I must admit, I'm a recovering perfectionist.  I like things being done right and having things the best they can be.  I used to find it quite easy to live this way as the world affirmed and encouraged my pursuit of perfection.  An A student, successful career, fruitful ministry, all useful golden stars on the chart of  my life.

I got married (to another perfectionist, God help us both.)  Then we had our first child and she was an angel.  My little princess slept from an early age and was easy going, obedient, and bright.  Ahhh, the pride inside my heart welled up at yet another gold star.  How wonderful!

Then something happened...child number two arrived, and boy was there something special about this one. The young prince was God's instrument to help me stay humble and realize a thing or two about myself.

He cried...a lot.  In fact, if he was awake, it seemed he was crying.  I tried all my perfect motherly tricks that had worked with the Princess, but fell short.  My world began to unravel because I was not in control and things were nowhere near the perfection that I sought to keep my world in motion.

It took some really hard days and severely long nights amidst other personal struggles that I began to see how much I fell short in so many areas of my life.  I was sinking.  Depression was knocking on my door.  I was weak, tired, and even physically ill, so I did what most of us tend to do...I opened the door and allowed it in.

Not wanting me to stay there, God also came to visit me.  I admitted to him that I felt so insignificant and inadequate.  I told Him that I felt like I was falling short in every way from this standard of perfection that I wanted to attain.  And you know what? God loved me even in that place and began to teach me that my standard was not His standard.  He began to show me that the way I was measuring myself was nowhere near the way He did.  He taught me that when He looks at me, He sees His daughter redeemed by His Son's finished work on the cross. I began to learn that the cross is the only standard that matters. My Father in Heaven lovingly reminded me during that difficult time that He doesn't see my inadequacies and imperfections though He knows they are there.  He sees the completed work of the cross, Jesus's precious blood spilled to cover it all.

So I began to thank Jesus for His strength.  A friend of mine had told me during that time that one of the meanings for the word grace is "filling the hole."  Do you know the hole I mean?  It's the great chasm where I fall short of my own expectations and standards of perfection.  It's the gap between my sin and His holy perfection. His grace fills in the hole between my sins and shortcomings and God's love and perfection.

All of this led me to 2 Cor 12:9....
      • But He said to me, "My GRACE is sufficient for you, for MY power is made PERFECT in weakness." Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

The words were straight from heaven. I had certainly fallen so short of my standard of perfection, but His power was being made PERFECT in my weakness.

When I was searching for the verse, I found another verse about God giving Daniel strength in Daniel 10.

So I began reading Daniel 10:12-21

Do not be afraid, Daniel.  Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.  But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me 21 days...
I said to the one standing before me, I am overcome with anguish because of the vision, my Lord, and I am helpless.  How can I, your servant, talk with you my Lord? My strength is gone, and I can hardly breathe.   
Again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength. "Do not  be afraid, O man highly esteemed," he said.  "Peace!  Be strong now; be strong."  
When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, "Speak my Lord since you have given me strength."  So he said, "Do you know why I have come to you?....I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth."

I was struck by this so profoundly...here's the best I can try to describe it. Some of us have been praying and seeking understanding from God, but feel like He is silent.  The truth is He has heard and responded.  Help and understanding was on the way to Daniel when he prayed, it was just delayed.

Like Daniel, we feel overcome with anguish and feel helpless, maybe we even feel like we can't even talk to the Lord because our strength is gone, and we can hardly breathe.

We have to know that God has heard, and in the proper time, He will respond.  We must also know there is an enemy resisting us.  He hates Us and would desire nothing more than for us to be overcome with anguish.  He wants us to feel helpless, weak, and to feel so heavy we can hardly breathe.

But there is hope, the angel touched Daniel and gave him strength.  He told Daniel how God felt about him.  That he was highly esteemed (esteemed, respected, admired, appreciated, prized, regarded...better than admired, it implies the admiration is to the highest degree.)  That is how GOD feels about us.  How we need to hear and receive that! 

The angel spoke peace over him and told him twice to be strong.  And when God spoke to him and touched him, Daniel was strengthened.

The angel then asked him, do you know why I have come?  And He says I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth.

You see, Satan would have us believe lies.  That God hasn't heard or that God hears, but He just doesn't care.  That even though we know God has helped and does help others, He just won't help me.  And we feel so weak, we fall for the lies and believe them.  Then we begin to feel trapped and it's hard to breathe or see anything other than the lies.  It gets harder to believe God cares.  Then we feel we can't even go to God and talk to him...just like Daniel we say, "How can I talk with you my Lord?"

But God comes now to tell us what is written in His Book of Truth!  That He loves us, He hears when we pray, and He is working ALL things for our good.  He will not forsake His children.  He will come and surely speak.  Though the answer tarry, wait for it, it will surely come.

Do not be overwhelmed; do not believe the lies!  Look to His Word of Truth!  Believe His promises, not the lies of Satan.  May we let God come and touch us and strengthen us as He did Daniel.  Let Him speak His Words of Truth to us.  Because when He touches us and when He speaks to us, we will be strengthened, and He will give us peace.

Our problems may still be there facing us, but we will be strengthened and have peace to wait on the Lord's answer and to fight whatever battles we are facing.


Jesus help us be strengthened and touched by Your presence and Your Words of Truth.  Let our problems and the lies of Satan not overwhelm us and drive us from You and make us feel helpless.  May they drive us to trust You in a deeper way.

Let us see how much You esteem us and admire and love us.  You respond to the cries of your children.  You desire to give us peace and strength to stand and fight there battles before us or to wait patiently for You to move.

God help me find Your peace and strength.  To know You are already at work.  Let me not be overwhelmed.  Let me not believe the lies of the enemy.  Let me embrace your Words of Truth for my life.  I receive Your strength and Your peace.  May others I know do the same.