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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 3 comments

My name is Lisa and I’m a recovering perfectionist. It may not look bad to you, but all this clutter piling up is driving me crazy!

I have a friend that came for a visit at another time when I was feeling my house was in complete disarray. Obviously she’s a really good friend, or I would’ve shoved all the stuff out of sight so that everything would look “presentable.” (You know you do it too!)

I was surprised to learn that her reaction to my mess was a positive one. My friend, who would be the first one to say that she is as disorganized as I am organized, said that she actually felt more comfortable knowing that my house isn’t always perfect.

All I can say is that she’d really be feeling comfortable today! Now, I could give you a list of excuses as to why my house is such a disaster, but the bottom line is that I love Jesus more than I love order – and I love order a lot!

What does loving Jesus have to do with my house being a mess? Everything!

I’ve come to realize that I can’t do it all, and I especially can’t do it all with perfection. I can have things looking good on the inside (my heart), or I can look good on the outside (appearance), but rarely, if ever, can I have both.  So I have to ask myself, “Who am I trying to please, God or people?”

The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” ~ 1 Samuel 16:7

I could have a perfect-looking house; I’d just have to stop spending so much time with Jesus.
Back in my perfectionist days, the house came first. I knew who Jesus was, but I didn’t spend much time with Him apart from an hour on Sunday. Now, the more time I spend with Jesus, the more I want to spend time with Him and be like Him.

“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” ~ Mark 8:34

It’s easy to read this verse “spiritually” and say, “Of course I would deny myself to follow Jesus!” but what does it mean practically speaking? 
What, specifically, are you willing to give up so you can spend more time with Jesus?

Watching TV?

Time on the computer?

Reading a novel or the newspaper?

Talking on the phone?

A little sleep? 

A perfect ______________________? (fill in the blank)

Having just returned home from a mission trip and being in bed sick for two weeks afterwards, time has been short and the to-do list long and growing. I had to make a choice. Am I going to spend time with Jesus in prayer and reading the Bible each morning or tackle the mountain of papers piling up on my counter?

I chose to spend time with Jesus and trust His promise in Matthew 6:33 - “…seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

I decided that cleaning my house falls under the category of “all these things.” I’ve learned that if I put Jesus first, He will allow me to accomplish the things He wants me to get done. Most of the time this is far less than what I want to get done, but I’m learning to get over it.

Now that I’m feeling better, I can choose to deny myself some of the things I listed above, dig into God’s word AND start digging out of the mounting clutter!

Jesus, thank you for loving me and causing me to fall in love with you. Thank you for changing my priorities and for forgiving me those times when I don’t put you at the top of the list.


3 Responses so far.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the great reminder, Lisa! I appreciate your insights. From another recovering perfectionist,
    Jennie Pickens

  2. Kris Willyard says:

    I heard a speaker this morning say many of our outward behaviors come out of 3 heart questions, "am I loved, am I significant, and am I secure" Many times, as we try to present an outward appearance, we are trying to please people to fulfill one of these heart needs. But instead, as you said, Lisa, we need to look to God and know He is the only one that can truly fill these needs. Thanks for your words.

  3. This is SUCH an important message - seems so many woman place their standards of perfection at unreachable levels (myself included sometimes). Thanks so much for addressing this :) Be blessed today!

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