Pursuing excellence in our leadership is a good thing. Perfectionism is not. Perfectionism, that refusal to accept a standard short of perfection, is the shadow side of excellence – undermining the best of who we are, limiting our ability to love, and damaging our leadership of others. How do I know? I know perfectionism so well in myself. Part of what makes us human is our imperfections and mistakes. Only God is perfect. At times I wonder if the church, in our desire to reach the world for Jesus, has hired a Pharaoh of perfectionism to help us. Sadly, many of us don’t need an external slave driver. We carry our own internal Pharaoh who drives us not to accept flaws and blemishes in our performance. The following are my top 10 signs that God uses to stop me when I fall into the sin of perfectionism: I am anxious – a lot. I. Read more.
God invites us not only to rest from our work, but also to work from our rest. That is, perhaps, nowhere more crucial than in preaching. The question is how do we preach from a place of Sabbath rest, i.e. how do we carry over the riches of Sabbath (to stop, rest, delight, and contemplate God for a 24-hour period) into our work of preaching. The following are a few points to consider: Say No to Perfectionism. Sabbath is first and foremost a day of “stopping” – even with our to-do lists unfinished. We embrace our limits. And we trust God. Sermons are never finished. Regardless of our preparation, when we step up to preach, we do so in faith. I have never preached a perfect sermon. Even my best sermons remain incomplete. God reserves perfection for Himself. While I believe we need to prepare well, it never exempts us from the hard work. Read more.
Jesus models for us a letting go of control, earthly power, and reputation. He empties Himself at the cross, trusting in the goodness and love of the Father. God intends that we follow the same path. Yet, in situations both the large and small, we find this incredibly difficult. Why? I have been wrestling with our dilemma for months. Last week I preached a message on this entitled: The Cross: The Deepest Wisdom of God. Afterwards, I found myself listing the top reasons why I, along with so many others, continue to resist the very thing (our need to let go of control) that is the rich source of so much life and power. The following are my top ten reasons: Fear. Is it any wonder God says to us over and over again in Scripture—Do not fear? Things will fall apart. That is true – at least the things that God never intended. Read more.
Daniel Goleman’s research on emotional intelligence established that people who fail in life and work has to do, more often, with who they are (EQ) then what they know (IQ). Many people have built on this work over the years. David Dotlich and Peter Cairo in their book, Why CEO’s Fail, identify 11 detailers they consistently found in CEO’s and senior leaders in their work around the world. They are: Arrogance: You’re right and everybody else is wrong. Melodrama: You always grab the center of attention. Excessive Caution: Your mood swings drive business swings. Habitual Distrust: The next decision you make may be your first. Aloofness: You disengage and disconnect. Mischievousness: Rules are made to be broken. Eccentricity: It’s fun to be different just for the sake of it. Passive Resistance: Your silence is misinterpreted as agreement. Perfectionism: Get the little things right even if the big things go wrong. Eagerness to Please: Winning. Read more.
Last Saturday was the wedding of one of my four daughters on a farm in upstate New York. The music, the dancing, the great celebration with family and friends left me breathless. It was one of the most fabulous days of my life. The wedding was also flawed. Despite 10 months of planning, a great deal of money, and lots of work, the wedding was not perfect. Think about it: All vacations are imperfect. The best church is very imperfect. Every one of our children is imperfect. Our parenting is imperfect. The best employee is imperfect. The best leader whom we idealize is imperfect. The most perfect physical body is imperfect. The most wonderful spouse is imperfect. The greatest love making is imperfect. Do the best you can and let it go. If the whole world were given you, you would still say, “It is too little.” Why? You were made for a perfect. Read more.