Magazine Article

Present Over Perfect

Rejecting a performance-based mentality

Jill Morikone
Present Over Perfect
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Stillness has never been my strong suit. Moses spent 40 days on the mountaintop with God. Elijah sought the voice of God in the thunder and fire, finally discovering the Divine in stillness. Mary chose to “be” rather than “do,” simply being present at His feet.

I’ve tried to be still. My lack of stillness is not open defiance or pushing back against God. I simply struggle to still my mind and focus on God. I love Him. I want to spend time in His Word. I desire to be filled with His peace and presence. Yet the harder I focus, the more restless I become.

Being “present” seems to be elusive. Have you ever talked with someone while your mind answered an email? ever sat with a friend while you mentally solved a problem? ever watched a sunset while you added to your to-do list? God, why can’t I just be still?

I could call it an overactive mind, and perhaps that’s true. It could be too much to do, and that is certainly accurate. But there has to be something deeper, more profound. Recently, as I prayed and sought to experience more peace, more stillness, in my life, someone spoke three words into my world. They’re simple but transformational.

You are enough.

As I’ve explored what that means in life, in marriage, and most definitely in ministry, I’ve uncovered truth that is setting me free. This is not necessarily psychobabble, nor is it self-help. It’s biblical. I discovered that the drive to complete a project, the shame if I fail or don’t measure up to my own expectations, the motivation to overachieve, is all based in a twisted sense of self.

If God loves me, why do I seek to earn His love?

If God adopts me, why do I need to prove myself?

If God forgave me, why am I still sensing condemnation?

If God chose me, why do I feel left out?

If God accepts me, why do I keep working for acceptance?

It’s a performance-based mentality, instead of accepting and receiving who I am in Jesus. In Christ I am enough. I can be present without seeking to be perfect. I can grow and learn and become all He intended me to be.

If you’re still reading, and you worry that Jill has left the law to embrace grace, let me assure you of this: Yes, I am embracing grace! A grace that seeks me where I am. A grace that convicts of sin, yet offers the blood of Jesus to cleanse me. A grace that invites Jesus to transform me from the inside out. A grace that empowers me to live in freedom from sin. This grace is in the process of setting me free. What about you? Are you perfect or present? Are you enough?

Jill Morikone

Jill Morikone is vice president and chief operations officer for Three Angels Broadcasting Network (3ABN), a supporting Adventist television network. She and her husband, Greg, live in southern Illinois and enjoy ministering together for Jesus.