Dear Lovely You,
who doesn’t want to play the piano,
take out the recycling,
study for your geometry exam,
get on the treadmill,
clean up the basement,
or do that big thing that feels like an impossible thing—
okay, yeah, boy, do I hear you.
It doesn’t matter a hill of sprouting beans if you’re 9 and stomping your feet or 16 and slamming doors or 40 and distracting on your phone — hard things just keep calling you because you’re meant to answer to higher and better things.
You’re meant to do hard and holy things because they are the next thing —- to get to the best thing.
You’re made to do hard and holy things — because there’s no other way to get to the happy and holy things.
You know how we wrote it up there on the chalkboard in the kitchen years ago, and we all memorized it? Well, it’s true, and it’s hard, but there’s a brave hope in it:
Life is Pain — and you get to choose: either the Pain of Discipline or the Pain of Disappointment.
Nothing happens without discipline. No music gets played without discipline. No games get won. No finish lines get crossed. No freedom gets tasted. And you want that.
Yeah, look, we had a kid who scored in the 99.7 percentile on the ACT, and that’s all well and good and extraordinarily wonderful, but it’s like my Dad always said:
Brilliant doesn’t matter, if you can’t get out of bed.
Talent doesn’t mean a thing, if you let Fear be some terrorist that takes you hostage.
Potential doesn’t add up to anything, if you get addicted to perfectionism because perfectionism is slow death by self.
Listen: Fire your perfectionism and your procrastination will quit too.
Because here’s the thing:
You’re the Presenter.
You’ve been given a gift — and you’re the person who is trying to be present to this present moment, and do the hard work of unwrapping your gift, your talent, your vision, your God-given dreams. Presenters want to be present to life and their calling and the joy and the work — but they know that the path is painful.
The Perfectionist Terrorist
Presenters know that the path is painful — because behind ever corner lurks The Perfectionist Terrorist. The Perfectionist Terrorist is a liar to the nth degree — he tells you that if you’d just get it perfect enough, do it right enough, be good enough —- that you’ll be liked by everyone enough.
But the truth of it is? Sometimes you have to accept that you’ll never be acceptable enough for some people. And whether you accept that as their issue or yours — is up to you.
The Perfectionist Terrorist claims to have High Road Motives, claims to want to make everything turn out perfect, but his policing pressures you and poisons you and prosecutes you, until it all paralyzes you.
So The Procrastinator tries to protect you, The Presenter, from The Perfectionist Terrorist, tries to intervenes with distractions, temptations, and interruptions — or just pushes you to pull out and give up.
Honestly, The Procrastinator is just trying to protect you from the bullying of The Perfectionist Terrorist.
The Perfect Love
So Who’s missing in this struggling, messy triangulation of The Presenter, the Perfectionist Terrorist, and The Procastinator? The compassionate Words of Perfect Love.
You just need Perfect Love.
There is His Perfect Love who kicks all your fear to the curb, there is His Perfect Love who accepts you 100% before you perform even 1%, there is His Perfect Love who speaks Protection and Peace and promises the Power of the Holy Spirit — so you can fire perfectionism and procrastination will quit too.You fire your perfectionism every time you let His Perfect Love ignite you.
When you rest in Perfect Love — discipline comes easily because you’re being a disciple of Perfect Love — you’re following Perfect Love.
And Perfect Love says you don’t to have show anyone up — you just have to show up.
Perfect Love says you don’t have to impress anyone — you just have to press on.
Perfect Love says when you mess up — He’ll pick you up… and when you can’t carry on, He’ll carry you.
So dear Lovely Kid, Trying Friend, Tired You, who doesn’t want to practice that thing,
clean up that thing,
study for that thing,
sweat on that thing,
or do that big thing that feels like an impossible thing —
You can bravely do the next thing, because God’s got this thing.
Perfect Love terminates The Perfectionist Terrorist — which eliminates the Procrastinator — which liberates you, the Presenter…. to unwrap your special gift.
There’s snow down in the woods, all down the road this morning, the ice clinging at the edge of things —- and you can feel it if you turn your face toward the sun —-
all those hard things melting in the heat of a greater and perfect warmth.