Presence Over Perfection

I’m a perfectionist. My wife is not.

I like everything to be clean and tidy, neat and nice. It’s hard for me to accept that a job is done well if it doesn’t meet my standard of perfection. Bethany has other priorities. Her priorities are often better.

See, perfectionists tend to focus on the perfect product instead of the process or the people. But Bethany is a people person, not a product person.

So, when it comes to GO BOLD, as the perfectionist, I want to do this well. I want to love my neighbors and community in such a way that it really does make a difference. I want to live generously.

But, I tend to focus on the product. Accomplish the task. Sometimes the planning of the perfect way to love my neighbor results in a great product… a mowed a yard, a generous gift or a well written note. But it misses the point.

The point of GO BOLD isn’t that we deliver great products but that we love people. What people need from us isn’t perfection. It’s presence.

Bethany is really good at showing up. She doesn’t feel like she has to have the perfect words or to solve anyone’s problems. She knows that presence matters, that people feel loved when we are present. When friends are hurting, she shows up. When neighbors are out, she shows up. When couples have a new baby, she shows up (usually with lots of food). Presence matters.

I should know this. As a pastor I’ve shown up in hospitals, living rooms, and funerals. I’ve been there in celebratory moments like weddings and graduations.

But people rarely remember what I say in those moments. And as a perfectionist, I promise I worked really hard to have the right words prepared. Instead, they say, “You were there.”

People remember presence over perfection.

That’s why John 1:14 came to mind:

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (ESV)

Jesus was perfect, in both grace and truth. He was God. But, it’s his presence that John is recounting first. Jesus left Heaven to come to Earth, to dwell among us… to be present. The Message translation puts it this way:

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood… (MSG)

Presence matters.

As we GO BOLD, be reminded that the product doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s showing up that displays God’s love to our neighbors and friends.


Have people over to your house, even when it’s a mess.
Cook people meals, even though you’re not a gourmet chef.
Share your faith, even though you don’t feel like you have all the answers all the time.
Mow a yard, build a fence, help someone move.

Remember, presence is about the people, not a perfect product.


– Aaron Lutz, East 96 Campus Pastor

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