Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A friend I do not know well was recently sharing their frustration over the "marks" their child was leaving around the house. Granted, these were not ordinary. The child had recently been in a accident and their recovery required the use of assistive devices. Because of the abandon with which the child moved through the home, Physical changes were being withdrawn from the halls.
Frustration was setting in.

This is understandable, I know. Many parents have been this way at different times. Some more than others.

The state of perfection that some of us seem to require, does not always make sense. We all know people who insist that any item they purchase be flaw free. If you purchases a refrigerator and when it is delivered it comes with a couple of minor scratches (even easily correctable ones), many would insist it be replaced, as they did not intentionally buy a scratched unit.

Another example might be the purchase of a new article of clothing that has a minor snag in part of the stitching that does not show, some would insist it be replaced, or money be taken off the asking price. I am not saying this is wrong. One should be happy with what they spend their hard earned money on. But where do you draw the line. Some infractions bear no true difficulty for the buyer other than the awareness of it.

I am wired in a different way. I will shop at the scratch and dent store because the mars in the facade of many products do not bother me. I have raised three children. I know what sudden decorating tips they decide to impose when they are idle and alone for a few moments with a crayon.

It used to be bother me a great deal. When she was young, my eldest decided that drawing on the walls was a good idea. When she was confronted about it, she was quite insistent that she had not participated in such a foolish activity. Nevermind that her only sibling at the time would have viewed a crayon as food at that point in her young life.

Those things used to stress me way too much.

I have always been an underdog kind of guy. I almost always root for them. When I am watching a game, unless I have particular allegiance for a team, I pull hard for the lesser of the two.

I like the movie the "Princess Bride." Most guys do...but most won't admit it. Remember the scene where Wesley is adorned as the "Dread Pirate Roberts" and is fighting the "Giant?" Suddenly Wesley realizes he is making no impact in his quest to defeat the "Giant" and asks him if he is taking it easy on him. The "Giant" replies, "I want you to feel you are doing well."

I love that scene. Although this attitude is often portrayed as weakness (remember, Wesley bests the "Giant" after that), it would be me. When the odds are stacked against the lesser, I want to know that they feel they are doing well.

Perfection is expected by many of us in our material possessions. It is required in our grades, projects or achievements. We even require it of our children. The issue is, we require it in areas that don't matter. We are seeking to put on a perfect front. We want those looking in, to see that our house, car, family and work, etc. are all perfect.

They aren't. We waste so much energy with the insistence of that which is for the most part, unattainable.

If only we invested a similar amount of energy in our walk with Christ.

I am not asserting we should celebrate our shortcomings, only that we need to give room for failure. Failure is the crucible of learning.

How we handle failure, and how we respond to failure in others, says a lot about where we truly are in our own relationship with Jesus.

Success should bring glory to God, not man.

When our Father in Heaven looks at us, He does so through the blood of His Son Jesus. Our perfection came at the cost of scars still which still adorn the Lamb.

Give me gouged and scribbled walls. Not only do they carry with them many joyful memories, I can see myself in them.



At 5:42 PM, Blogger Praying in Pink said...

Ah, Mr. Brent, you have touched on a topic near and dear to my "recovering" perfectionistic heart today.

And I agree with you on everything except one point: we DO need to celebrate our shortcomings! That does not mean we "sin that grace may abound." Instead, it means that His grace is sufficient for me. "Most gladly, then, I will rather boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may dwell in me" (2 Cor. 12:9).

I think He gave this passage to me especially so that I would remember that HIS power is always perfected in my weakness. When I am weak--then I am strong! That way, my walls don't have to be perfect. My house doesn't have to be perfect. My work doesn't have to be perfect. Certainly, my family doesn't have to be perfect. . . and neither do I.

I knew that long ago--but until God brought brokenness into my life through a variety of means, I didn't KNOW it. And even though I KNOW it--I'm still learning.

Thanks for updating us on the young pastor, Becky. Praying much for him and for his family! And Lyn: I appreciate you because you were so open about your struggles. Remembering you all as you (wisely, I think) continue the conversation off-blog.

praying in pink
with tender love,


At 9:40 PM, Blogger Danzeisen5 said...


Thank you so much for this writing today. I really needed it.
It is so hard for me, as a homeschooling mom, not to expect too much from my children. Things that they have been taught over and over seem to just slip away and the noise and the "spaziness" we so fondly call it in our house just pile up and up until I react out of my high expectations!

I am so thankful that Jesus has much more grace with me than I have with my children. I regret so many times the fustration I show because they are not "perfect". thank you for helping me remember to let it go and chill a little. I so often think of things you and Deanna have written when I get upset at Joshi or the girls and realize that I am just so blessed to have them. I really want to remember that more.

I love you and appreciate you so much

At 1:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great site, I am bookmarking it!Keep it up!
With the best regards!

At 12:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the wonderful reminder, Brent. I am a homeschooling mom, and I want my children to do their best! But I tend to push a bit hard, and then take the fun out of it! I needed this, in all areas of my life. Thank you so much!


Linda Anderson


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