You will never be perfect.
Stop clinging to that goal, because it’s not going to happen. Stop waiting for the perfect time, because it will never arrive. Stop beating yourself up for every mistake, thinking you’re above them, because you’re not. Perfection is unattainable. It will always slip through your fingers.
When you meet one goal, another lies beyond it. The more light that shines on you, the more you’ll be aware how much you still need a bath. You will never have a job where you never make an error. You will never have a relationship where you are never hurt. You will never have a habit you follow to the letter or make any improvements without having temporary setbacks. Even if you become the best in your field, you will still be aware of weak points and areas in need of change. Even if you’re a wonderful spouse or parent, conflict will still arise in your household.
You will never reach perfection. So relax your grasp.
For many, the knowledge that they’ll never attain perfection — that even their best-written piece can be poked apart by critics or their best attempts will still sometimes fall flat — is a source of frustration. They see any hint of flaws as failure. I know some writers who can’t even finish a piece if they’re not 100 percent satisfied with it…which means they often have stacks of uncompleted projects. I know many people so frustrated by their sinfulness that they despair over any hint of ungodliness.
But I don’t see imperfection as failure. I see it as freedom.
I see it as a freedom to experiment. If perfection was the goal, I’d only try what I knew would work. I’d box myself in and only attempt things that I was comfortable with. But knowing that imperfection is okay allows me to push myself and see what works. It means that I can do things even when I’m not entirely sure I’ll succeed. If I fall flat on my face, then so what? It happens — I learned what doesn’t work. But if I succeed, even imperfectly, it opens new avenues of creativity and possibility.
I see it as a freedom to be unique. If perfection was the goal, I’d never step out of my house. I’d be too afraid about how I measure up to ever open the door. I’d obsess over everything I wear. I’d worry about where I live. I’d scrutinize every word I say. I’d make sure that I only met the expectations others had of me and if I couldn’t meet them, I’d stay under my covers, afraid to face the world. Knowing I’ll never perfectly meet those expectations means I don’t have to conform to who they expect me to be. I might look odd. I may sometimes stumble over my words. My sense of humor may be bizarre and my interests may be out of the mainstream. That’s okay. That’s me. If it’s not all perfect, it’s still all part of who I am.
I see it as a freedom to be awed. If perfection was the goal, I’d fail and be left alone. But imperfection opens the door for grace. If we were held to perfection, there’d be no reason for anyone to forgive us. There’d be no opportunity for us to forgive others. Imperfection humbles us and allows others to show us grace. It sets up the opportunity for us to be amazed by others, who overlook our flaws and dismiss our trespasses. Without imperfection, grace wouldn’t exist, robbing us of one of the world’s wonders.
Finally, it’s a freedom to have fun. If perfection was the goal, I imagine life would be very stressful. Ulcers would run rampant. We wouldn’t finish any projects because we couldn’t bear with any problems. We wouldn’t try anything new because we’d be too afraid of failure. We wouldn’t start any new relationships because we’d be too scared of the pain. Accepting imperfection means we’re aware of the risks and we know that we might not always hit our mark. It allows us to keep trying and keep growing, knowing that even if we’ll never hit perfection, we’ll keep sharpening our blade with every attempt.
If we were expected to be perfect, we’d be stagnant and frozen. Accepting our imperfection allows us to pursue our dreams, enrich our lives and savor every attempt. It’s a great gift.