I want a perfectly-maintained house: shining floors and surfaces, crystal clear windows, furniture always in place, curtains hanging straight down and not askew, no things on top of tables and chairs except the ones that should be there – vases, lamps, candles, frames, and, a sparkling kitchen that looks like its’s always ready to be photographed to grace the cover of a homemaking magazine.
When I fold linens, blankets, tablecloths and napkins, I do it perfectly: edge to edge, corner to corner, on the right side. I hate mess. I can’t stand mess. I always fix things – same height, or ascending, straight, aligned, nothing out-of-place – and want them in their proper places. I give instructions clearly and lengthily with much emphasis. I don’t want that what I want to be done will be done carelessly.
Yes, I’m a perfectionist and it’s a pain. When I was still well and strong, I did it all so as to avoid seeing mistakes which I could not take. Then God called me in illness and weakness, and my perfectionism became a burden instead of a desirable virtue. It was only recently that I realized how it was bearing down on me and causing all kinds of problems:
It frustrated me beyond words to see maids who do not have an idea on how to maintain a house clean and orderly.
It was hurting my marriage. I wanted perfect conversations with my husband, expected ideal reactions, looked for proper attitude, etc. I wanted him to lead according to my idea of leading. I was too idealistic, too analytical, and too critical, with too many words. Without a doubt, my beloved husband loves me truly, a love that sacrifices and remains strong, but even in that I wanted him to show it the way I wanted it expressed. (I was really hopeless! But then there was the Lord Jesus).
And it was hurting the kids. I wanted my daughter to get good grades. I wanted her to be like me when I was a student: industrious, diligent, focused.
Until one night the Lord made me realize that this was not something that I should be proud of. I had sung praises, prayed and read my Bible, but I remained awake all night. Peace had gone out of me, and by the time the sun rose up, I was certain of God’s message.
I am flawed. Maybe I am flawed more than anyone in the family, yet He loves me completely and is tenderly patient with me. The Lord doesn’t want my perfectionism, He wants me to love graciously as He loves me. He has poured out His grace upon me, why can’t I extend the same grace to my loved ones? It’s alright to aim for excellence but not to the detriment of my relationships. He showed me what is truly excellent: loving and accepting totally these people who really love me, imperfections and all, for He received and loved me unconditionally, imperfections and all.
He taught me that loving fervently, remaining tenderhearted and kind, comes first and foremost, and should never be sacrificed for my desire of a picture-perfect family in a perfectly beautiful home.
This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. (John 15:12, emphasis added)
The Lord has once again healed my heart and I was truly, fully liberated!
My gratitude list (my gifts from the Lord):
- The Holy Spirit who works in and through me.
- Renewing of the mind, transformation of the heart
- Watching Tim relish his Magnum ice cream.
- White chocolate-covered mini pretzels
- All who like Healing Moments on Facebook. Every single “Like” is an affirmation to God’s Word and His testimonies.