I used to want to be perfect. In fact, I thought perfection was the path for everyone. I never occurred to me that the folks around me might be comfortable with their own imperfections. They didn’t beat themselves up like I did whenever they made a mistake. Perfection in my mind meant being more like God who is perfect. Like God it also meant sinless. This is what God wanted of me…to be “white as snow”.
I was taught that Jesus, by dying on the cross, washed my sins away. My head gave ascent to this impossible-to-understand idea but my heart new better. In my heart I knew that I continued to do things that were unkind, I continued to hurt others and to be selfish. I tried to be different and once in a while, I did something for someone that was selfless. But, of course, selflessness was fleeting as I would soon be patting myself on the back for what I did.
I am in a much better place today. I no longer seek perfection. It isn’t that perfection is impossible, it is that it is not what is expected of us. In my book, The Memorial of Jesus Philip was one who had this illusion of perfection. In his striving, he was judgmental about others who did not share his zeal. Jesus tried to be patient with him but one day, in exasperation, he said, “Brother Philip, you are not God!” This was a moment of change for Philip, a moment of accepting himself as he was, warts and all.
This is what letting go of perfection does. It ends the striving. It opens the door to serenity in knowing that I am loved as I am.