Monday, September 16, 2013

Are You a Nit-Picker?

By Julie Gernand
I have always been something of a perfectionist. 
I like it best when everyone is happy, no one is fighting, I’m caught up with my work, and the people around me all share my belief and joy in Jesus. I’d like to live in a big, happy world, with kittens and rainbows, and no disagreements or negative feelings.

…Ha.

How much something inside of me has been longing for this perfection lately. I suppose you can say that at times I can be rather na├»ve to the ways of this world, and ignorant of Satan’s sneaky schemes to steal my joy. This side of Heaven, our world is far from perfect!

Because of my happy vs. unhappy/all-or-nothing-thinking, I have found myself nit-picking at life lately:

“If I didn’t have to drive so far to get to work, then my job would be perfect.”
“If I can find a way to check in with all my loved ones this week, I’ll be in great shape.”
“If my vacation had been one day longer, I would feel fully refreshed right now.”

…and the list goes on.

I have been dwelling on small negative aspects of life...instead of fully embracing and appreciating God’s blessings.

Jesus gave us life here on earth. He never promised us this earthly life would be a cake-walk:

    33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16)

Jesus lays it out right there: you will have trouble. That is a fact. Despite our longings for a perfect life, while we are here on earth, we will face trials of many kinds. Things will go wrong. Sin, disease, wars, all happen.

So how do perfectionists like us deal with that?

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly (John 10).

Today, write down three “nit-picks”, like I have done above.

Now, draw a line through each one, and replace them with a corresponding blessing. Mine would now look like this:

“Thank you, Lord, for providing me with reliable transportation to get to work!”
“Thank you, Lord, for granting me time to spend with Grandma this week!”
“Thank you, Lord, for giving me the means by which I can take a vacation!”

My husband, who is extremely blessed by the ability to remain content despite any circumstance, lovingly reminded me yesterday that a person will never be happy if they always wish things were somehow different. While we are busy nit-picking at the failings of this fallen world, we will miss out on life’s bigger blessings if we are not careful. 

Jesus has already given us the perfection we seek. Yet, we cannot fully grasp it during our earthly life. Heaven will be our perfect home someday.

Beth Moore writes in her book Breaking Free:

“How realistic is the dream of living happily ever after? See for yourself: ‘His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ (Matt. 25:21) There you have it. Christ is happy. He wants you to share His happiness – to live happily ever after. Until then, He gives us a sudden splash of happiness here and there so we can wet our toes in what we’ll be swimming in for all of eternity!” (p.163)

Dear Jesus, Thank you for the multitude of blessings you’ve given to me. Forgive me when I forget the bigger blessing in exchange for whining about particular circumstances. I am deeply sorry for this, Lord. Thank you for your overreaching, never-ending, glorious gift of grace despite my sinfulness!

Amen.

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