Josh and I were channel-surfing the other night when we hit upon A League of Their Own – an early 90s movie classic. It was right at the karaoke scene when Marla is up on stage pouring her singing heart out to Nelson. And then, shortly after, Dotti and Jimmy Dugan are in the middle of a power struggle at one of the baseball games. There they are at the dugout, simultaneously sending Marla different signals, confusing her entirely. And she watches helplessly, stepping on and off the base, unsure of her next move.
I feel a little bit like her right now. I’m writing; I’m not writing. I’m working on it; I’m waiting on it.
I’m in the process of writing a brand new Bible study for creative business owners, and it’s going as slow as molasses. It’s been fourteen weeks since I started, and I only have six days written. Yes, I have a two-year-old at a five-month-old, so writing-time is limited. But more than that, the over-analyzing is killing me. I feel the weight of responsibility, to make sure my teaching is accurate. To check and re-check that nothing is taken out of context or misappropriated. And then, there are the moments where I have to allow myself to bask in the words that I’m writing. To learn the truth myself first, and apply it to my own life before I can begin to think about teaching it to others.
Yesterday was exactly one of those moments. I had just followed a cross-reference trail that led me straight to Matthew 5:48. And finished that day’s homework with these preach-to-myself words:
“You have just stepped into the middle of a marathon teaching session by Jesus that began with the Beatitudes at the beginning of Matthew 5 and continues for two more chapters. Scholars will tell you that it is both His longest and fullest continued discourse that we have on record in all of the gospels. And right there, forty-eight verses into His sermon, we hit a nerve – the kind that reverberates through every part of your life, both personal and professional.
Be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Here we are, talking about our artistry – the craft we have worked at mastering, the thing that we want to present perfectly to the world – and Jesus gives a gentle, mid-sermon reminder: only God is perfect.
It’s a little bit of a relief, isn’t it – to know that there is no perfect? There are always more edits to do to that photograph, more words to rearrange in that manuscript, more tweaks to make on that design. Confession: I’ve spent a week just writing this one day of homework, trying to make it perfect. And then I came to this reference and had to let it be, just the way that it is. Leaving it at my best, and trusting God to do the rest.
Embracing that “only God is perfect” truth is like rubbing a calming balm on the anxious creative mind of the perfectionist.”
At least, it is on mine. I hope that this study will be done sometime this year. In the meantime, I’ll be over here piecing it all together, praying Moses’ Deuteronomy 32:2 words every step of the way: Let my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew, as raindrops on the tender herb, and as showers on the grass. All for Your glory.
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