The pandemic has proven to be one of the great tests of our time. We all have a lockdown story. Usually, it doesn’t start off too bad – many appreciated the novelty of the quietness. Before long though, it morphs into a tale of hardship, suffering and sadness.

My lockdown story involved the accelerated decline of my Dad’s health from dementia, his isolation and death. A painful experience that was similar to those of many.

During difficult times we can stumble into beliefs hidden below the surface. Like a food allergy, our flawed beliefs react to a stimulant foreign to the body. Recently increased pressure has acted as a foreign element, bringing to the fore dead-end mindsets.

What hidden beliefs have surfaced for you under pressure?


Imperfect beliefs

One such belief is the need to be perfect. Of course, we’d rarely admit perfectionism is the source of our anxiety, but in the light, we can see it gnaws away at us. Our performance was not good enough, our communication was not articulate enough or our availability was not comprehensive enough. Bottom line: we weren’t perfect.

For me, it even came down to was I grieving well enough?” Talk about pressure. We can’t even grieve without beating ourselves up!

We live in something of a perfectionist age. We compare relentlessly, consciously and unconsciously, often seeking to be affirmed that we’re good enough.

What happens to us when our perfectionist tendencies collide with unrealistic expectations for ourselves and our ministry impact?

Sourcing expectation

I’m all for expecting revival and kingdom transformation. I’m just aware that how I internalise expectation will determine whether I persevere from rest or burn out from striving.

One pre-pandemic belief I’m clear I want to leave behind is perfectionism. I want Christ’s grace-shaped perfection to enable me to persevere.

1 Corinthians 15:10 says, “…by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them — yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.”

The grace of Jesus Christ is the basis of our rest and acceptance, not our distorted view of what is good enough. When we pursue perfectionism we accomplish more and more but it’s never enough and peace alludes us. When we embrace grace we work harder, while under the surface, contentment reigns.

When have you felt the grace of God enable you to work harder than others?

Our perfect relationship

We have been grafted into the perfect Father-Son relationship by the Spirit. We have the gift of an unbreakable union with God assured to us through Christ’s perfect response to the Father, not our fractured, fragile response.

Our childlike loaves and fish response to God is transformed in the light of the perfect obedience of the Son. His perfect life redeems every imperfect, inadequate response to God you’ve ever made.

What are your loaves and fish to present to Christ?

As we participate, abide and rest in the grace of God, we discover our ability to persevere is found in Christ’s perfect response. Everything else is noise.

Let us invite people to experience a perfect gospel.

Prayer exercises to help you persevere

  • Consider a time you have shared the gospel. Take that to God and ask Him to show you how He sees it and how He wants to transform it in the light of His perfect faithfulness.
  • Close your eyes and imagine the words greeting you in heaven, Well done good and faithful servant.” (Mathew 25). How do you feel about that? What qualified you for that greeting? What qualified you could indicate where grace is operating in your life.