I read this morning: “The truth of existence is that we’re exactly who we need to be. None of us is inadequate, yet all of us fall short of being perfect.” (from The Promise of a New Day) The last phrase reminds me of the words of scripture, “All fall short of the glory of God.” When I heard these words years ago, I took them as a statement about my on-going condition, that I will never be good enough for God.
The assumption was that perfection was intended by God when earth was created. Anything that is less than that is failure and utter disappointment to God. Not only was this thinking a source of guilt, but it of defeatism, for there was no hope of ever attaining the perfect state that would please God. This in turn was meant to turn my mind and heart to Jesus who could somehow cover me (with his grace) so that God, mistakenly it seems to me, could look upon me and be pleased, when really it was Jesus who pleased Him.
If you think I was a little crazy in my guilty, shame-filled thinking, you are absolutely correct. In that state of mind, I was never afforded even brief feelings of joy over myself or for something I had done well. Not so today. I now think of myself as perfectly who I am meant to be today. I believe that my Creator planted me here much like a flower: to sprout, take root, grow, flower, reproduce, wither, and die. I am a process. For a plant to flower before its time, one would have to attach to it a fake rendition of a flower to the green plant. I need to appreciate each stage of growth I am in. No state is imperfect or inadequate – each stage is simply that, a stage.
We are all perfect in God’s eyes at every point in the process. What feels imperfect to us comes from messages we get from the world, from comparing ourselves to others, and from desiring more of ourselves than we are really grown up enough to accomplish. We berate ourselves for not learning our lessons fast enough. I suppose this is because of the way we sometimes bring trouble for ourselves, but this is the way we learn and the way we grow stronger and wiser.
I have to take issue with the idea that we are intended to be perfect. I don’t think this is at all God’s plan. Just consider the fact that it is the fallen, the “sinners” of the world that are most useful in helping others. The “perfect” are pretty useless when it comes to helping others. God knows what God is doing.