The Misperception of Perfection

He climbs in the van and we maneuver the small town traffic to his art teacher’s studio. He loves art lesson days. Most days I ask how his day was as I pick him up and he says “fine.” Some days he says “great,” but in his sarcastic voice. He’s not a fan of school. Then he asks how my day was. I love how he almost always asks this. Pulling any more information from him about his day is rare, though. I ask what he did in his classes. “Nothing,” he usually replies. Some days he reports on the misbehavior of other students. Me always asking about his behavior. Discussions about school have always been this way.

On art days after I pick him up from his art lessons, though, he opens up a bit more. Not about school as it is, but about other things. Life. His deep thoughts often surprising me. Asking questions I can not answer. Many times theological in tone. His art, his gift, does this for him.

The Pressure of Perfection

Last week he comments about a certain situation saying he always felt like he had to be perfect when he was there. Children perceive so much more than we realize.

I let perfectionism go several years ago. One look at my house and you would undoubtedly agree.

While reading a book by A.W. Tozer recently I saw perfection in a completely different light than in the past.

“He did not create us to be the best we can be apart from Himself……Man’s ideal of perfection always excludes Christ. But God’s idea of perfection is complete maturity in Jesus Christ…..Man’s idea of perfection is to reach man’s highest ideal. God’s idea of perfection is for us to reach our highest ideal in Christ.”

Distorted Perfection

Humanity distorts true perfection. Too often we base our worth on the quality of how we perform any number of tasks. The pressure for perfection causing us to question if we are loved when we do not measure up or please others.

As I sat reading these passages over and over I realized a truth I think God has been trying to teach me for some time.

God sees us through the perfection and grace of Christ. Yes we disappoint him. Yes we make mistakes. I make mistakes every day. We will never reach complete perfection this side of heaven.

We are worthy not because we are perfect or because we can reach perfection. We are worthy, imperfections and all, because God sees us through the lens of Christ.

When we relinquish the expectations we place on ourselves for perfection, when we release the expectations we have for others to be perfect, we can begin to understand just how vast His love and grace for us is. We will begin to understand He is sufficient even when we are not.

When our spirit grasps that humanity’s view of perfection is a misperception we can become who He created us to be. Not who our family want us to be. Not who our friends expect us to be, but who He created us to be. A creation He sees as perfect through the love and grace of Christ.

Have you struggled with the pressure to be perfect? 

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Copyright © 2023 Amy Nabors.