It Wasn’t Perfect.

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:48

Following the fourth of four ballet auditions for a summer intensive program, my daughter emerged from open double doors within the lobby. She was in the company of several other dancers. I fixed my gaze on her face, studying it for those signs. You know, the ones that tell momma what might really be going on inside the soul (Because they typically tell a different story than the one on the outside).

From a distance, her countenance glimmered with satisfaction. A weary smile even tipped the edges of her lips. 

But it was plastic.

She trudged across the carpet toward me and lowered to the floor near her dance bag. Then shook her head. Her cheeks were aflame with a deeper red. And it wasn’t the result of an hour’s audition en pointe, either. Tears glistened beneath the fluorescent lighting.

Drat. My shoulders sank as the breath left my lungs. 

“What’s wrong?” I whispered.

Head shake again. She didn’t want to talk about it. 


I gave her space to feel whatever it was she was feeling. Then she offered her assessment on how the audition went. All negative.

Listening to her self-critique, I imagined flailing arms and legs (all fifty feet of them), her shoulders banging up against the girl next to her, faltering pirouettes. Sheer disaster. Major humiliation.


With ever so much caution, I asked, “What makes you say that?”

She captured my eyes. “It wasn’t perfect.

Ah. The dastardly ‘P’ word.

In that moment, I wanted to toss my head back and laugh – out loud – and rebuke her with something like, “Do you mean to tell me that you’re this upset because you made a…a freaking mistake?”

But I didn’t. My bottom lip still bleeds from clamping it shut. 

I let her words hang thick in the air. Because, for her, it wasn’t perfect.

How could I criticize? When my performance isn’t perfect by the standards that I set, don’t I tend toward scathing self-assessments, too? Against better judgment, don’t I fall into that comparison trap? Do I wrongly apply unachievable, unrealistic standards to myself?

Or worse, to others? 

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:48


Yes, the Lord calls me to be perfect, meaning, to make being ‘perfect’ my moment by moment goal. But that requires me to conquer the pride monster and accept that sinlessness is a state reserved for God, His Son and the Holy Spirit…none of Whom are vacating their seats.

While I know my daughter’s true felt need was to have performed with minuscule error, she’s aware she can’t achieve perfection this side of heaven.

May God Himself…sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it.

I Thessalonians 5:23

He will do it.

The trying to be perfect falls on me; the accomplishment of my being perfect is God’s business.

In view of this niggling call to ‘Be perfect’, I need Him. I need His grace. And, honestly, that’s a really good problem to have.

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