Monday, October 27, 2008

Calling All Perfectionists

I recently asked a missionary mentor to pray for me as I was struggling to find time to spend with the Lord with a new little baby in the house and a three year old. Her response was such an encouragement to me and I have been so blessed by taking her advice!



"Hmm, yes, certainly know all about the battle to find quality time in the Word, in prayer and simply with the Lord. I remember those days so, so well. They seemed to go on forever, but in actual fact were just a fleeting season. I so appreciated the input into my life of one particular older missionary lady when we were brand new on the field with a 2 year old and a 3 month old. She was actually based on another island and I only ever had one week in her company as we were looking at where we would locate. She loaned me her “spiral” she called it. A basic, spiral, lined notebook that she had filled as her journal. It was full of her thoughts, experiences, poems and prayers. I appreciated her openness, and I truly learned things from that “spiral” that set the tone for me for years. One thing I specifically remember was reading how she was despairing about having time out with the Lord. He challenged her to start her “spiral” (as opposed to a beautiful fancy journal that she’d be afraid to write in unless it was perfect. You can also tear the pages out of spirals if you want, she wrote). She would have little notes jotted over the pages and in the margins as thoughts came to her throughout the day, and as prayers for people came to mind as she was caring for her children.

Needless to say, it wasn’t long after we got settled on the island that I started my own “spiral”. My biggest challenge has been able to just jot things and write and not try to get it all perfect which is my tendency. Looking back now, I realize that God used these brief moments when I could pour out my heart in prayer or praise or just a verse written down, or a note (She would also write down verses and put them around the house so she could see them and meditate on them wherever she was as she didn’t have time then for long in-depth studies of the Word) or whatever."


I could so relate to what she shared because I am definitely a perfectionist. I've started so many "journals", only to rip the pages out because I missed a day or two or twenty. It made me realize that one of the biggest lies the enemy tells us is that it's ALL or NOTHING. I have found so much joy in choosing to let go of that lie.

The book of Hebrews says that because of Jesus we are free to "barge right in to His throne room" at any time, knowing that He welcomes us gladly (4:16; 10:19,22)! The picture here is the young son of a king knowing he is fully loved and having no fear in running into the throne room to sit on his daddy's lap!

So if you are a fellow perfectionist, struggling to find time with the Lord, I encourage you to:

1) Buy a spiral
2) Don't date any entries if you get hung up on a missed day or two or twenty! 
3) Let go of the idea that time with God has to include certain components and just worship Him as His Spirit and Word guide. Sometimes I pray, sometimes I read and then boil down the truths in written form, sometimes I write down a song or a poem that has touched me. Anything you have to offer God is welcome.

**Of course, number three is the only non negotiable here! If you don't want to buy a spiral, don't...but DO choose to stop letting perfectionism in any form prevent you from communing with Him!**

7 comments:

Sam & Dawn said...

Shilo,
Thanks for your uplifting message! I too struggle with being perfect. I love this idea of a "spiral" and will pass it on to others I know! Can I share your website with some other moms?

Becky Aguirre said...

I have filled several notebooks with writings, I really love to express myself to God that way...but I still struggle with the ALL or NOTHING lie! I tend to think that I have really spent time with God unless I've read the Word, prayed, written...and I tend to beat myself up over that or find myself not doing anything at all.

I really like Isaiah 40:11..."He tends His flock like a shepherd; he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young." That last phrase really moves me to know that my LORD knows that I have young, that I can't 'keep up' with the rest and that He doesn't expect it either.

Rachel said...

This is a great post. I find writing helps me too! I've been trying to read through the Bible, and it finally dawned on me that taking notes as I read would help me concentrate, like it did when I studied in school!

How many times do I try to make things all or nothing? I lose count.

schwabair said...

I think that I have that exact notebook somewhere sitting blank, but I bought it with the full intention of using as a journal. Thanks for the great suggestions - I love not writing down a date. I think I will have to go on a hunt for that spiral and put it to good use!

Katherine Schaadt said...

That was so cool to read Shilo. I really appreciate it. I have been using a spiral lately because we've been in transition so much and I didn't think I'd use my journal enough so I didn't even pack it. I go almost a month before I write anything down in it but it doesn't mean I haven't spent time with the Lord. I'm finding the same thing lately that time with the Lord is tough. In the shower I'll call out to God for help because I'm so weak without Him. He has caused me to hunger for Him so that I'm sitting down with the Word because I know I need Him. For me, being a Mom is showing me MORE THAN EVER how much I need Him. He is so good to use it in my life that way.

Rachel said...

Thanks for sharing Shilo. This one really hit home!

Stacy said...

Thank you for this line, "Let go of the idea that time with God has to include certain components and just worship Him as His Spirit and Word guide."
It gives me a freedom that I so long for!

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