Inside many of us lie a lurking perfectionist waiting to rear its head in the various areas of life; some of us have told this perfectionist to stay in its place while some of us allow it full autonomy.
Perfectionist is defined as such on Merriam-Webster.com:
1a : the doctrine that the perfection of moral character constitutes a person’s highest goodb : the theological doctrine that a state of freedom from sin is attainable on earth
2: a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable
The former definition connotes a positive attribute; perfectionism is something that compels us to be excellent. The latter illustrates perfectionism to be a rather negative attribute for it aims to live in a reality that doesn’t exist; this latter definition is what often characterizes and, unfortunately, plagues many millenials today.
We want the perfect career, friend group, and significant other. If it’s not ideal or what we want, we wait for the next opportunity. We reject the semi-good job, broken yet transparent friend group, and metaphorically swipe left on the guys/girls we have remote interest in. We wait for this “moment” where things happen to click and all is right in the world.
I think this perfectionist line of thought is in direct parallel with our broken view of God and ourselves. If our view of God characterizes him as a God that didn’t fully cover every bit of our brokenness then we will view God as insufficient and therefore will strive to compensate for the rest of our brokenness-we will, of course, be unsuccessful. Likewise, if we view ourselves as even slightly capable of going through this life without the grace of God, we will strive for our own perceived ideas of perfection in our various areas of life-we will, of course, be unsuccessful.
Rather, if we view God as the one that gave us beauty for ashes; if he is indeed the ultimate author of salvation, then we will be depleted of any type of striving and will therefore be compelled to allow God to gift us with his unconditional love-no strings attached. If we view ourselves completely incapable of succeeding of confronting and overcoming the many struggles of life [including our own sin] we will gladly allow Christ to take on our burdens and sin; we will no longer strive for the “perfect moment”.
Simply put, perfectionism and the “perfect moment” do not exist in the kingdom. The kingdom already came in the unsexy form of an infant in a dirty, smelly animal manger. We don’t have to work to see perfection in our lives because Perfection itself came to Earth and paid the ultimate price for our sins.
There was never a “moment” Jesus waited for throughout his time on Earth. The Bible shows that Jesus talked a lot about how the kingdom is already here for he was the coming of Christ. In him was fullness of life, salvation, and eternal life with God. Yet many of the Jews saw Christ and swiped left; they were waiting for the very moment that was happening before their very eyes.
There are no special moments when it comes to following Christ; the time is now. Let’s throw the perfectionism out the window and live a life characterized by brokenness, messiness, and priceless grace.