Shattering The Illusion of Perfection - Part 1: Devotional Life

This is a post that's been a long time coming.

I've been meaning to write about the topic of "perfection", or, better yet... the "illusion of perfection" for quite a while.  I've noticed an increased awareness among my peers, especially all you Mamas and married Ladies out there, that perfection is an illusion.  You can't reach it.  You can't define it.  You might think you see it on other people's Instagram profile and stories.  Beautiful Pinterest Boards. Amazing Facebook posts!  
But in reality, perfection is just the illusion behind filters, lots of deleted photos, and trashed videos.  You can't touch it or smell it or even talk about it for too long.  I start sweating and becoming anxious just thinking about it!  

For almost 11 years I've been a wife.  For the past 10+ years, I've been given the title of Pastor's Wife by those at Trinity Church and now at Bethel Missionary Church.  That's who I am.  I am Joel's wife.  And Joel is a pastor.  And for almost 8 years I've been a mother.  But the role I've been playing the longest is that of a daughter, a sister, and of a friend.  I've been wearing a lot of hats.  Plenty of titles.  Plenty of roles... 

So when it comes to achieving perfection on any given environment, setting, or group of people, I've learned to accept that perfection is an illusion.  

So... for the next couple of weeks, I'll be reflecting WITH YOU about this reality that I've had to face.  Shattering the illusion of perfection in different areas of my life.  Managing a home & Hospitality.  Marriage.  Motherhood.  Church life.  But today I'm starting with my relationship with Jesus Christ.  My most important relationship.  The most important role I'll ever play... that of God's child.  Unconditionally loved.  Redeemed.  

There isn't a formula that I learned when I became a Christian.  Do I go to church?  Do I pray 3 times a day (especially before meals and at bedtime)?  Do I wake up early to read my Bible?  And do I choose to stay away from lust, fatty foods, or any kind of entertainment sources?  Well...  Yes, yes, and yes!  BUT, regardless of how many items on my "Christian To Do List" I may check, if my heart and attitude are still focused on myself, I am doing all of that in vain.  I could read my Bible before the sun goes up, but if my attitude doesn't reflect His character by the Noon hour, what was that time in the Bible for?  After decades of "trying" to keep a devotional life, "quiet times", or scheduled times with Him, I'm learning that the most refreshing, freeing, and fulfilling way to develop a growing relationship with Jesus is by EXPERIENCING JESUS.  

But... what do you mean by EXPERIENCING JESUS, Helen?

Glad you asked!

EXPERIENCING JESUS means to use all of the different senses He has given me to experience life with Him.
Tasting a good meal.
Smelling good flowers.
Hugging my children.
Watching the sunrise.
Listening to good music.
Reading His Word.
Being in community with others. 

All of the things that He created me to enjoy... Christ is in that!  He created all GOOD things (James 1:17)!  He wants to show Himself in those things.  To show His love for me.  His provision.  His protection and faithfulness through such experiences.  I can experience Him when I'm doing chores and cleaning the house.  I can talk to Him when I'm driving and start singing a worshipFUL song.  I can see His goodness through a kind gesture.  I can experience His love for me and for His people at a Mottts (Mothers of Tots To Teens) meeting, or at our Life Group!  When I hear stories of God at work in the lives of the ones around me!  And I can most definitely HEAR from Him through times in Scripture (morning, noon, or night).  It does not need to be scheduled.  Or even "quiet".  

Sure.  God calls us to "be still" (Psalm 46:10).  He tells us to go to a quiet place to pray (Matthew 6:6).  And He calls us to rest (Matthew 11:28).  But I'm finding true freedom in living life WITH Jesus.  Experiencing Jesus' presence WHILE driving.  Reading to my children.  Interacting with friends.  Coffee dates with my husband.  

And I can TESTIFY that when I experience Jesus throughout my day, I can go to His Word because I desire to KNOW Him.  My hunger and thirst for His voice are heightened.  I begin to want to know His character.  To study Him.  And THAT's when reading my Bible is a joy, not a chore.  It happens as a RESPONSE to His presence in my life.  Out of devotion.  Not obligation.

So, if your Devotional Life doesn't look like the traditional "quiet time" you were taught and expected to have, don't fret.  Breathe In.  Breathe Out.  NOTICE Him.  Pay attention to His prompts. 

How have you experienced Jesus lately?  Are you excited to see, hear, and touch His goodness and presence today?  I am.

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