Wednesday, January 12, 2011


For over two months now Ezra has asked again and again if he could be the silverware sorter now.

"Am I big enough NOW?" he would ask.

He had watched his brother for a long time and really wanted that job- I don't really understand why it appeals to him so much, but who am I to argue with a little boy asking for another chore to do? Over Christmas break Ender learned how to empty the full dishwasher and that gave Ezra his longed-for promotion to chief silverware sorter.

Oh, how exciting that first week was! With new things to learn his excitement and energy bubbled over every time I called him to help in the kitchen.

And now? The silverware sorting excitement seems to have lost its sparkle.

Planning and starting a new habit is so easy isn't it? It's the keeping up each day that causes problems. It's the days that I realize I've failed that get to me- I missed a step in establishing my new morning routine, I missed my mid-day time in the Word... and the perfectionist in me is ready to toss it out and declare a start over- back to day 1 so that I can have a perfectly marked off list.

Wow- talk about missing the point.

I have to fight that part of my brain every day, that part of me that says again and again:

Less than perfect isn't good enough

 "You should just give up"

 Forward progress isn't achievement

If you don't enjoy doing this each time it's not worth it

Discipline doesn't mean as much as accomplishment....

And I pray for God to keep that beautiful word GRACE impressed upon my heart when my ugly insides are trying to crowd out His truth.

Forward progress is all we have- God works in us, each day, each moment, working our souls over to bring us to a place of repentence and forgiveness, mercy and grace, but we are not completed in this life. We read in Philippians 3 last week the words Paul wrote:

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14, NKJV)

To think that Paul, after all of His work for Christ, to spread the gospel, to preach, to share, to grow churches, had still not been made complete in Christ? He was still a work in progress, still being made complete in Christ.

So I will work daily in my relationship with Christ. To be one step closer to completion, but to fight that little voice screaming "imperfect!" all the time. He asks me to walk with Him, to press forward despite my flawed steps, my weak strides.

But I keep walking, held up in His grace.


Ann Voskamp invites us to write about habits this week. You can join her at A Holy Experience.


  1. DH the professor, soon to be 70, cannot sort silverware. He cannot learn that there are several sizes of fork, several kinds of spoons, different knives for different purposes. I think Ezra has learned a great deal with his project, even if it was short term only.

    About perfectionism.
    My sister was mostly self taught at piano. She expected to be perfect because she was an outstanding student academically, always getting above 104% in everything she attempted. At the piano, she of course would make minor errors and find glitches. Each time she would start again from the very beginning. I'm sure you have conquered this in your own musical training. What is the point of practicing the entire thing rather than working on the smaller problem? I think this habit carries over to so many other aspects of our lives. Now how to determine what those smaller segments are and convey them to little ones?
    I do know that my own son was horrified by errors and would collapse in despair. I managed over time to convince him how very bright he was and that we were able (together) to come up with solutions to imperfections. Slowly it began to work. His father also helped him with story writing on the computer so that when something wasn't to his satisfaction, erasing parts was not so overwhelming. There was always a good chunk remaining. His sister benefited from my working through this with him first.

  2. How sweet Ezra sounds, actually WANTING to do the job. That’s a start anyway! Grace – it is a wonderful gift that God gives us for all those times we scream “imperfect” at ourselves. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Marie> between my husband and I it's amazing that our boys don't have more a problem with perfectionism since we both lean so hard that way. I still struggle with it greatly.

    Lisa> Ezra is *very* sweet and he mostly just wants to do whatever it is that his big brother is doing!

  4. Ah, I saw the title of this post & knew it would hit home. I am really struggling with my perfectionism right now, to the point that I feel paralyzed to even start doing anything.

    Thanks for sharing.


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