I walked down the hallway to my office and called out, “What are you doing Olivia? We are supposed to be reviewing your spelling words.”
“I know, NeeNee, but I’m looking for the new box of pencils you bought last week.”
“Why do you need a new pencil? You have one in your backpack, just use that one.”
She responded, “I can’t use a pencil that has bite marks on it and missing half of the eraser. I need a new pencil so my spelling words will be perfect.”
With no time to analyze her logic, I sharpened a new pencil. I just wanted to move on with the practice spelling words so we could have dinner and get to Wednesday night Awana classes. Olivia positioned herself at my office desk with her newly sharpened pencil and a lined notepad.
“I’m ready, NeeNee; and just so you know, it’s OK if you mix up the spelling words.” With a flip of her hair, she numbered her lined paper. “I’ll let you know when I’m ready for the next word.”
It started well as I complimented her neat penmanship and correct spelling. That soon changed when I asked to spell the word ‘birds’. On Olivia’s first attempt she printed ‘brides’, then ‘berdes’ and the third and final attempt was ‘brdes’. The new pencil failed to produce a list of perfectly spelled words; instead, it revealed more practice was needed. My suggestion to re-write the misspelled word 5 times for practice was received with anger and frustration.
The next spelling word was ‘egg’. As I pronounced it, Olivia wrote the first few letters and then forced the tip of the pencil into the paper. The lead spiraled downward as a visible protest of frustration; in defiance, she threw the pencil to the floor and stomped out of the room. The error of her misspelled word and desire for perfection immobilized her and sent her into a ‘perfection pity party’.
God isn’t interested in a perfection driven life.
Our Heavenly Father looks at life situations differently than we do. Bite marks, missing erasers and broken lead tips are signs of effort to God. Being the sharpest pencil in the box doesn’t earn us a passing grade in the eyes of God. It is our continual effort to practice the Words of Life that gets His attention.
I encourage you to think twice before you toss the instrument you have been given to pen your life story. Those erasure marks that blacken our pages, those misspelled words that cause us to stumble and those bite marks of frustration are what enable us to see how a PERFECT God works through IMPERFECT people to fulfill His PERFECT purpose.