Just Say No to Perfection

I recently heard Stephen Furtick, pastor of Elevation Church, say something to the effect of, “It’s impossible to experience peace if you’re expecting perfection.”

I believe there is a ton of truth in that statement. Too many times I have fallen into that trap, thinking that once something specific happens, I’ll finally be happy.

Once I make $_____ a year, I’ll have arrived and I can feel like I’ve accomplished something.

Or, once I’m able to buy such and such a car, then I’ll feel good about myself.

The truth is, perfection is a rare bird. If you or I live our lives waiting for it, we’ll spend our whole lives “on hold.” 

We’ll never feel quite right inside—not until we get that one thing we’ve been waiting for. That job, that house, that car, even that spouse.

We’re told in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

We’re not designed to live life thinking, “If only….” Today is all we have. We’re not even guaranteed that we’ll wake up in the morning and have another day on this earth.

We’ll never achieve perfection in these human bodies we inhabit. The world is a broken place, and we must accept that if we’re ever going to experience contentment and peace. 

Embrace your flaws and realize that they’re what make you who you are. 

And while you’re at it, embrace the flaws of others as well. The rest of the people on this planet are in the same situation—they’re not perfect either. Don’t hold them to a higher standard than you hold yourself.

Certainly, we should try our best. But we must realize that our best will not lead us to perfection. 

It’s not the way the world works. Since the moment that the first man and woman took bites from the forbidden fruit, we’ve been unable to attain perfection. 

Take satisfaction with what you have, where you are, and who you are. 

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to improve ourselves. The minute you stop making forward progress you begin to slip backward.

You’re always moving in one of two directions—progressing toward a better you, or regressing toward a lesser you.

But realize that life is about the journey, not the outcome. Take joy in the steps you make each day toward making your life—and the lives of those you touch—better. 

Be glad that you have the opportunity to make a difference in the world. Just remember that it’s not about perfection, but rather about the process.

I’m No Surfer But I Kind of Wish I Were

I’m no surfer. However, I imagine that surfing is at least somewhat like how I’ve tried to live my life.

I’ve imagined what it would feel like to surf. It would be quite the adrenaline rush to look up and see a huge wave rolling in, one that you could ride on and feel like the king of the world. 

While you’re balancing on your board high up on the wave, you could probably see for miles around. Would you even have the forethought or ability to take a look toward the horizon? Or would you be so focused on staying on the wave that nothing else could get your attention?

For that few seconds of glory, life would feel magnificent, like you’re on top of the world and nothing can bring you down. I’d imagine it would be the same sort of exhilarating feeling that skydiving would produce.

You wouldn’t want those few seconds to end. However, you know in the back of your mind that it will all come to an end shortly. You’ll come down off the wave and back to the plane of earth and menial human existence.

As a surfer, you would live for those few seconds…

And that’s how I’ve wanted to live my life. I’ve believed wrongly that life should be about those few seconds riding the wave. And if it isn’t, something is wrong. 

Because, there surely are people who continuously ride that wave. Their lives are wonderful and each day is a new adventure. There are no doldrums in their lives. No major problems. Nothing to pull them down. Just pure bliss and joy. Surely those people exist, right? I’m being sarcastic, of course.

If you don’t have that peace and bliss, what’s the point of living? That’s the question I’ve asked myself when I’ve been at my lowest points. Those are times that I’ve believed life should be about the perfect, the great. That there should never be hard times or difficult circumstances. Life should be lived on that wave.

Alas, I know that’s not the way life works. 

The problem, however, is that I can’t get myself to fully believe that I can’t shortcut the system. That I can forge a new path, one full of happiness and contentment. That if I had enough time and enough money that all would be good. No, all would be great. Part of me just simply refuses to buy into that and I’m not sure why.

I know the Bible even tells us that we will have troubles. It goes so far as to instruct us to “count it all joy” when you encounter various trials. I’m not sure how to do that. I’m not sure I want to do that. It would be somehow like admitting that I’m OK with that kind of life. And I’m really not.

I don’t like it that life is difficult and challenging much of the time. Deep down,  I don’t think it should be that way. In my head, I’ve accepted that life is hard, but in my heart I long for a perfect, easy life—the cruise control life as I’ve called it.

God’s Built-in Blessings

If you’re tied into God each day, you’re way ahead of the game when compared to people who don’t recognize God in their everyday lives.

Throughout His word, God promises us provision, blessings, joy, and peace if we’ll only trust in Him and follow His commandments.

If you’re like me and your mind tends to dwell on the negative aspects of life, then it may be helpful to think of each day as already having “built-in” blessings based on the promises of God found in the scriptures.

Picture your life and each day as full of promises for good things that God wants for you. You’re not alone, left fighting each day through this jungle we call life. Rather, you’re on a fantastic journey that God designed just for you before time began. 

“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Ps. 139:16).

Sure, there will be challenges and perils along the way—there is no way to avoid those as inhabitants of this fallen planet. However, each day holds mystery, meaning, and purpose if only we’ll lean into God, trust and obey Him, and look for His blessings.

Upon reading through the Bible, it is obvious that God wants the best for us. He even tells us that all things will work together for our good if we love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28).

So what are these blessings anyway? Following are just a few of them we’ll find in His word. I encourage you to read the Bible for yourself and discover more of them, perhaps ones that speak to you personally and are particularly applicable to your life and individual circumstances. If you seek God, He will make himself known to you (Deut. 4:29).

Psalm 103 is packed with many promises and provisions. It tells us that we worship a God “who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (v. 5).

We also learn that, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him” (v. 13).

Also, He will never stop loving us. “But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children—with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts” (vv. 17-18).

Philippians 4 is a passage that I have often referred to in this blog. It has been so helpful to me, and I’m sure to countless others, in trying to overcome anxiety and depression. 

In this chapter, we’re told that if we take everything to God in prayer—trusting Him with our problems instead of worrying about them (v. 6)—then “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (v. 7).

This is an incredible promise if we can just wrap our minds around it!

He literally commands us not to worry about anything. Have you ever thought about what that really means? If we’re worrying, we’re sinning—it’s as simple as that. 

He promises to flood us with His peace and comfort if we’ll just rejoice in Him (v. 4), pray about everything, and worry about nothing.

Matthew 6 is another powerful passage that truly speaks to those who suffer from depression and anxiety. Besides reiterating that we shouldn’t worry (v. 34), this chapter tells us that God will provide for us. 

“Your heavenly Father knows that you need them [everyday needs like food and clothing]. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (v. 32b-33).

Think about it…God already knows exactly what we need and has made provision for it without us even having to ask Him for it. 

All we need to do is commit our daily lives to following His will and doing His work here on earth. He promises to take care of the rest.

These three passages represent only a small sample of all the many blessings that God has promised for His children. Take some time to search the scriptures for more nuggets of gold that can help you manage the stresses, strains, and challenges of your everyday life. 

Read them over and over, meditate on them, and commit them to memory. Doing so will pay huge dividends in your outlook on your life and your circumstances.

The Path to Real Joy

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

John 15:10-11

Simply put, if you’re not obeying God, it’s going to be very hard for you to be joyful in life. The above verse speaks volumes about the relationship between obedience and our quality of life. 

If we’re going through life following our own agenda and paying no attention to God, sooner or later we’ll come to a point where life feels pointless and maybe even hopeless.

I have fallen into this trap myself. Far too often during my adult life, I’ve selfishly pursued my own desires and passions. 

Then one day I’ll wake up and realize that I’ve been traveling the wrong road. The truth will hit me like a brick that I should have stayed close to God and His desires for my life instead of doing whatever I wanted to do.

For a while, I’ll renew my spiritual life—praying more, reading the Bible more, trying to discern God’s will in every area of my life. 

The problem has always been that I don’t keep doing those things. Eventually, something happens (or a series of somethings) and I fall away from God. I pick up my old path of selfish living again.

And the result is that I miss out on a full and joyful life…the life that God intends for each of us to live.

It would be a mistake to take one verse and try to make it THE key to a fulfilling life, but I think that this particular verse does contain a lot of truth that those of us who struggle with depression and anxiety should take to heart.

In the end, obedience to God is really the only way to experience true joy in this life. We’ll still have struggles and challenges to overcome, but our lives will have that little something extra that only those who trust in God have.

It’s joy…peace…fulfillment…contentment. All the above and then some. God wants us to be joyful, and the only way to do that is by listening for His voice and obeying it.


I slowly open the back door of my house and step outside, careful not to awaken any sleeping souls. As I step across the threshold into the spring night, a cool breeze caresses my face.  The myriad stars are tiny points of light on the sky’s black canvas.

Another day is nearly over, written in the history book of my life, never to be opened again.  It can and will be recalled, but never reopened, never relived, never improved.  It is truly wonderful to pause and reflect, stretching my thoughts and dreams past the mere happenings of the day.  This was only one of the thousands of days of my life, quite unremarkable from all the others.  Yet, as I reflect on it I am glad it is over.  Even as a twinge of anxiety about tomorrow slyly pinches me, I am grateful that I can say I have survived this day.

Ah night!  Such a wonderful time.  The world sleeps as I stand still in blissful solitude.  Nighttime is truly my time.  That’s when I’m free to be myself, left alone with no interruptions, able to ponder my existence.  When others retire for the night, that’s when I come alive.  Recognizing the opportunity for solitude, my mind awakens from its fog and I make the most of these times simply to think, read, or just sit.  Alone at night is when I feel the most natural and comfortable.  There is no one to interrupt my flow, no one to compete with my thoughts.  My thoughts are mine alone.

As I stand on my deck and look out across the neighborhood at rows of dark houses, their occupants nestled in and slumbering away, I feel superior.  I don’t need sleep at this particular moment.  In a few minutes perhaps I will, but not now.  I win, as it were.

In a few hours, when the sun is peeking above the horizon and showing itself for the first time that day, these same people will begin to stir, will renew the process of convening for the day.  They will once again form little groups in offices and workplaces across the city, repeating their daily rituals. They will compete among themselves to put forth the newest and best ideas, in hopes of solving the problems of the world, and perhaps gain notoriety, fame, and ultimately riches.

But that is all for later.  For now there is simply darkness and quiet, peace and bliss…