There it is – just out of reach. I’ve been analyzing my previous failures and adjusting my plan of attack. This time I’ll do it right. I will pray in just the right way. I will read my Bible more often. I will be kinder. I will be more generous. I will spend more time serving in the church. I will be happier and more grateful. I will be less selfish. I will love better and give more. And this time, God will be pleased! This time I’ll catch it and keep it. This time I will be at peace.
What am I chasing? I am chasing perfection. And I fail at every attempt. Even when I try my hardest, I am constantly confronted with my own inadequacy and a feeling that God is disappointed. Ah, but there is Satan’s lie: that God expects me to be perfect. If I buy into that lie, I go round and round in an endless, futile circle like a dog chasing its tail. He is intent on catching that one part of himself that seems unattainable. Even when he catches it, what is he to do with it? If he hangs onto it, he continues to go in a circle and he inflicts pain on himself! If he lets it go, it is a reminder of something that must still be attained, and so the chase begins again.
Trying to be perfect, to be “good enough” keeps my focus on me. God would have my focus be solely on Him. He knows that everything I need flows from relationship with Him and everything I’m not has been perfected for me in Jesus Christ. Therefore, peace comes not from chasing myself for some illusive perfection, but from resting in Jesus and responding to God's grace . In Jesus, I find complete acceptance as I am, and complete satisfaction in who He is.
C.S. Lewis describes it this way: “In perfect cyclic movement, being, power and joy descended from God to man in the form of gift and returned from man to God in the form of obedient love and ecstatic adoration.”
God, give me new eyes to see You and only You. Remind me to respond to you and to stop chasing myself. Help me to lay down my expectations of my own perfection and revel in your gift of acceptance.
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”
“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.”
John 15:5, 9