The Pursuit of Perfection

The Pursuit of Perfection

With Christmas fast approaching, we’re being bombarded with all sorts of messages, encouraging us to seek perfection.

“Shop here and find the perfect present.”

“Order your food from here for the perfect Christmas meal.”

“Discover decorations that will make your home perfect for the festive season.”

For most people, there is a lot of pressure at Christmas time, with so much to prepare already. If you have perfectionist tendencies, the pressure is even greater!

It may be more intense at Christmas, but advertisers appeal to our desire for perfection all year round. Images of what flawless bodies should look like, ideal homes and faultless families, are seemingly constant.

Should we even be seeking perfection at all? And what ideal, if any, should we be aiming for?

I think one of the biggest problems is that for many the pursuit of perfection is often bound up with the fear of what other people will think of us, if we produce something that isn’t perfect.

I had this for a while with blogging; and it led me to inaction. I’d write something, then decide it wasn’t good enough, then write something else. Then publish nothing. Perfectionism can be debilitating.

However, I recently came across the following quote of GK Chesterton:

‘If something is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.’

This was such a refreshing thought. Some things are worth doing, even if we know there will be a lot of mistakes along the way. Everything we do in this life will be tinged with flaws, because we are all imperfect souls.

Maybe the greatest we can hope for is not perfection, but excellence – aiming for the best we can, with the limited time and resources we have available.

So is that it then? Should we give up the pursuit of perfect altogether? Well, perhaps not entirely.

After all Jesus told us, at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, ‘be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.’

Jesus knows we can’t achieve perfection in this life, yet he tells us to aim for it.

However, he did not say be perfect, like those people in the adverts; or like your neighbour; or that woman you know, who seems to have everything together. He said be perfect, as your *Heavenly Father* is perfect.

So, how is our Heavenly Father perfect?

We cannot imitate many of his divine traits, but we can look at how he conducted himself when he came to Earth, on that first Christmas, and put on the limited body of a human man.

Hebrews 5:8-9 describes Jesus’ perfection like this:

‘Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him’

Jesus’ perfection was achieved through life-long obedience, suffering and sacrifice. It was a process and a work that was completed in him.

This does not imply that there were any faults in his character before he was ‘made perfect’. Or that he was morally imperfect in any way.

The perfection referred to is not about whether he had any flaws, because he never had any. Rather, it is about wholeness. His work had reached its full, completed state, after his great sacrifice and resurrection.

For Jesus, perfection couldn’t be achieved quickly. He was made perfect by choosing a life of service to others and obedience to God, every moment of every day.

Similarly, we can’t achieve perfection in a ‘magic minute’. It can’t be bought from any shop, crafted, or baked. However, we are promised that we will be made perfect, like Jesus, after life-long, patient and persistent obedience to Christ.[1]

Perhaps a perfect Christmas this year, won’t look like the M & S advert, but, rather, be found in those moments we sacrifice our time and resources to help others.

 

Craft

We’re in the final stages of completing our homemade Christmas gifts this year. It’s frustrating when they don’t always come out as ‘perfectly’ as we’d like.

However, I’m hoping the sacrifice of time and effort will be appreciated by their recipients, if nothing else!

Here is a simple gift idea that we made last year.

Homemade Coasters

You will need:

  • Felt
  • Tiles around 10cm in diameter
  • PVA glue
  • Scissors
  • Posca Permanent Paint Pens

Instructions:

  • Draw your design on the tile and wait for it to dry
  • Trace around your tile onto felt using a pencil
  • Cut out the felt along the lines drawn using sharp scissors
  • Glue the felt to the underside of the tile and wait for it to dry

Tips:

We picked up our tiles on gumtree. You can decorate plain tiles, or use tiles which already have a pattern. Feel free to play around with different colour felt. You can even make your tiles from air-dry clay.

 

[1] Pg 102, Brown, The Bible Speaks Today, The Message of Hebrews

 

 

If you are interested in reading more about this topic these are two articles I would recommend:

www.desiringgod.org/articles/lay-aside-the-weight-of-perfection

www.biblesociety.org.uk/explore-the-bible/bible-articles/what-does-jesus-mean-when-he-says-be-perfect/

close

Want more?

Sign up today and receive emails when new blogs are published.

We don't spam! Read the privacy policy for more info.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *