A couple of weeks ago, I was reviewing the possible outcomes of a current situation in my life. I could only think of three options. And to be completely honest, none of them seemed appealing. As I thought through each possibility, I had the exact same thought, “Well, that option is definitely not ideal.” My thoughts were quite discouraging. I have to admit, I went to bed that night grumbling at the Lord.
The next morning I was reading The Relationship Principles of Jesus by Tom Holladay, a devotional book divided into 40 readings. That day’s section was entitled “Get Rid of the Ideal, Go for the Real.” Holladay said we can make an idol out of the ideal. What a sobering truth! Immediately I realized that was exactly what I was doing—longing for the “ideal” and thinking it would bring contentment and fulfillment.
Holladay challenged his readers, “The circumstances of your life are not perfect. You are not perfect. The people you love are not perfect. But God is perfect. So instead of trying to perfect the imperfectable, choose to focus on praising the one who is perfect. And then, bolstered by that praise, choose real love.”
Needless to say, I had to repent for the grumblings of my heart. I have spent way too much time trying to perfect the imperfectable. When my thoughts simply focus on the ideal, I fail to enjoy the good in the real circumstances of my life. It was such a good reminder that our circumstances and relationships on earth will never be perfectly ideal! So with gratitude in my heart, I am challenged to embrace the real instead of demanding the ideal.