Lately I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be perfect. Not necessarily in a physical sense but a spiritual one. I myself am a person who is constantly working towards being something more; when I make mistakes I do my best to learn from them. If I'm being completely honest, I've been guilty of perfectionism in most areas of my life.
In my pursuit of self-betterment, though, I've often caught myself chasing after a sense of accomplishment that I could never obtain. No matter how much effort I put forth in attempting to become a better artist, a better friend, a better follower of Christ; I was always left feeling as if I'd fallen short. I was never satisfied because in spite of all my strengths, my weaknesses still remained. I let my imperfections define me and in doing so never found freedom from them.
It's taken me a long time to realize how wrong my way of thinking was, it required God revealing his truth through his Word. In Matthew 5:48 Jesus himself tells the disciples "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." While it's true that we are told to be perfect, Jesus never says that we achieve this by our strength. There's a particular line in the song Lazarus by My Epic that sums it up perfectly. It says "I quit striving for perfection and surrendered up to instead." In the act of perfecting, God requires only one things of us. He asks for complete and unreserved surrender. Left to ourselves, we will never muster the piety that is required to live an utterly righteous life; but that doesn't mean we stop pursuing the God who in his goodness makes us holy. Instead we should freely place ourselves in his hands and allow him to mold us into the creatures we're meant to be. It is a constant, painful, and life-long process; but it's a beautiful one. To me, nothing is more encouraging than the knowledge that with each day I choose to follow the perfect Creator of the Universe; he is shaping me to look more like the portrait of perfection that is his son Jesus Christ.
There's a particular parable by George McDonald that I have read countless times. I'll leave it with you and hope ( no matter where you might be when it comes to this subject) that it is as encouraging to you as it is me:
"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way the hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of –throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself."