Letting Go: Breaking The Lie of Perfection

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Letting go is hard.

Overcoming the fear of failure is harder.

For many of us in the tech world, it’s the latter that likely ends up driving most of the decisions we make.

Afraid of making a mistake that affects the service.

Afraid of letting down our leadership.

Afraid of confronting a volunteer about their performance and inadvertently pushing them away from the team.

Afraid that things will fall apart if we aren’t there.

Afraid that if it’s not in our hands, then it won’t be done “right.”

Afraid of letting go.

This fear of failure ends up making most of us in this industry our own worst critics. Maybe nobody in the service noticed that we missed a lighting scene, or that the song lyrics were a bit late, or that the guitars weren’t EQ’ed just right. But WE noticed. And we feel like we failed.

So we determine to work harder to make whatever it is perfect the next time around. And as a result, we unconsciously become entrapped by the lie of “perfect.”

A very wise man once said, “Excellence is an attitude, but perfection is bondage.”

Yes, we should all constantly be striving to do the best we possibly can. After all, when God completed the work of Creation, He surveyed all that He had done, and it was described as “very good” (Gen. 1:31 NIV). He set the model for us in terms of creating. We should strive to be excellent in all that we do, using the talents and abilities He has given us to bring glory to Him through the works of our hands. We should plan, practice, and prepare with wisdom, doing everything in our power to create a distraction-free service that allows people to enter into an atmosphere where they can experience the presence of God in a powerful way.

But while all this is true, it’s also imperative that we remember this truth along the way: We are not God. We are human beings with limitations, and imperfections, and weaknesses all our own. And we’re often placing almost all of our trust in non-professional volunteers and fickle technology to pull off a worship service with excellence.

Knowing the limitations we’re working with, we have no choice but to give God the praise and glory when things go well, right? Often, it’s nothing short of a miracle that things go as smoothly as they do. His power is made perfect in our weakness, and weakness is something we can’t escape. Our team has them. Our equipment certainly has them. And we as leaders have them, too. That’s what makes a successful Sunday service or special event all the more amazing. With all our weakness, we know it has to be God who ultimately made it happen!

But let me ask you this: Why do we carry the blame on our own shoulders when things go wrong? Why are we so willing to beat ourselves up over the tiny details that weren’t executed flawlessly? Why do we feel like a failure when things aren’t perfect?

Mistakes are inevitable. It’s not a question of if things go wrong; it’s a question of when.

But mistakes can be great things if we approach them with the right mindset and attitude. If we use them as learning experiences to know how to better prepare for the next opportunity, they can ultimately be more valuable than a flawless experience. And believe it or not, embracing the failure—embracing the mistakes—can be crucial to having an attitude of excellence.

We have to choose to accept the reality that things won’t always go the way we want them to. Something will break right before the service. Our key volunteer won’t show up on time. Our pastor will change the flow at the last minute. Remember, it’s not if, but when. The mistakes are coming, whether we like it or not!

Engaging in the pursuit of a perfect service will only hold us in bondage to the lie that it actually exists. It will cause stress, affect relationships, and turn our works of service into nothing more than a list of tasks we have to perform. And when we chase that lie of perfection, we begin to focus more on our own efforts and what we can control and less on God’s sovereignty over the service we’re creating.

After all, it’s God’s service, not ours. The praise and glory are His, not ours. The power to affect and change lives is His, not ours. And last time I checked, the power of the Holy Spirit was not restricted to only showing up in perfect church services that utilized perfectly trained people who enacted their directives perfectly.

It’s not our job to make sure things are perfect. It’s our job to show up. It’s our job to pass out the loaves and fish and let Him multiply them for thousands. It’s our job to trust in His power.

It’s our job to let go.