Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Perfection or Nothing...

I read a challenging quote by Edith Schaeffer the other day.  I was making my daily visit to Home and Heaven and Melissa shared it as part of her post.

" We must say to ourselves and to our children, "There is never a series of little packages of time given to you in life labeled: Time For Illness, Time For A Wedding, Time For A Death, Time For A Broken Leg...Time For The House To Burn Down, Time For Disappointment.  You can't face sickness...the disaster or even the headache unless you realize there is never a convenient time set aside for joy or sorrow protected by neat little walls so that the two things will not mingle and spoil each other.
This is a two-way understanding.  We need to remember, as finite, limited human beings that we cannot care perfectly for others' needs nor can others care perfectly for our needs, even when we or they want to.  Life has to go on, and we can only do the best we can in the melange, the mixed up nature of what there is to be done.  There are no protected little boxes of time which will not be invaded by a mixture of demands upon us.  Life is not like that.  It is another case of the danger of demanding perfection or nothing, and ending up with nothing."

I thought that this was such an excellent qoute.  It is something that I have come to appreciate, something that I saw so clearly over Christmas time - sorrow and joy, pain and gladness all at the same time.

This has been something I have loved about home educating my kids, although I never have been able to articulate it as well as Mrs. Schaeffer.  I love the aspect of being able to experience real life with my kids daily.  Some days we have a normal day of learning and family life, but other days are taken up with those things that come our way and need our attention.  We all experience them; a sickness, a death in the family, a neighbor in need.  We must learn and teach our children that this IS real life...

I like Mrs. Schaeffer's reminder that if we demand perfection or nothing, we will end up with nothing.  It is so challenging to me; take each day as a gift from the Lord, accept each interruption, challenge or difficulty as something He has allowed. There is never a perfect time to have a baby, there is never a perfect wedding (there are imperfect humans involved you know!), there is never the ideal circumstances for learning....

We must learn that we cannot expect others to be a certain way in order for us to have joy or happiness in our lives.  We cannot demand that everything be "just so" in order for us to feel secure. The only Perfect One is the Lord and we can and must depend upon Him and find Him daily to be our source of strength, joy, security, forgiveness, growth.  We either cling to His perfection or we have nothing. 


  1. Thank you for posting this. I struggle with this so much. I always think we need to get a certain amount done and I just can't have interruptions in "my" day. But it isn't my day it is His and thank you for reminding me of that!

  2. I love the quote I read somewhere on the internet...oh hey, it may have been on the Nester's site...anyway:

    It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful.


  3. This is excellent! I loved what you said: "... take each day as a gift from the Lord, accept each interruption, challenge or difficulty as something He has allowed."

    Thanks for sharing the quote by Edith Shaeffer and your own thoughts on the subject ~ very helpful to me!

    Blessings to you and yours ...

  4. This was well worth reading, thank you for posting it. Food for thought, and good reminders. Life gets in the way sometimes of our thinking, and remembering, and saying thank you for all we receive in blessings, each and every day!

  5. Too true!

    I have been guilty of this in the past...maybe the recent past...

    I need to add Mrs. Schaeffer's books to my reading list for 2009.

    They are full of gems.

  6. True...oh how true!
    Thank you for sharing this with us. I think that often in our lives we do want and strive for that perfection, with-out remembering that this is not a realistic state.
    Love & Prayers,

  7. Thank you so much for this post. I know a person or two who struggle with this, and sometimes I am guilty of it too. I really appreciate this post.


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