We have just concluded our fourth week of homeschooling for the year. My class is made up of one Kindergartener, one busy potty-training toddler, and one baby who thinks he wants to climb. There have been too many moments when I am frantically bouncing a crying baby on my hip, while telling June to stop dancing on the table, and simultaneously trying to teach the concept of how a nickel can equal five pennies. Trying to get a five-year-old to sound out her phonograms while her sister is rolling around on the floor pretending to be an injured puppy is an impossible feat. I need three of me.
If there was ever a time to let go of perfectionism, this is it. You probably wouldn’t know it by looking at my house, but I am a super perfectionist. I want everything to be perfect -my home, my meals, my budget, my schedule, my body, my sleep cycles, my diet, my children, my hair, my throw pillows, my attitude, my prayers. I could go on. If anything has been a part of my life, I have pushed it to become perfect. I have tried different ways to mold and refine and create the most perfect schedule or the most perfect menu plan. But as the Lord keeps heaping blessings in my life, I have slowly been learning to let go and open my hands and let things get messy.
In the fifth chapter of Matthew, Jesus reveals something about being truly perfect.
““You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
“Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” I want to be perfect and I think I know how. I have a lot of pins on Pinterest that look perfect to me. I want things organized and scheduled and beautiful. I want good behavior always rewarded and bad behavior punished. But that is not what Christ is talking about when He says to be perfect. I am wrong. He says that being perfect like the Father means that we are loving those who do not love us. It means that we are greeting people who do not greet us. It means rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous. Being perfect doesn’t mean that we have found a life balance that is fair and easy and simple. Being perfect means that we are loving enemies and rejoicing in suffering and smiling in the midst of the toddler chaos. It means that we are showering love and kindness and mercy where it is deserved and where it is not.
Jesus spent His ministry healing people, making their bodies perfect. One time the disciples asked him whose sin had caused a man to become blind at birth. Jesus answered “Neither has this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” Perfection is Christ turning our disabilities into glory.
In Matthew 19, Jesus says to the rich young ruler “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” Perfection is giving up all we have for the sake of Christ.
Colossians 3:14 says “And above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfectness.” Perfection is loving one another.
Living a perfect life has very little to do with figuring out a perfect homeschooling method. Perfection means accepting what the Lord has given with contentment, letting His glory be made manifest through my own weakness. Perfection means giving away my own life for others. Perfection means showing love. Perfection means working as hard as a I can to keep the house clean, but being perfectly happy to let the children pull out all the playdough again. Perfection means creating a schedule that will help the family, but graciously laying it aside when the baby starts cutting a tooth.
I offer my life to the Father every Lord’s Day, and I want my offering to be perfect, spotless, without blemish. I consider it a good week if the schedule seemed to work and the house stayed clean and I managed to keep the refrigerator full. I am wrong. Can’t I let Christ be the only one with a perfect life that he gave as the spotless sacrifice? Being perfect means that I move aside, I raise my open hands to the Lord and let go of my life so that Christ can be perfect, and I can find my perfection in partaking in His blood. I say with David every week and every day “God is my strength and power: and he makes my way perfect.” (2 Samuel 22:33)