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Posts Tagged ‘perfection’

  1. Every child is their own story. What works with one doesn’t necessarily work with another.  Different things inspire them, motivate them, scare them, and hurt them.  Though there may be some broad tenets that apply to all, each one requires a unique approach.
  2. Perfection cannot be the goal. No matter how hard we try, we will not be perfect parents; and demanding perfection from our kids simply makes them feel as though nothing they do is ever good enough.
  3. Boundaries are meant to keep kids safe, not to keep them from the “good stuff”. Though, as children, we all tested our limits; as parents, we cannot ignore the benefit of hindsight.
  4. Fear is a lousy teacher.  Consistently playing on a child’s fear ultimately destroys their ability to function effectively.
  5. Our children’s perception of themselves is powerfully impacted by what we say to and about them.  Giving voice to our fears, frustrations and disappointments can scar them for life.
  6. Consistently yelling at kids makes them hard of hearing. For survival sake, they simply begin to tune us out.
  7. “Do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t work. We cannot hope to hold our kids to a standard that we ourselves do not adhere to.
  8. Though we naturally want to protect our children, it is also our job to prepare them for life without us. Finding the balance between those two things is a long and demanding process.
  9. No matter how doting, diligent and devoted we are as parents, our kids will face adversity, and they will make mistakes.  We cannot be shocked when it happens, and we need to prepare them for those moments.
  10. Love covers a multitude of sins (yours and theirs). When combined with faith, it forms the only wild card that we have in our parenting deck.
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Something I’ve often heard over the years is that the things we do for the Lord must be “done with excellence,” and to be sure, there is some truth in that.  God absolutely deserves the best of our efforts and we do need to remain conscious of the fact that we are representatives of His kingdom.  To the extent that we are truly concerned about the quality of the offering that we bring to Him, I can understand this.  But more often than not, I’ve observed that this emphasis on excellence is rooted in our pride, our competitiveness, our sense of style, and in the perceptions of men.

 

Generally the things that we gauge excellence by are largely aesthetic in nature (i.e. pleasing to our senses), and are rarely spiritual in context.  I suppose that the deeper issue is what God views as excellent.  Does He find added value in the things that we do in the name of “excellence”?  From what I’ve observed, I’m doubtful that He does.  Have state of the art sound systems, jumbo video screens, padded theatre seats, more contemporary music, or cappuccino dispensers, brought the church any closer to the kingdom of God?  Have they made us any more relevant to a lost world?  I’m certainly not opposed to any of those things; in fact I appreciate all of them. I’m just suggesting that we don’t want to deceive ourselves about our motivations, or the eternal worth of such things.

 

The word tells us that God doesn’t view things as man does (i.e. based on outward appearances), but that He looks at the heart.  So we must ask ourselves, is a Pastor in an expensive suit a more excellent representative of the kingdom of God?  Are ornately decorated sanctuaries any more inviting to the presence of the Lord?  Is worship more pleasing to the Lord when it comes from a voice with perfect pitch?  Again, I’m not opposed to well dressed clergy, beautiful churches or talented singers, I’m just pointing out that those things are really aimed at making us more attractive to people, and not to God.

 

Is it wrong to make the church more inviting to people?  I’d say that it is not, as long as these things don’t distract us from the real work of the kingdom, drain resources that would be better spent elsewhere, and don’t create in us a false sense of accomplishment.  In the end, we will reap what we sow, and thus the more that we invest in the aesthetics, the more we will reap the superficial.

 

A step beyond the concept of excellence is perfectionism.  When someone is known as a “perfectionist”, we tend to admire them for their high standards.  But the truth is that perfectionism is actually a torment to the human soul.  It doesn’t just set high standards, it generally creates impossible demands.  The result is a constant state of dissatisfaction and often a steady stream of criticism.  It is ultimately a weapon in the hand of our enemy.

 

A perfectionist tends to walk by the ninety-nine things that went right, to get to the one thing that went wrong.  They generally breed frustration, exhaustion, and discouragement, wherever they go.  They often withhold positive feedback for fear it will result in complacency (e.g. it was OK, but I don’t want them to think that they don’t need to get better…).  There are some who may point out that God is perfect and that we are meant to be transformed into His image; but I’d submit that our destiny is not some contrived perfection that we create, but His perfection coming through us.  It is not found in our performance, but in our submission to His Spirit.

 

I believe that as the children of God we ought to aspire to high ideals, but we must also ensure that the standards we chose to enforce are in line with His value system.  Jesus told His disciples that the defining characteristic of His followers would be their love for one another, and that without this love we would have “nothing”.  If we are going to strive for excellence this would seem to be the area to emphasize.  I don’t believe that there will be points in heaven for style or presentation, so we need to ensure that we’re not sacrificing substance for good form.  There will be a day when all of our works will be tested in the heavenly realm and on that day I believe that we will find that much of what we’ve accounted as excellence, and even perfection, will be nothing more than kindling.

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