These thoughts have been persisting in my mind. I thought I’d better write them down before they give up on me and go wherever it is neglected thoughts go. So my friend wrote something today which was along a similar thought process. I figured this must be a sign. My friend wrote about Perfection and being a perfectionist. What is perfect? If perfect is our goal then we need an example of this. The easy answer is God. The more difficult question is what is God? Is God perfect? I sure hope so — He’s God. His imperfections are even perfect: the inhale necessary for the exhale; the space between the notes which makes the music; the temporary absence of a loved one which makes the reunion all the more exhilarating. The power of the sweet and sour, the sour enhancing the sweetness of the sweet.
And if the creator is perfect, then are all of His creations not perfect? It seems pretty obvious to me that, if God wanted us to be perfect, we’d have come that way right out of the box, batteries included and all. However, this is the perspective of a person who is an imperfect creation, (or a creation moving toward perfection?), because clearly Scripture tells us our goal is to: “Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” At which point I imagine the apostles were so disheartened that they were ready to take their ball and go home. “Oh, is that all you want? Perfection? No problem.” St. Sarcasm
OK, I made up St. Sarcasm, so let me quote somebody who actually existed, Yoda the Jedi Master, who said, “Do or do not. There is no ‘Try.'”
Think of it this way, a newly engaged couple doesn’t go to the bride’s parents and say, “We’ve got great news: we’re going to try to be married!” Marriage is hard work, so going into it with that kind of ‘try’ mindset is doomed at the outset. The bride’s dad is sitting there, smiling and nodding his head, while whispering to his wife out of the corner of his mouth: “I give ’em three weeks.”
Perfection is both the destination and the journey. Your ability to overcome obstacles has brought you closer to the ideal. You were not made perfect, you were made to become perfect. Your offering to God is humble, because you are only human. You are a mere creature, a creation. However, God’s immense love for you graciously accepts your humble offering based on its loving intent. When you give love you glorify God, because you are giving God. God is love.
A little girl gets up early with the intention of surprising mommy by making her breakfast in bed. The little girl has limited culinary skills, so she goes with her specialty, which is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, heavy on the grape jelly. She’s not allowed to go near the stove, so coffee is out of the question. Grapefruit juice is the next choice, and it’s a big ol’ bottle of grapefruit juice, filled to the rim, so the transfer from bottle to Little Mermaid-decorated cup doesn’t go so smoothly, resulting in spillage and contamination of one corner of the PB&J. Extra soggy sandwich helps it go down easier anyway, right? The breakfast wouldn’t be complete without the addition of chocolate, so a chocolate Poptart rounds out the meal. Perfect! Not surprisingly, the Mom not only doesn’t reject the sticky mess presented to her, but is overwhelmed with love at the gesture when she looks into the eyes of her daughter, who is absolutely ecstatic with anticipation at the prospect of being able to please her mommy with this humble offering. It’s not the presentation, it’s the loving intent of its presenter.
So it is with us and God. When Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel, it was probably the equivalent of a soggy peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the eyes of God. Perhaps not even as significant, because maybe Michelangelo’s intentions were not as pure as the little girl’s. It’s probably safe to say that the most valuable works of art — in the truest sense — are hanging on refrigerator doors of mommies and daddies all over the world.
I remember watching some documentary about a tribe somewhere in the third world where they created intricate works of art on the ground using various colored sand and rocks. And they were really very beautiful, but the artist would always finish the work by intentionally smearing the final stroke, in order to prevent it from being “perfect.” When asked why they did this, why the intentional blemish was added, they explained through an interpreter that it’s because only God can make perfect things. They didn’t want to offend God by matching His impeccable workmanship.
Excuse me?! I couldn’t hear you; I was distracted by your enormous ego. Somebody give the bushman a slice of humble pie. We need to keep things in perspective. Without God, we are a speck of dust. Wait a minute, correction: without God, there are no specks of dust with which to make intricate sand paintings.
With God, however, perfection is the direction and the inevitable conclusion. There are many cracks and blemishes on the path to the promised land, all of which are meticulously designed to enhance, strengthen, and enlighten us along the way. After all, we are being prepped and polished in order that we may be made presentable.
We, a humble offering to a father who delights in the sincerity of our hearts. All of our broken works, done with noble intent, pile up under our feet, raising us higher and closer to heaven. Just because daddy beams with pride and joy when his child gets the training wheels removed from their bike doesn’t mean that he was ever ashamed that they were needed in the first place. Our Loving Father wishes for us to be comforted in His peace, not slaves to the anxiety-inducing external demands.
Perfectionists are obsessed with the future, with the end results. God resides in the present, yet knows what has been and what’s to come. So, if God sees the future and loves you in the present moment, what does that tell you?
“I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.” – Michael J. Fox
Is the Grand Canyon a magnificent display of God’s awe-inspiring beauty or is it a giant hole in the ground? It’s several centuries worth of “happy accidents.” Serendipity is a choice tool of the Almighty. Although you are mistaken if you believe in accidents. Particularly if you are on purpose. And you are on purpose. That purpose being perfection. Have faith that you’re heading there, and you’ll be rewarded by Him taking you there. God bless you.