standard of perfection than what she has now. The struggle will be as real for her as it is for me to fight against the pull of perfectionism.
Well—perfectionism according to the world’s standards that is. I’ve tried and found it’s impossible to live up to the perfection others expect. There’s just too much pressure in that, don’t you think? As we seek to change our identity—one letter at a time—let’s choose the mindset of Paul and continue to “…press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me” (Philippians 3:12, NLT) for our own self, but refuse to evaluate others from a human point of view (2 Corinthians 5:16, NLT). Instead, when we’re tempted to strive for perfection in others, let’s pray for eyes to see them perfectly through the eyes of Christ.
Visit Kolleen’s website for more inspiration and encouragement: http://www.speakkolleen.com/
Kolleen is the author of the devotional book, The ABC’s of Who God Says I Am. available on Amazon.com