Stop Expecting Perfection.

I left Atlanta about a year ago when I married my husband. When I was there I lived in Buckhead and had the privilege of calling Passion City Church my home church. If you’ve ever been there you know what I’m talking about. Louie Giglio is the pastor, Kristian Stanfill leads worship under Chris Tomlin, and the place is packed full of Jesus loving people. I’ve never been a part of something so special, and I honestly don’t think I ever will again. The sermons are out of this world, literally. Well since I’ve been gone I’ve tried to make an effort to listen to Passion sermons on Podcast. When 2016 hit and our time got consumed with Atticus leaving for his deployment and me moving across the country I “didn’t have time” to listen to the sermons. It wasn’t until a month ago that I picked them back up and started listening from January so I could slowly catch back up.

This morning on my walk with Magnolia through Falls Park I listened to the Jan 24 sermon called, “Let Go”. (LINK HERE) Let me preface with this statement, every single sermon changes my life. At the end of every sermon I attend or podcast I listen to, I feel like a new woman. But then Satan weasels his way in and I lose sight of what I heard and forget where my life should be going. That’s why I’m writing this blog post – because I need a way to hold myself accountable and dig deeper into what God is teaching me. Anywho, back to the sermon. Louie was out of town for this sermon so the teacher was someone named Brad who leads the youth ministry at Passion. Now, Passion sermons are not quick 20 min “listen on the way to work one morning” sermons. Most are over 50 minutes long, and most require me to go back and review some parts (One of the many things I love about them btw).

This sermon is part of the “Habit” series that started in January with the new year starting. Instead of making “new years resolutions” Louie challenged us to form spiritual habits in our lives. The previous 2 sermons in this series are fabulous and I seriously suggest you listen to those before this one because it will get you in the right mindset. For my own accountability, I’m writing down my thoughts on what I’ve learned during this series.

Spiritual Habits are not about the “experience”. So frequently I find myself being content with a solid worship session in my car listening to the new Hillsong cd. No, that’s not wrong to do that. It is definitely encouraging, wholesome, uplifting, and morally sound truths to listen to – but when I leave my car and don’t have another Christ-centered thought until my next Hillsong sesh a few days later, that’s not enough. Christ calls us to have a relationship with Him – not an experience once a week/month/year. Christ died for us. DIED. So often I forget that seemingly small fact and take it for granted. The amount of times I check Instgram a day doesn’t even compare to the amount of times I open my Bible to read it. I need to work to change my life and form spiritual habits instead of feeling content with the experience. It may take days, months, or even years, but shouldn’t we want to do that? Shouldn’t I long for closeness with our Savior?

“We don’t work to earn God’s love, we work because of God’s love”

Slow down. In the sermon, “Glacier in a Gigabyte World” Louie talks about how fast paced our society has become – and he’s so right. I find myself filling every hour of every day with tasks, projects, and errands, and the whole time I’m checking social media for the latest updates on trends, politics, world news, friends, etc etc etc. I have this strange desire to want to cram my life with crap instead of filling it with the Holy Spirit. Even writing that last sentence sounds strange to me. Sure, when I take an honest look at my time spent, a majority of it is stupid and doesn’t matter in the slightest. But “filling” it with the Holy Spirit sounds like an impossible task. How can I possibly feel full from the Holy Spirit?! I guess that’s one of the many things that I struggle with in this performance driven world. When I can’t quantify some part of my life, how can I possibly feel full from it. But that’s why God is so unique. You can’t explain it, you can’t understand it, and you certainly can’t replicate it. That’s why we have to slow down. Take a day away from Facebook, Bravo network, and your Snapchat feed – spend those 2 hours (or more for most people!) of your day looking around and focusing on the positives in your surroundings, your family, your friends, and your life and thank God for them. When you start to feel life flying by you, smile, because you’re forming the layers of your spiritual glacier, and that’s just fine.

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” – Ephesians 2:10

We are all a work in progress. When I was born, I was born with sin. I was born with imperfections (although I know my parents would beg to differ – hah!). I was born with selfishness and wordly desires. And the sad truth is, while on this Earth, I will never be without sin. Satan is a very real thing and I can see him in my life every day. I’m working hard to make him smaller, but the reality is that I must continue to work hard every. single. day. Ephesians says that we are God’s masterpiece. How awesome is that?! You, are God’s masterpiece. He created you individually and has planned out your life even before Adam and Eve first walked on the Earth. We are made like Christ in order to do good things. That’s an intimidating thought right there. I immediately jump to asking myself, “Am I using my life to do good things like Christ would?” Wow, I don’t know about you, but I feel like I was just punched in my gut. And then I read the first sentence of this paragraph: We are all a work in progress. Whew! Christ expects me to have to work on this aspect of my life. Because sin & Satan exist, we will never be handed the opportunity to live in fellowship with Christ without working hard at it – until Heaven. Our lives will forever be a work in progress, and that’s ok.

We can expect love and consistency from people, but we can’t expect perfection.

Stop expecting Perfection. This one hits me right in the stomach. I have lived my whole life striving for perfection. I workout every day, use the face creams every day, buy nice clothes, read the news to stay up to date, and if all else fails – photoshop can always erase the blemishes. And I expect that from everyone else in my life. When someone can’t figure out how to put email on their phone I immediately cross their name off of my “intelligent” friends list. Or when someone asks, “wait, I didn’t even know America was still in a war, why is your husband on a deployment,” I roll my eyes and don’t listen to another word they say. I am so quick to judge people and throw them out of my life based off of a small comment or act. I so quickly forget how I said something insensitive to my mom that morning, or cut someone off while driving because I was in a hurry, or told a nasty rumor to a girlfriend. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I need to stop expecting perfection from myself too. No matter how many times a day I go to the gym, I will never look like the models in the magazine, and that’s ok! I was made in the image of Christ. But do my friends look at me and think, “She just exudes Christ today.” I can answer that for you, not one single time. But my friends and family still love me. No, I’m not perfect in society’s eyes (not even close actually), but God calls me Holy (Romans 5:21) and that is enough.

God help me see me how you see me.

Spiritual Habits are not about the “experience”. Slow Down. We are all a work in progress. Stop expecting perfection.

What I really need to do is tattoo those on my arm so I see them all day every day. Habits are a hard thing to create and a hard thing to kick. I’ve been working on fasting from an aspect of my life for 3 weeks now and feel like I’m worse than when I started. Life continues to kick me in the butt, and I’m reminded of how out of control I actually am. It’s a humbling experience and I can feel myself growing closer to Christ. I challenge you to look at what you start your day with tomorrow and take a hard look at how it impacts your life. Do you start with the morning news, Instagram, Pinterest, online shopping, a devotional, or reading The Word? I know those last two for me are a rare occasion but something I am really trying to increase in my life. But at the end of the day, remember that we’re all sinners and we have to stop expecting perfection from ourselves and others.