My Fab Fam

My Fab Fam
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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Stagnant Perfection v/s Imperfect Progress

I went to a local women's retreat Friday night.  Some friends of mine who have their own radio show were the speakers.  I never get to hear their show because, well, it comes on at  We all know how mornings are for me.  The very last thing I can imagine is squeezing a radio show into the morning mix.  But a Friday night--that I can do!

One phrase they used particularly struck me:  "Imperfect Progress:  just keep moving forward."

The idea is that we (and I do mean me!) get so caught up in doing things perfectly and get so discouraged when we fail that we become defeated, unwilling to move forward.  Maybe we even hide away in our homes...or our churches.

The world is scary.  We've ventured out before, and now we're wounded.  We've stumbled.  And fallen.  And failed.  And we are weary of getting back up.  So we retreat.

I have sensed God telling me over and over to just keep moving.  "Through me, you are able.  Do it.  Don't be afraid.  Do not fear.  Don't shirk back in your insecurities."  (See this post.)

So I start moving, and trusting in His grace.  Eyes off me, focusing on Him.  Ignoring my inabilities as I recognize His "incomparably great power for us who believe" (Ephesians 1).

We might take two steps forward, stumble, and even take a step back as we fail sometimes, but we're still moving forward.  Imperfect progress--so much better than perfectly standing still.  Even if we look really good in our stagnation...and some of us do.

We may feel as dead as the Dead Sea (in which there is literally no life) and still manage to portray a picture of health.  But man, is that exhausting!

When our fear of failure paralyzes us, preventing us from moving forward in the ultimate adventure that awaits us in Christ, we just try to perfect standing still.  Stagnant Perfection.  Only...we aren't perfect.  So, while we're stagnantly maintaining a picture of perfection we are actually dying; we unwittingly make agreements with Satan...that we are an ugly mess...that we could not possibly be of use to God's Kingdom...that even our quiet time isn't working.  In the words of a "big sis" in Christ...

Break those [agreements] with Satan! You are a beautiful child of God and have somehow found yourself bound up in a mess of shame and comparison. Right where Satan wants you. Such spiritual attack that you don’t even recognize it. Satan works that way, so subtly, and we begin to believe the lies and accept them as truth. He even has convinced you that your quiet time isn’t working. Don’t give in, don’t let him win!  ...Keep this in mind, we compare our insides to everyone else’s outsides."

And in our pursuit of perfection, we forget about grace.  Eyes off God, focus on ourselves.  Occasional glances at everyone else to make sure we are at least looking as good as them.  Working so hard to "be better" while we play the dangerous game of Comparison.  We become our own savior.  And we are sorely inadequate to save.  So, death begins.  As Max Lucado says, "Attempts at 'self-salvation' guarantee nothing but exhaustion.  We scamper and scurry, trying to please God, collecting merit badges and brownie points, and scowling at anyone who questions our accomplishments.  The result?  The weariest people on earth.  We so fear failure that we create the image of perfection."

But we can't make any progress when we're working so hard to maintain that image of perfection.  We'll find that we haven't taken any steps towards Christ in a long time.  And if we stand still long enough, we will become bored to death!  Literally, death.  We move; we live.  We stop moving; we start dying.

"The thief comes to steal, kill [bring death], and destroy; I have come that you may have life, and have it ABUNDANTLY!"  --Jesus  (as recorded by John)

Satan hopes to steal our joy, kill our faith and our life, and destroy our witness.  He wants us to cower behind our insecurities, smiling outwardly as we inwardly waste away and lose heart.

While Jesus wants this to be true of us, "We do not lose heart! Though OUTWARDLY we are wasting away, INWARDLY we are being renewed day by day."  (2 Corinthians 4)

Break free!  Quit hiding behind insecurities and a facade of perfection!  And LIVE!!!!


  1. Wise words about life's struggles against the negativity of Satan's attack! Keep those wise words coming!

  2. Sweet friend-Humbled that God used us to inspire you. I used your familiar face often as a face to focus on while we spoke Friday night. Thank you for your presence...God used you to bring comfort to my nerves:) ~tammy


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