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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Monday, February 1

Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.
—Hebrews 12:1

Another month begins, and since it’s only the second month of the "new" year, you may, like me, still be thinking of resolutions, goals, lists of things to change or accomplish. Some of us are always thinking ahead, wondering if we will finally stop procrastinating, finally start exercising more, or change unhealthy habits.

This year, I have decided to do something entirely different: stop trying to achieve, perfect, polish up. Early one January morning, the woman who owns the small gym where I exercise asked me what goals I had, and I turned to her without pause and said, “Absolutely none!”

Seeing her startled expression, I said, “You know, all my life I have competed with myself and/or others, perhaps unconsciously, to be better—if not best. For a change, I just want to do what I can, day by day, without any desire for perfecting or accomplishing!”

When I read these words from Hebrews, I remembered my outburst in the gym. This wise writer tells us to simply persevere, not perfect. My dictionary defines perseverance as "continuing strength or patience in dealing with something arduous," while perfection is "a propensity for setting extremely high standards and being displeased with anything else."

Give me perseverance! I’ve had enough perfectionism to last me a month of Sundays.

Thank you, God, for wise men and women who temper our compulsions and lead us toward wholeness and healing. Amen.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2007.