Perfection. I think it was a clear sign that I was a little dedicated to this perfection thing when I was prescribed “more sleep” at only age twelve by my physician. I thought that being a perfectionist was fitting in this kind of world, where being the best is encouraged and borderline required. I didn’t quite understand that being a perfectionist and a Christian was actually an oxymoron.
To be fair when you grow up in a family like mine, where there doesn’t seem to be a trace of mediocrity in the entire blood line, perfectionism seems pretty rational.
But as my back hit the mattress last night and this overwhelming feeling quickly overtook my body, I realized for the first time that I was tired. An exhaustion I had never felt before or perhaps just never acknowledged. I was in a rut and I knew that, I had been in one for the last month. But the revelation did not come in the fact that I was exhausted or in a rut, but the fact that even in my mourning and worrying I was trying to be in control. Even alone in my room I tried to tell myself the proper way to mourn, the proper way to feel sad. My thoughts were interrupted by an internal alarm announcing that my crying episode had reached its end and I was now to enter into the rationalizing and planning stage. Once the time expired from my planning stage I was then to gracefully move into my episode of praise and gratitude for all the things He had already blessed me with. I was a perfectionist even in my faith.
Isn’t the whole point, and many would argue, the beauty of being a believer in Christ that we don’t have to be perfect. That we can come as we are. That we can fall into His arms for Him to so willingly wrap us in His unconditional love. That He loves us not just despite, but because of our imperfections.
For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for. – 2 Corinthians 13:19
I had grown up understanding we as Christians were human, still experiencing mistakes, set-backs, illnesses, disappointments like everyone else. But I became pressured by this rationale that we as Christians were suppose to experience these things differently, that God would not allow us to experience the whole extend of the pain, for we were recipients of his grace and mercy. I guess I didn’t understand that His grace and mercy were gifts and there was no proper form of mourning that would put me in line for such gifts. I didn’t have to be perfect to have my pain relieved, I just had to accept Christ as my Savior, something I had already done.
The complimentary mercy and grace package was already guaranteed. Reminded of this guarantee, I could finally work to recalculate my equation that perfection equals a woman of faith. I finally understood that my faith journey just like my worldly life could not be free of flaws. That even in my faith walk I will have moments of doubt and frustration, but that doubt will not remove me from His grace. My new found peace comes from knowing that I live in a world were perfection is requested, but I have joined a kingdom that does not require it.