Perfectionism- I think this is a struggle for many people. I know it definitely is for me. I have wanted to “get it right”, the first time, in all areas of my life since I was little. And for some reason I keep believing I can if I just put in a little more effort or care. And underneath that is a (false) belief that this is what God requires of me too (like He’s saying, “Let me see you making a good effort first.”). This has led to an “all or nothing” way of thinking- If I can’t do whatever it is correctly, then I won’t do it at all.

But God in His goodness has been helping me see the errors in my thinking and behavior, and that this is not His heart- not the Gospel. I was thinking recently of my expectations of the piano students I teach. I certainly don’t expect them to play their songs perfectly, especially when they are first learning a new song. Yes, maybe they know about parts of the song (they could name some notes and recognize the rhythm or other musical markings), but actually putting all that together and playing the song correctly from the start is unrealistic, and it would be harsh for me to expect that of them. So we start with just one aspect of the song (just figuring out notes, then rhythm, etc- one thing at a time). And maybe do this with just a part of the song, not even tackling the whole thing at once. And then they practice. There are lots of stumbles and mistakes, but each day of practice (even a small amount), the song they are working on gets easier, and then they can add more on, until all the aspects of playing the song are able to be handled together.

And that’s how God is with us- He is compassionate towards us in our weakness and our ability to grow in our faith a little at a time (He knows we will make mistakes and not figure it all out at once). Phil. 4:9 says, “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me- practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” He just wants us to abide and grow in Him day by day- moment my moment, not focusing on the whole of the task or the big picture (the whole song), but practicing walking with Him one step at a time.

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