Sunday, May 15, 2016

And now that you don't have to be perfect...

Well, hello old friend. It has been a long time since I last wrote some words in this here blog. A long time since I poured out my heart into a page that was then sent into the void on the internet. And goodness, I've missed it.

Life since my last post has been busy. Between work, travels to see my sweet nephew, and hours of television, I have found the days and weeks slipping past all at once too fast and too slow. I return today to my blog as there has been something pressing on me for some time now.

I'm a perfectionist. And to be a perfectionist while lacking the limitless ability to succeed at every endeavor, is not an easy thing to be. It leads to underachievement from fear of failure. It leads to breaking my own heart time and time again. It leads to small words causing an avalanche that buries me deep in self doubt, fear, and worst of all, bitterness. Perfectionism doesn't make life better. It makes life difficult. This desire for perfection has been something I've always struggled with. I need to get it right or I have no business even trying. As a result, there's a lot of experiences I've failed to even try.

What happens when I strive for perfection, when it is inevitably not achieved, I run away. I give up. When it comes to a flight or fight instinct, I'm gone before trouble even has a chance to find me. The first sign of difficulty or an inability to achieve at the highest level, I crack and I quit. Now, quitting itself has a time and a place. But only when you quit because you believe you can be better, not because you think you're not good enough.

So, in this long life fight against perfectionism, I've struggled. I've lost many many times. Recently, I revisited the great work by John Steinbeck, East of Eden. An epic telling of humanity. I discovered this quote that has struck me as so incredibly influential, I simply had to blog about it.

"And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good." 

Those words. So simple and to the point. Similarly put by Voltaire. "Don't let perfect be the enemy of good." 

What is perfect anyway? Well, the quick google search of the definition yields this result:


adjective per·fect \ˈpər-fikt\

Simple Definition of perfect

  • : having no mistakes or flaws
  • : completely correct or accurate
  • : having all the qualities you want in that kind of person, situation, etc.

Too often what happens when I seek that perfection, is that the goodness that surrounds it is lost. And goodness to me means so much more than perfection. It means trying even when you may fail. It means smiling even when you fall down. It means seeing beauty in brokenness. It means discovering that even when we aren't perfect, we are enough.

The reality of humanity is that God has long since decided that we don't have to be perfect. He knows we are deeply flawed and sinful. Instead of wiping us out with floods, He graced us with His presence here on earth in the form of His son, Jesus. And then Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice. He gave His life for ours so that we might discover how to truly live.

Living comes with mistakes. It comes with failures. It comes with embarrassment, heart ache, and struggle. But living, also comes with adventure, excitement, learning, discovering, searching, and encouraging. It comes in big and small moments. It comes with happiness and sorrow. We are not meant to live perfect lives. But we are meant to live well. We are meant to live good.

"Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good." (Minor Myers)

This battle with perfection is hardly unique to me. It is something I know many of us struggle with. In recent weeks, I've really, really been struggling. But, instead of running away because I'm not perfect, I'm going to stand and fight. I'm going to prove to myself that I don't have to be perfect to be good. And maybe in this new discovery, I'll learn that whereas the desire for perfection destroys me, goodness will renew me. And in that ability to find good, I'll find so much more. I'll find strength, happiness, contentment, or even the opposite, a need for so much more. 

So, I go out today not to be perfect, but to be good. To discover the things that make me happy. To live a beautiful, full, and flawed life. May you do the same. And may we all remember these words. "And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good."

1 comment:

  1. Hooray for mediocrity! Join the tribe of the flawed and imperfect. I love this and I love that you're blogging again. More!


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