“…I no longer count on my own goodness or ability to obey God’s law, but I trust Christ to save me. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.”
Philippians 3:9b, NLT
Sally held onto the idea she had for weeks. She was determined to work out every single kink before she presented it to the team. She knew that God had given her the idea, but she also knew that it needed to be tweaked before she shared it. Her CEO, her boss’s boss, had requested a new project team to develop a new product to be launched the following year. The team had been brainstorming ideas for two months, but nothing worked. Sally had an idea but couldn’t stop tweaking it. Even though a voice kept telling her to present what she had, she kept going back to the drawing board, asking God to iron out all the details.
She only had one time to make a good impression and she wanted that impression to be the best it could be. She was one of the newest people in her division, and she didn’t want to look incompetent in front of the others. She didn’t want a repeat of what happened at her last job – the one where she was laid off because her boss didn’t think she was contributing enough to the team. So, when the time came for cuts, she was the first to be let go. This time, Sally was determined to win; so, she waited until the idea was exactly where it needed to be.
One week, Greg, the only person at the company less time than Sally, sheepishly raised his hand. Greg started out by apologizing that his idea needed some work, but the team lead encouraged him to share anyway. Greg proceeded.
When he was done, Sally was burning with anger. Greg presented her idea. It was a bit different, but his idea solved the problem she was having with her idea. The issue with his idea was solved by hers. They each had the solution to the other’s problem. But Greg was the one who shared first. Sally sat in silence as her team members congratulated Greg on his idea. They loved it.
The team lead said that they would meet later that day to work out the kinks. He asked everyone to figure out a way to solve the problem with Greg’s idea before presenting it to their superiors. As soon as they were dismissed, Sally grabbed her purse and headed out for lunch alone. She normally ate with her coworkers but needed some air and needed to get to her car before she exploded.
As soon as she got onto the highway, she began yelling at the top of her lungs. She couldn’t believe that Greg stole her idea. Sally kept going until she was too angry to yell anymore. She pulled up to the drive-thru of the restaurant and ordered the super-size of her favorite comfort food. She pulled into the parking lot and began eating.
As she ate, these words came to mind, “I no longer count on my own goodness or ability to obey God’s law, but I trust Christ to save me. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.” Sally continued chewing as realization and tears came. She was wrong. Her anger was all wrong.
God gave her the idea and all God needed was for her to trust and have faith that she had all she needed to present to the team. Greg probably felt as afraid as she did. She hadn’t known him long, but she sensed that he was as much of a perfectionist as she was. They both had the same problem, but only one of them trusted God to see them through. She had no right to be angry. God had given them both a problem that required help from others. To ask others for help is a form of faith. Greg was faithful. She was faithless.
Sally kept chewing until her tears were replaced with laughter. She finished her lunch, drove back in silence, and prepared to present her idea, which contained the solution to Greg’s problem with his idea.
Later that day, as she and Greg rode down the elevator together, she told him about what happened. They both laughed at themselves and their need to always be perfect and promised to hold each other accountable to trust and have faith in God despite their imperfections.
Now it’s our turn…
Prompt for Thought: Do you struggle with perfectionism? If so, what have you missed out on because of it? If not, what would you say to someone who is holding back on life because things are not perfect? How would you help and encourage the perfectionist, even if it’s you? What do you think God would say about our need to be perfect?
Prayer for the Journey: God, help us to know and accept that our imperfection is swallowed up in your perfection. God, help us to strive towards excellence in Christ without falling into the sin of perfectionism. God, in all things, help us always to have faith in you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.