Perfection. It seems like the societal expectation. We expect it from the guy that makes our sandwich at Subway. We expect our children to get straight A’s and never make mistakes as they try to figure out who they are. Most of all we expect ourselves to be perfect at work, be the perfect spouse, parent, and with all that still have our home look like it walked out of an episode of HGTV. We lose sleep over each miss-step. We wonder what people are thinking of us and we look at ourselves in the mirror and only see failure.
Expecting Perfection Leads to Anxiety
This mindset has led to the nationwide spike in anxiety. The anxiety that has led to people choosing to hide from the people in their life. The anxiety that causes someone to physically hurt from their nervous system being on overdrive. The anxiety that keeps people from taking on new challenges due to fear of failure.
Perfection and Faith
Perfection. The one true impossibility for any individual, but we still chase it with an eagle-like focus. As believers, it almost seems contradictory for us to be paralyzed with the need to be perfect. That is never what God has asked from us.*
Three Gifts from God
God gave us three gifts that prove to us as followers that he never expected perfection from his children.
The first gift is free will. God gave us the ability to always choose. These choices may be good others may be bad. The thing is they are ours and God knew we would not always make the best decision. If he expected something else from us, he would have never given us this gift. Just like any child, they make mistakes while trying to figure the world out. God did that same for his children. He knew we would break curfew, gossip about friends, and not always be honest with our loved ones. Even knowing that we would fall, he gave us choice.
The second gift was God’s gift of grace. Grace is something as a human being is incomprehensible. To forgive someone for any sin is beyond the true understanding of a person. We struggle to forgive someone that cuts us off in traffic let along forgiving someone for adultery or murder. God gave us a built-in “I know you are going to blow it” clause. He knew that only one being could be perfect, and that person died on the cross. It is interesting that God can give us grace for anything, but we can’t give ourselves grace for even the simplest of our shortcomings.
The final gift God gave us, his greatest gift is Jesus sacrificing his life on the cross. This was the last insurance policy that was put into play. God never asked us to be able to be the equivalent to his son. What he asks of us is to use our talents to the best of our ability, love our neighbors as ourselves and to love him with all your heart. No were in the bible was it ever asked of us to be perfect.
We still ask that of ourselves. We let the people around us drop the ball in all areas, but when we do, we can hardly sleep that night. When we pray it should switch from asking for everything to go well, to let me remember what God is truly asking from me. As believers, we need fully embrace that at no time will we lose the love of God if we are not perfect.
*You may have thought of the passage Matthew 5:48 which says “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” The idea of perfection implied in the word is the idea of our continued sanctification and growth—a completeness as our Father in heaven is complete. Perfection is not something to be attained, but exists in eternity.
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