Monday, September 29, 2008

Behind Those Eyes: Ms. Perfection (chapter two)

Here are my reflective thoughts for week two in "Behind Those Eyes" by Lisa Whittle, hosted by Lelia. Please note I am writing these Monday afternoon as Tuesdays I am caught up in clinicals with my nursing students. Then as soon as I get home that evening I am running to dance and gymnastics with the girls so posting is next to impossible unless I write the day before.

I re-read chapter two last night. I was intrigued with the verse Lisa used at the front of this chapter. I stared at for a long time. It seemed to stump my thoughts. Maybe I was tired. Maybe it was because of that "flesh women" spirit inside me that has made her presence known and bothersome. She has been trying hard to block the spiritual. I have been tense internally, I can especially feel it in my jaws. I figure this is just part of this battle of letting go. Whatever the reason for my mental block, I was intrigued by this verse:

To all perfection I see a limit; but your commands are boundless. ~Psalm 119:96

I guess I was stumped by how the two lines went together and related to the chapter. What was Lisa's intention for this verse in referencing "Ms. Perfection"?

I continued to read this chapter and understand the life drama's Lisa wrote about. We all have gone through these drama's to try and display perfection in our lives, even when it is so far from the truth. Not that is it is wrong to try and achieve these things she wrote about (perfect families, perfect marriages, perfect lives) but the reality is found in the Scripture she reminded usof from 2 Corinthians 3:5 "Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God". That's where perfection, confidence, peace and joy come from...our competence in Christ. I agree. I have seen it in others, I have experienced it in my own life.

But back to that verse she listed in the beginning of the chapter. I needed to read more of the surrounding verses to fully grasp what God wanted us to take from this piece of scripture He laid on Lisa's heart. It just wouldn't leave me. Ps 119:89-96 in the NIV version reads:

Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.
Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.
Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you.
If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.
I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life.
Save me, for I am yours; I have sought out your precepts.
The wicked are waiting to destroy me, but I will ponder your statutes.
To all perfection I see a limit; but your commands are boundless.

It's describing the perfection of Christ and who He is or can be in our life, right? Without Him we would not survive life's crisis, agree? He's our life preserver. He is who we should cling to when the going gets tough. We all know that. Now read this section of passage in the Message version and be awed....

What you say goes, God, and stays, as permanent as the heavens. Your truth never goes out of fashion; it's as up-to-date as the earth when the sun comes up. Your Word and truth are dependable as ever; that's what you ordered—you set the earth going. If your revelation hadn't delighted me so, I would have given up when the hard times came. But I'll never forget the advice you gave me; you saved my life with those wise words. Save me! I'm all yours. I look high and low for your words of wisdom. The wicked lie in ambush to destroy me, but I'm only concerned with your plans for me. I see the limits to everything human, but the horizons can't contain your commands!

There's that word-TRUTH! Truth is permanent, dependable and inspiring. Truth is perfection, the perfection we find in Christ. Truth is the perfection we are in Christ. Living in truth is living in God's way, obedient to Him. The same truth that carried David through his life drama's thousands of years ago will carry us in the same way. It will circulate through our body to cleanse us and to heal us and most importantly, it will give us life. The truth of who we are in Christ is what we must except, not the truth or labels we (or others) try to place on our self because of how we have lived up to this point.

Lisa's challenge question for this chapter asked us to "search our heart" and ask if it is "more important to be seen as perfect in certain areas or seen as real". I looked in the mirror. Imperfections are too numerous to name here. But then I looked again with spiritual eyes and I smiled. My imperfect life is what makes me real. My heart and internal longing for more of Christ is what makes me real. No more hiding THAT truth. I'm a living, walking, talking example of GRACE and I am at peace with it, confident God will use it for His glory if I am obedient to Him with it.

Perfection will come in the eternal. For now, I am looking for the spiritual wonder and wisdom that I can only gain from God's truth and to live it!

It feels like chaos but He IS up to something bigger than me! So I am seeking out His precepts. I am only concerned with His plans and His truths in me.

Pamela (MrsJoeB)


Connie said...

I love that you said "It feels like Chaos". I've felt that way too many times. In the end, I've seen the blessings although not right away. Thanks for sharing and further exploring the verse for us. Connie

Paula (SweetPea) said...

I too struggled with that verse and why those two sentences were together or rather how they fit together. I didn't have time to seek further so thanks for sharing the scripture in both versions. I prefer the NIV or the more original translations but like to see the more paraphrase ones also like NLT and MSG.


Tammy R said...

I love how you said "He's our life preserver."

Your words gave me some great insight.

Laura said...

amen! Jesus is my perfection! I want to let Him shine through me. Thanks for posting those verses in context. It really clarified things.
don't let that flesh woman have a foothold! Hang in there, friend.
love to you.

Lelia Chealey said...

This post really spoke to me Pam. I too feel much chaos inside of me. I know if I stick it out it will be worth it, but honestly sometimes I just don't want to.
I'm so glad we're walking through this tough book together. You are a blessing to my life my friend. More than you know.
Love you,

Liz said...

Great insight on the verse...I had similar thoughts when I read it. You wrapped it up nicely!
Blessings to you!

Darlene said...

I LOVE this:"But then I looked again with spiritual eyes and I smiled. My imperfect life is what makes me real. My heart and internal longing for more of Christ is what makes me real. No more hiding THAT truth. I'm a living, walking, talking example of GRACE and I am at peace with it, confident God will use it for His glory if I am obedient to Him with it."

He glories in our imperfection! He has no use for perfection... then we wouldn't need Him who IS perfect!


Amy said...

I found this quote about imperfection, and it goes so beautifully with what you've written.

“I find imperfection the most interesting thing about a person.”


Your words about looking in the mirror also reminded me of the stain glass story I told you about before. We tend to see ourselves like stain glass....up close we look all broken and not in one piece, but if you step back and let the "Light" shine see something truly amazing! Not perfect, but beautiful!:)

God Bless,

Carol said...


Your comment about looking in the mirror and not liking what you saw and then looking again with spiritual eyes, that is something I need to remember to do.

Also I was awed by the message version, God's word is so amazing, and sometimes we just need to hear it in a differnt way.


Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

Hi Pamela,
I should have come here earlier because you felt the chaos as well.
I dont' know WHAT it was but I really struggled this week through this lesson. The whole perfection thing felt hit me like a ton of bricks. Mostly because of our society in that... ?
I'm hoping it's just a process and as i keep going... I can figure some things out? This was an incredibly hard week for some reason..? It was interesting how those two verses fit?

HIS Daughter said...


My sweet sister - love your heart and your insight! I notice that most have had those feelings of chaos last week. I did as well and I struggled with what GOD was saying to me just like we all wondered what this verse meant.

I got this quote from the great preacher and theologian, Charles Spurgeon on that verse in the Psalms. I liked it so I'm posting it here. Love and prayers:

"Perfect men, in the absolute sense of the word, live only in a perfect world. Some men see no end to their own perfection, but this is because they are perfectly blind. The experienced believer has seen an end of all perfection in himself, in his brethren, in the best man's best works. "

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

A powerful post, Pam. I had to unpack it, bit by bit, but I love that...

it required something of me and I LOVE THAT!

Keep digging my friend; you're right when you say that God is onto something in your life. You may not be able to perfectly pinpoint it at this time, but I firmly believe it has something to do with your "perfection" and your moving onto toward it in the illuminating light of God's abiding presence.

Love your heart, friend.


Leebird said...

Wow, I love the way ol' Eugene puts things in the message.

Thank you for digging deeper into the word for more of God's truth.

And, thanks for your kind words on my post. Lee

nothingcanseparateme said...

"My imperfect life is what makes me real. My heart and internal longing for more of Christ is what makes me real. No more hiding THAT truth. I'm a living, walking, talking example of GRACE and I am at peace with it, confident God will use it for His glory if I am obedient to Him with it."

Amen, Amen, Amen!! This is awesome!

blessings to you!
**I am hearing that Sanctus Reel song ALL the time since we started this book study. I am feeling the "chaos" also!

Lisa said...

Not one for dramatics, I have to say that this post gave me chills. I am so beyond thrilled that you took the time to look up that verse and see what surrounded it. You're right...that and every verse that started off the chapters was very specifically and prayerfully selected for reasons like you mentioned! It encourages an authors heart to know that some women do read and search out things like that. So...thank you for not giving up on it and pursuing the TRUTH about that verse. Praise God!

I prayed for you specifically tonight.

Lisa :)

Pat said...

AMEN! It does require a constant heart check to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and not on how we look to others.
Our "imperfection" is His specialty!!
Great stuff!