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Thursday, 1 January 2015

Perfect Imperfection

I used to be a perfectionist - I still am, but I'm far less of one, now I'm more of a procrastinator - either way it used to quite affect my talents with writing. I would edit and re-edit to the point where I simply wasn't moving forward. I was stuck on trying to find the perfect words to use but I wouldn't progress with the important part: actually writing. Today when I write blogs such as this there is almost no editing - only minor edits as I go. I find it makes for a more conversational and flowing tone. Importantly, I also actually get the writing done.

So what I want to quickly discuss in this blog, is the topic that has been running through my head all night and won't let me rest until I type it out: perfection. Now, I've seen many people in life search for perfection (I've searched for it often in the past) in terms of the perfect husband/wife or the perfect job or the perfect house. But something that has struck me is this: human perfection is imperfect.

And what I mean by that is our overall concept of perfection is imperfect. It ultimately won't leave you satisfied. Because to expect the 'perfect' relationship or 'perfect' job or 'perfect' life is unreasonable. No one and nothing in this world can ever be truly perfect.

In 2014 I noticed a lot more people giving me varying advice on different things. I also gave out a lot of advice. While each piece of advice was obviously told in love and had different useful applications, I noticed that some more cautionary advice also seemed more directive. Obviously the reasons for that were apparent when going on my teaching rounds but it struck me today that often when we give advice we are seeking perfection. How many times have I said 'this is what I would do', thinking that I had the perfect angle on how to resolve a relationship issue or some moral dilemma etc. And I have done it because I wanted to make the situation perfect for the individual I was advising.

The problem is that human perfection is perfection by self effort. It is the perfection that says 'if I change something, I can make this right.' And because of this it's a perfection that can never be satisfied. I thank God that He has apparently helped me to see this in advance because at the moment I'm not looking for a perfect job, life or relationship - at least by human standards. I know I can never really have those things. But what I do want is for God to direct me to the jobs, life and relationship that are right for me.
Hebrews 11:38-40
"38 They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.
39 All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. 40 For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us."
This comes from the famous passage on the men and women of faith. None of them were perfect - Abraham tried to fulfill a promise of God's in his own strength through Ishmael, Moses acted many times in ungodly anger. David had another man killed so he could steal his wife. The flaws of each of the men and women mentioned in this passage are so visible. But yet they are the prime examples of faith left behind and the Bible tells us that they were 'too good for this world' (other translations say 'the world was not worthy of them').

You see God's standard of perfection can be reached in our imperfection. We can be imperfectly perfect. But only through faith. For without it nothing pleases God (Hebrews 11:6), and only faith in the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ who provides the great gift of redemption for our sins can perfectly save us from, and in, our imperfection.

So yes, that's my blog reflection to start off the new year. I don't know how 2014 was for you, for me it was an up and down but incredible year all the same. Maybe you're hoping that 2015 is a more perfect year: my thought for you is that it won't be. You can hope all you want for that, but according to your standards of perfection, 2015 will disappoint you.

I'm not looking for perfection in my life. I'm not looking for perfection in a relationship. I'm looking for the true beauty that comes from faith and godliness and I want that to be my standard for 2015 - to live by faith and not by sight. It's that faith that enables me whenever people may judge me by their standards of perfection to admit that yes, I am not perfect and could name millions of ways I am not. But that's okay, I don't need to be perfect, I just need to perfectly fit in with God's plan for my life in my own imperfect way.