I’m a perfectionist. To be honest, it’s a family characteristic. Although not everyone in my family is a perfectionist, most of us are. People may disagree with me, but being a perfectionist isn’t always a bad thing. It means I work hard and do my best, no matter what I do. Yet there’s a downside to striving for perfection. It’s unattainable.
I was reminded of this last week when I went to see my nine-year-old nephew play soccer. Unfortunately, he too has inherited the perfectionist gene. I watched him play goalie, his favorite position. Even though I am biased as his aunt, he did an amazing job, especially considering his team has played more games than they’ve had practices due to rain. Under the circumstances, his team played a good game, but they didn’t understand the positions they were supposed to be in during the game, so 80% of the game was played in front of my nephew’s goal. Understandably, my nephew had more attempted goals he had to block than normal for a soccer game, and he did an exceptional job. He blocked two-thirds of the attempted goals, yet seven still made it past him. Being the perfectionist that he is, my poor nephew didn’t see how well he did. He only saw the failures, and by the end of the game, he was in tears. His expectations were simply too high.
As I’ve pondered this over the week, I can’t help but think we’re all like this, whether or not we’re a perfectionist. Since we started this series on Believing God I’ve had more conversations with people about why they struggle to trust God, and the number one reason given is “because a situation I was praying about didn’t turn out the way I expected it would.” In other words, we struggle to trust God because He doesn’t do what we want Him to do.
I can’t help but think of Job, who found himself in a similar situation. After losing everything, he cried out to God, “What are you doing? I’ve been a good person. I went to church. I tithed. I followed Your laws. Why aren’t you doing anything to fix this?!” (Job 31) For a long time, God let Job vent. He just sat there and listened while Job complained, but then, God spoke! I encourage you to read Job 38-41. It’s one of those passages of Scripture we all need to read every now then because it reminds us how great God is and just how small we are. Like God said in Job 38:12, “Have you ever in your life commanded the morning, and caused the dawn to know its place?”
Somewhere along the way, we’ve forgotten just how insignificant we are. On this planet, we are the top dogs - the alpha. We rule over animals and things which are weaker than us, so in our minds, it’s easy to forget that we are as small as a speck of dust compared to God. He is the One in control, and who are we to be upset when our expectations don’t line up with His? The further I get into this study, the more I’m amazed at the sheer audacity of believers in Christ. The God who set the world into motion knows our names. He knows the number of hairs on every person's head. Not only that, He knows the number of tears we cry, and He cares! We fail Him in countless ways every day. We demand He do things our way, and when He doesn’t, we say He isn’t trustworthy. And yet, God loves us with a love that can’t be contained. That’s why this week’s name of God is important, because it makes us stop and think about how big our God is. He is El Elyon, “God Most High,” (Gen.14:18, 22).
As children of God, we should start each day with one expectation, and that’s to see God. How would life change if we stopped demanding things happen in a certain way and our heart’s cry became to simply see God each and every day of our lives? Problems and circumstances probably won’t reach the resolution we thought was best, but I guarantee we’ll see God in ways we never expected or imagined. He is El Elyon, the God Most High. The God who knows when an ostrich flaps its wings on the other side of the world knows what is best for you and me. Trust Him! Choose to believe that God in His infinite wisdom will work out the minute details of your life in the best possible way. Expect to see God!
“But He knows the way I take; when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot has held fast to His path; I have kept His way and not turned aside.” ~ Job 23:10-11
© May 4, 2017