I like to say I’m a recovering perfectionist. Sometimes my need to control every detail of my life to an unreasonable standard still takes priority over love, joy, peace, and patience. Adding the word “recovering” in there somehow lessens my guilt and shame when perfectionism rears its ugly head and sabotages a task, a relationship, or a dream, but the damage isn’t lessened. If I’m honest, there are also moments when my perfectionism and controlling nature leave me in a state of analysis-paralysis in which fear consumes me and I fail to move forward at all. My perfectionism combined with a fear of failure can actually cause me to fail through indecision.
There’s no two ways about it: The results of my perfectionism aren’t pretty. My awe of God leaks out over time and I forget the truth: God is good. He does what He promised. He is in control. And most importantly, He cares about me. In those ugly moments, I lay Truth aside and listen to the negative historian who seeks to control my future by telling me a false rendition of my past. He whispers lies, “Look at your past. There’s no hope. You have no future.” Believing those lies about my past is what triggers my fear and perfectionism and ultimately hijacks my future.
I’d like to suggest that when fear of the future is triggered, this is what we need to hear:
- God is our true Historian. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Our future is based in Him!
- He sent us a helper who tells us our future and guides us in Truth. The Holy Spirit, our Futurist, is the one who tells us what is yet to come (John 16:13). What He hears and speaks is based in truth – the true story of our past as told by the true Historian, and the truth of our potential and our future.
- The Futurist prepares us for the future that is coming. The Holy Spirit can prevent our awe of God from leaking out over time by reminding us of everything Jesus said (John 14:26). This keeps Truth fresh in our minds and pushes out fear.
Consider the work of the Holy Spirit as described by Paul in his prayer for the church at Ephesus:
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. –Ephesians 3:16-21
Paul prays that we would be…
- Strengthened “with power through his Spirit in your inner being….” The strength gives us…
- Capacity to allow Christ to dwell in our hearts, which gives us…
- Power to grasp a love that surpasses knowledge, so that we are…
- Filled with all the fullness of God!
In short, by the strength of the Holy Spirit, we have the power of God at work in us. Who can doubt what the future holds when we truly understand the power that is at work in us. This is what the Futurist strengthens us to grasp, and his rendition of our future is based in this power, not in fear!
Human nature, including the society we live in, tends to doubt these marvels that we read about in Paul’s prayer. Pessimism abounds because many are living without the Spirit of Truth. Thankfully, we have this Futurist with us for the long haul (John 14:16-17). There is in-person, one-on-one teaching and guidance available at any time. He’s in step with us as we advance into the future.
My perfectionism is redeemed when I see my future through the eyes of the Holy Spirit, the Futurist. As I allow Him into my daily life, He teaches me, reminds me of Truth, and prevents my awe of God from leaking out. Instead of letting my future be hijacked with lies that lead to a need to control every detail, I can instead use my natural talent of organizing to give structure and life to my own dreams and callings, and to those of the people around me. It becomes a beautiful and powerful work of the Lord instead of a frenzied disaster of my own making. I need not fear when I listen to the Futurist and allow the power of God to be at work within me.
What about you? Does your awe of God leak out? How does it show up in your life? How would your perspective of the future change if you listened to the Futurist?