Perfection sometimes masquerades as a noble goal when it is actually an unreachable fantasy. It strains our relationships. What should we do when we think our work isn’t good enough?
Unable to sleep, Jane rose early to put together her plan. She hadn’t seen her brother Bill in more than ten years, and today he would be in town for dinner and a short visit. What could she do that would be special? Ordering pizza delivery or Chinese would cheapen the evening. No, she would cook a delicious meal with pot roast, potatoes, carrots, corn on the cob, and a tossed salad.
While selecting a choice cut of meat, she worried that her brother might have become a vegetarian. He liked broccoli, didn’t he? Yes . . . but maybe his tastes had changed. To be safe, she decided to also fix corn on the cob, green beans, and mashed potatoes. The rest of the day, she slaved in the kitchen, making everything perfect.
That evening, Bill phoned to say he was only a few miles outside town.
“Dinner is almost ready,” she said, trying to sound confident.
The green beans were a bit overcooked, weren’t they? Olives in the salad probably wasn’t a good idea. With the food prepared and the table set, she stepped back to be sure everything was just right. No, wait. What would he be drinking?
When the doorbell rang, Jane met Bill at the door, stepped outside, and gave him a long hug. “It’s been so long,” she said. “There’s a restaurant across town that I’ve been eager to try. Wouldn’t that be just perfect?”
If we can understand that neither people nor God expect us to be perfect, doing our best will be good enough. And we can always do that much.
I’ve not yet achieved the relationship that Jesus had with the Father when he walked on Earth, but I’m moving in that direction. I’m not yet perfect, but I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus laid hold of me. — Philippians 3:12