Earthly ideas of perfection have nothing to do with completion in the eyes of God.
Posted in , Nov 6, 2018
I began a new job a few weeks ago, the first office job I’ve held in decades. The newness of the situation means that logistics are complicated. There’s the commute (70 minutes on two subways, with a crowded transfer at Times Square), the food (I need to have breakfast and lunch materials on hand for my high schoolers, and prepared meals for my recovering anorexic) and, of course, an array of medical and school meetings to attend.
It helps me to think of the logistics of these things like a crossword puzzle. I don’t have to figure things all out at once: I need to fill in the blanks that I can. When I do #1 and #7 across, it becomes easier to do #2 and #8 down. As a few answers fall into place my brain is freed up to move on to other, perhaps more difficult tasks. I think it’s normal for human beings to be unable to figure out complex situations all at once. The answers come with time, in stages.
Or else they don’t. Sometimes we don’t (or can’t) figure it out. That’s pretty normal, too. And that’s okay: most of what I can’t do (but think I should do) is unlikely to cause anyone to die. At worst my inability to “do it all” will cause others inconvenience; at best it will cause my family to develop new coping skills. In the long run it’s probably no more of a catastrophe than failing to find the answer to #20 across.
Yes, I wish I knew how to do it all. Usually that’s all it is: a wish. I draw to mind Jesus’ words, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48) and remember that when He was talking about perfection, He was talking about being complete. I am not made complete by achieving earthly ideals of perfection. I am made complete by doing the tasks that God has set before me, by accepting that I am not (and don’t need to be) superhuman, and by approaching each moment of each day with humility, thanksgiving and awe.
I am not made perfect by doing everything flawlessly. I am only perfected in and through Christ. And if I take the time to approach #9 down with prayer, and #24 across recognizing that I am a child of God, I’ve got a flying shot at doing okay. Jesus’ call to be perfect has nothing to do with knowing how to “do it all”…it is about learning how to follow God’s will, even in the midst of change and uncertainty.