Progress vs. Perfection

12 Jul

Progress: “Movement, as toward a goal; advance. Development or growth. Steady improvement.” (


Perfection: No explanation necessary.


I awakened this morning with a very “Debbie Downer” mentality. I was weary of seeing my commitments to do or not do something fly out the door after two days, two weeks, two months, … (You get the picture.) I was overwhelmed because my “performance” wasn’t perfect. 


Then my husband, without knowing what was going on with me, complimented me on one of my “commitments.” As I started to protest, he said, “At least you’re making progress.” Immediately I was reminded of wise words Rocky and I had heard many years ago from a very godly teacher: “Be encouraged by progress rather than perfection.” I so needed to hear it again.  The encouragement of progress was Ephesians 4:29 to the emotional wreck happening inside me.


My discouragement was based in a dependence on self-effort and not reliance on the Holy Spirit to empower me in the process of change. I was forgetting that just as a child learning to walk will step, then fall, he/she gets back up and continues to learn how to walk. As a favorite teacher of mine once said, “They keep doing this until their practice is walking and not falling.” It’s the same in the Christian life. The danger of falling is always there, but getting back up and, through the power of the Holy Spirit, walking by faith is of utmost importance. Remembering this teaching encouraged me again, in a very Ephesians 4:29 kind of way! 


My dad used to sign off on phone calls with “Hit it hard!” That was his version of Paul’s conviction in Philippians 3:12 to “press on” or Hosea’s challenge to “press on to the know the Lord” (Hosea 6:3). Even now his Ephesians 4:29 words call me to keep moving toward the goal, to keep developing, steadily growing in my walk with Christ…to be encouraged by progress!


Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth,

but only such a word as is good for edification

according to the need of the moment,

so that it will give grace to those who hear.

Ephesians 4:29 (NAS)


One Response to “Progress vs. Perfection”

  1. Charles Stewart Flemming July 17, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    What a wonderful word, Darise. Progress vs. Perfection is one of the themes of my life and ministry. Frankly, I’ve found that I can encourage–or even inspire–others more effectively by allowing them to see my progress than by demonstrating my (alleged) perfection.

    Interesting sidenote: The theme of my QT this morning has been about edifying words and the attitudes behind them. You can see that in the verses I shared on Facebook before I encountered your post. I was looking back over my own experience on Facebook and realizing how I’d changed as a result of my interactions there. I realized somewhere along the way that I cared deeply for the fragile people among my Facebook friends. So I became progressively more careful in what I said and how I said it. I chose to lay aside some kinds of conversations and banter I really enjoyed because it might cause someone to unfriend me or even leave Facebook altogether. And these are the very people God has called me to minister to and encourage. One such person had left Facebook completely before I’d had time to grow and adjust. The Lord put him on my heart this morning and so I searched for him and found him back on Facebook. I wondered if he would accept an invitation to be friends on Facebook. He did. And I will be very careful with him.

    Here’s the kicker: The more care I show to my friends, the more my own thinking, the hardwiring in my brain, is changed. Other friends see this and see the progress and they’re inspired by the hope they see growing in my life. I can preach and teach hope, or I can–progressively–LIVE hope in front of them.

    People are far more inspired by progress than by perfection, because progress is hope. Perfection is a closed door.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: