"Do now, do now, what you will wish to have done when your moment comes to die." [St. Angela Merici]

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Perfectly Imperfect

By Micky Wolf

Someone recently made the comment that it seemed I had conquered the “perfectionist” thing. Oh, my. Well, I did appreciate the thought, but it might be more truthful to clarify that, in reality, what had been conquered was my denial of trying to be one in the first place. Sigh.

How many of us struggle—for far more hours or years than we would like to be true—with wanting to be perfect in what we say and do? As it if it were even possible to begin with. 

There are a number of things we would like our younger selves to have known and lived, prior to this moment in time. That, too, could be a thought thinly veiled as an attempt to be perfect. Nevertheless, if perfection does not exist (apart from God), how can we become more comfortable—perfectly—with our imperfection?

Accept it. Okay, too easy?

How about realizing to do anything less is to potentially fall into sin? Really? Yes. Doubt and unbelief are prime examples. Oops. So much for being perfect.

I have had more experiences than can be counted on multiple sets of fingers and toes with learning this basic Divine principle: only God is perfect. Furthermore, He—his power—is made perfect in my weakness: “…but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.’” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

My what? My weaknesses. (Yes, it is plural.)

For many of us, one of the greatest challenges of passing through our spiritual youth is getting comfortable with our weak parts. I know it has been true for me. Who wants to look at those aspects of thoughts, feelings, attitudes or behaviors? 

Perfect example—yep, pun intended. In recent weeks I have started several blog posts on a variety of topics only to toss them into the “possibility” folder on my desktop because they didn’t seem to measure up. Ah, yah, to that personal yardstick I carry around to monitor how I’m doing. It might not be as obvious as it used to be, but I can still whip it out on occasion.

Finally, I opened a new document this morning, took a deep breath, and plunged in anyway—which is what you are reading at the moment.

What changed? Not the circumstances. Not the need and desire to keep writing. Not even a brief entertaining of the idea of abandoning “the call” because it’s too hard at times. Simply, the Spirit reminding me of the God-truth about perfection—I will always be weak in my own strength. It is only His grace pouring through me that makes any of this possible.

The moment I stop “boasting most gladly of my weaknesses” is the day the power of Christ cannot dwell with me, or through me. Or with any of us, for that matter.

Is the writing perfect? Yes. Really? Yes. As long as you and I are being and doing the best we can in the moment, we are pleasing to God. His grace is more than sufficient, when we make the choice to cooperate.

If you and I want to live as the Christians we claim to be, we need to immerse our hearts in the fullness of God’s Truth, which will likely include various and sundry reminders, usually provided in His perfect timing.

Having the courage to embrace our weaknesses is an excellent place to begin. And continue. And end.

Do I get hung up with trying to be perfect? Why?

Do I have a sense when perfectionism got a toehold in my life?

Can I name my weaknesses? 

How do I feel about being perfectly imperfect?


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