I don’t call myself a perfectionist, but I do have a peculiar form of it within me. It tends to pop out in the weirdest places, making me edgy when I fall short of my standard of perfection.
The biggest issue I had with it was in my faith. When it came to listening to other people’s problems and struggles they had in their faith journey, I became very encouraging, fully understanding their fight against sin.
But not so much to myself. In fact, it was as if I only knew how to go to the very left or to the very right and not anything in between.
Hot or cold
My rollercoaster faith had a spiking up and a bellowing down, with no steady moments anywhere – I would either be fired up in my faith or completely cold.
Each time God restored me, I would be filled up in gratitude and joy, feeling like I was a completely new person. But this would only last a few days or at most, a few weeks. I would quickly fall back into a sinful life, lacking my essential time for prayer and meditations in His Word.
Last few months were again, my coldest moments.
So when I went to church last week, my heart was heavy with guilt. As I was getting ready, something told me that God would not be pleased with my worship that day. My week had not been good spiritually, and I had slept late the day before on my phone, when I should have spent it preparing for the Lord’s day.
I was upset. My body was physically tired with the lack of sleep and couldn’t concentrate during the service. I sang praises not with joy but because I had to and all I could think about was getting back home to lie in bed.
Back at home, I settled not to sleep, but with my Bible in front of me. As I read through Romans 8, I could not stop myself from crying. I whispered, “Apart from you there is no good thing” (Psalms chapter 16, verse 2), as I read through the promises God made through Jesus Christ for me.
Promises, reminders, hope
He promised that there was no condemnation now that I had been saved through the death of Christ Jesus (Romans chapter 8, verse 1), and that thus I am to live by the spirit, because to live by flesh would only lead to death (verse 6-7, verse 13).
Though I knew this, I had no confidence as I knew that I would fall back into sin and spiral down helplessly. I cried, “God, I am hopeless. I am too weak to set myself to live by the spirit”.
But He responded with verse 15: “…you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’”.
He also reminded me through verse 26: “…the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words”.
I was in despair because I could not be perfect overnight. I had thought if I truly loved God, I shouldn’t fall back into sin. But God reminded me that because I was this weak, Jesus was sent in my place.
Not perfection, but…
God had never demanded perfection from me. I asked, “then what do you ask of me, Lord?” He answered – “all I want is an honest response from the great love and grace I have shown you and will continuously show you”.
What would be my honest answer? That night, with such words of true hope, I responded in joy. I was so thankful, so happy, so filled with love. I knew I had to live a life that reflects this from the next day.
And yes, I would probably sin again. In fact, this very morning, I acted as if forgot my restoration from the night before.
Usually, this would mean I would utter, “I knew it. I am hopeless”. But this time, it was different. I opened up Romans 8 and meditated on His promises of love and reminders of hope once again and repented to be filled back up in His spirit.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (verse 35). Because of His great love, I know that I now can be more than a conqueror in my fight (verse 37).