Monday, August 29, 2016

Perfectionism: The Original Sin?

For who is God, except the LordAnd who is a rock, except our God? It is God who arms me with strength, And makes my way perfect.He makes my feet like the feet of deer, And sets me on my high places. Ps. 18: 31-33

By: Carol McClain @carol_mcclain

If others love us unconditionally?

How could this man not love me unconditionally?

I know you will find this unbelievable, but sometimes I drive my husband, Neil, nuts. Hard to absorb, huh?

Every night, I curl into his arms and purr into his chest. Why do you love me?

With exasperation, he sighs. How can he articulate what he feels in the deepest core of his being?

Neil has no reason, no explanation. He loves me because he does. I don't have to do anything or be anything other than myself.

Still, I insist on driving both of us crazy rather than dwelling in the unfathomable, unconditional love of my husband.

And so it must be with God when we refuse to accept the pure and complete pardon He's given when we try to atone for past sins and current mishaps.

Then what about God?

In Psalm 18, verse 32, the psalmist clearly tells us GOD makes our way perfect. Not us, not religion, not other people. Only our God and Savior.

The serpent deceived Eve when she ate of the forbidden fruit. He told her she'd be like God (Gen. 3:5).

I posit that when we try to make ourselves perfect to earn God's love and His forgiveness and acceptance, we are making ourselves like God.

Not good.


Bask in His love, and if you abide in him as the fruit abides in the vine, He will make you holy.

Quick Tweets

Perfectionism is the original sin. (click to tweet)
Do nothing and be loved. (click to tweet)

Monday, August 22, 2016

Imperfections Don't Matter: Lessons from a Bad Solderer

My daughter claimed this was my best piece ever.
He has made everything beautiful in His time. Eccl. 3:11

By: Carol McClain @carol_mcclain

With fear, I showed my teacher the stained-glass piece I needed help with. At a distance, it was gorgeous, but my soldering--the reason I took this class--needed work.

She raved about its beauty. Of course I grimaced and noted the unprofessional lead work.

"No one notices that," she said. "People only see the colors and the texture."


No one's ever accused me of being positive and non-sarcastic.

A fellow student, though, worked on a fabulous window piece. It would fill in a large half-circle window in her guest room. To say it was intricate, complex, and exquisite would be an understatement. Each week we applauded her work.

As the class neared the end, this woman experimented with a paste flux (used to make solder adhere). We gathered around since we all used liquid flux. Because of the attention we had to pay to her detail work, I noticed, for the first time, that her solder lines were no better than mine!

My teacher was right. No one notices the flaws. They notice us.

Lessons from Soldering

  1. We all have sinned. All have erred. Yet we have to remember, God has forgiven. Nothing has to be done to earn our forgiveness except to accept it.
  2. God doesn't see our flaws. He displays the colors of our lives. The texture of our character. We mus emphasize those and forget the flaws.
  3. With consistent practice (Bible study, prayer and good company), our flaws will lessen and the colors of our lives will only improve.

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Monday, August 8, 2016

Stained Glass and Being Perfect

By one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. Heb. 10:14

By: Carol McClain @carol_mcclain

Stained Glass and Imperfection

I confess. I'm an addict.
The lighting is off,
but my latest stained glass

A couple of years ago, I discovered stained glass making. Now it's my obsession.

I love the colors, texture and transparency of glass. Years dabbling in all art forms have given me a good skill on composition and color. 

Soldering on the other hand?

Let's just say it's far less than perfect. And it's funny, people don't seem to notice. I sold a piece at a craft fair that displayed my strength--color and light. That's what the buyer noticed. We held it up to the sun, and she oohed over the play of light. Not only that, the customer praised my skill.

My skill?

You'd be proud of me. I did not point out the uneven soldering, bumps, or foiling faux-pas.

However, stained-glass perfection wasn't coming on my own, so I signed up for a class with an expert. She gave me little tips. They improved the things I did well, and the soldering. It looked good.

It's not going to win an art show. Yet. However the improvement was tremendous. My gift with glass is being made perfect as long as I continue to practice and learn from those better than I.

And that's the same with God's holiness.

How To Become Holy

We haven't arrived at holiness on our own. 
  1. It's already done for us by Jesus's sacrifice on the cross. 
  2. And our character in the world? That's being made holy (Heb. 10:14). With tips from the Master, giant strides can be made, and we will be better people today than we were yesterday.
  3. What does God consider holy? The only way to know is to read his word, spend time in prayer, fellowship with strong Christians and rest.
None of the above is any different than learning any other skill.

I will never be a Louis Comfort Tiffany. Never will I be Jesus Christ, either. That's okay. In Christ, I'm becoming more like him and in the day that I meet Him, I will be like Him. (1 John 3:2).

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Monday, August 1, 2016

7 Attributes of God's Love

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. I John 4:16

By: Carol McClain @carol_mcclain

My husband loved me before I loved him.

God's love is greater than man's.
Don't get me wrong, from our first date, I knew Neil was a man I could marry. We shared core (and not so core) values.

  1. We loved God.
  2. We loved art.
  3. We were low-keyed and enjoyed home and nature and quiet things.
  4. He was a good-looking man with beautiful straight teeth and this head of silver hair that begged for fingers to run through it.
Guess which of the above weren't core values?

He wanted to spend time with me. Flowers regularly showed up at my house. Gifts were purchased as he wooed me.

When he proposed, I was shocked. It wasn't that I didn't want to spend my life with him. I needed a little more time, a little more faith, a little more courage to make that leap. 

If a human can love like Neil when someone's love wavers, then God's love is MUCH greater.

God loved us before we loved Him.

Seven Characteristics of God's Love

  1. Has no limits. There's nothing we can do or have done that will limit God's love.
  2. Has no expectations.
  3. Is not dependent on us.
  4. Has our ultimate good in mind. It's life changing.
  5. Can't be earned.
  6. It's sacrificial
  7. It's eternal. Nothing's ever going to separate us from his love.
Neil expected nothing from me. He loved me as I was. I never earned his love. And in two weeks we will have been married for twelve years.

If a man can love so well but imperfectly, how much greater is God's perfect love? Quit trying to be perfect. Perfection will come on its own--through natural responses to God's love.

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