I have always been a dreamer. When I was little I would spend time daydreaming of what life would be like when I was older. I have wanted more for as long as I can remember. My childish mind reasoned that being in one’s thirties would be the time in my life when I would have it all together, when I would finally experience the “more” I dreamed of. Oh, the ignorance of youth and the dreams it permits us to dream. My “more” included being perfect, never getting it wrong. The first days of school or of the New Year was always exciting because I would have a clean start. My note books would have no mistakes in them. I would be careful this time – I would be perfect – and to prove it, every page of my work would represent how one should live their life: flawless. With this I would never have to experience the guilt and shame of being one who got it wrong, one who was less than perfect.
Flash forward several years, and I confess that I was wrong. Being in one’s thirties does not mean you have it together. In life we fall short. Life is messy and gets in its own way. Just today I had a conversation with a friend where we both bemoaned our inability to be perfect; it is such an inconvenience! Perfection is impossible, there must be a better way to live.
I believe that the desire to be perfect has been with us from the garden, except that in the garden they took it one step further. There, one of the lies that the evil one told Adam and Eve was that they could be as gods (Gen 3:5) knowing good and evil. Eve was enticed by this (Gen 3:6), to be as a god. The arrogance of this serves only to capture those who believe it to be possible. Yet, one can find themselves in this place; isn’t that what being perfect is? Wanting more. Maybe not as a god, but completely dismissing our human nature – you know, the way God created us to be reliant on Him. We are not perfect, hallelujah! What we lack gives us the opportunity to rely on the Father and on one another!
When we expect perfection from ourselves, we set for ourselves an unachievable goal and an unkindness to the creation of God. To be clear, our goal is still holiness, but perfection and holiness are not alike. Holiness welcomes grace, perfection has no need for it. Holiness also insists on more. More Jesus, more Holy Spirit, more of the love of the Father. We can be more.
“Praise be to the exalted Lord God of Israel,
for he has seen us through eyes of grace,
and he comes as our Hero-God to set us free!” Luke 1:68, TPT
We are free from the flawed expectation of perfection, we do not do life alone. Christ, our Hero has removed the stain of our failed attempts at getting it right, and views us with His loving eyes of kindness, seeing us as redeemed, as worthy and as holy. We cannot be more alone, but we can be more with Christ.
This devotional was written by Lieutenant Mhairi Smeaton, who is currently serving at the Hazlet Outpost in Hazlet, NJ.