The question stopped me.
The conversation had turned from perfection to heroes of our faith, the people who had made a difference in our lives and whose words or actions were remembered as if they happened yesterday—notes of encouragement, pats on the back, hugs or a listening ear at just the right time. I had finished sharing a few fond memories of my early heroes when someone asked me the question--Were they trying to be perfect in those moments that were so significant?
I stopped. I felt something small shift inside, like those first clumps of snow that tumble down the mountain before the whole avalanche breaks loose.
Were they trying to be perfect? No…actually, they were just being themselves. They were being who they were created to be.
And that’s when it hit. In a tumbling, exhilarating, white jumble of energy and beauty, the snow plummeted and revealed the mountain beneath.
What if my definition of perfection has been wrong all of these years?!? (A sobering question for a recovering perfectionist!)
In my mind, perfection was always having the right answers, always getting perfect grades, never disappointing anyone, always doing the right thing, never getting into trouble, always exceeding all expectations…the list goes on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on...as any perfectionist can tell you.
But what if perfection isn’t really about any of those always’ and nevers?
I remember as a new believer reading that we are called to be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect, which felt like a completely overwhelming command. How is that even doable? Aren’t those standards impossible? Why would we be tasked with something so far outside our reach? Yet, I dutifully added it to my ever-growing list as one more thing to try to achieve.
But what if I was wrong? What if being perfect means that God is completely who He is and that’s what we’re called to? What if perfection is really about being vulnerable and brave enough to be my true self?
Maybe it’s not about me being ‘perfect,’ as in doing everything correct, it’s about me being completely and totally who God created me to be when He first dreamed me into being. Maybe perfection isn’t just about striving to be Christ-like, it’s about being me-like. Because in so doing, I live more and more like Him.
God created me as His image bearer. What better way to bear God's image than to be my true self? What if that’s God’s definition of perfection?
(Photo Credit: Deb Turnow)
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Nicole Mills is an oncology nurse, cancer survivor, nerd, and contemplative. She has a secret desire to be a nun or a double-dutch jump rope champion. Not being Catholic or able to jump 2 ropes poses significant hurdles, but she remains hopeful.