God says He “will keep in perfect peace, he whose mind stays on Him because he trusts Him” (Is 26:3). I love that phrase, “perfect peace”! The thief of my “perfect peace” is perfectionism. My perfect ideals steal my perfect peace. I think that if I can attain all my ideals then peace will be the result. I sacrifice peace on a daily basis working to accomplish “perfect” in the different areas of my life because I believe if I ever get it all right than I will feel ultimate peace. God wants to give me a “perfect peace” apart from work and striving. All I have to do is take the things that are cluttering my mind and demanding my immediate attention to Him and say, “I trust you that what you have for me and what you can give me is better than stressing myself out to try to accomplish all of this.”
For instance right now I think I would feel perfect peace in my home if I had a clean kitchen, laundry caught up and put away, drawers and closets organized, garage swept out, car vacuumed out, house decorated for fall, every clutter item put away, toilets free of rings, counters free of toothpaste, crumbs off the floor, dust off the furniture, and fingerprints off the windows. I expect myself to be able to live to this standard. I can’t, so I am constantly seeing myself as a failure and feeling disappointed at myself for not being able to meet my idealistic standards and these are just the ideals I have for myself in my home in this moment. Give me a few more moments or a new area of my life and could produce a longer list and I bet you could to. Your lists would be different than mine because “perfect” looks different to everyone. That is why trying to meet someone else’s “perfect” is even more exhausting.
In my mind if I could meet my ideals then I would be perfect and therefore I would be at peace. When in truth this path to get it “perfect” distracts my mind from staying on God and therefore actually keeps me from peace. It’s not just my mind staying on Him, it’s trusting Him that I don’t have to get it all right because Jesus paid the perfect price to be my rightness. When I say to myself, “you won’t be ok, you won’t be acceptable to God, others or yourself until you can do all these things right”, then I am not trusting in the work of Christ to make me right.
I was going to wait on posting this until is sounded, well you know, a little more “perfect” ….. but I think I’ll go for peace instead!