Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Working Toward Perfection

I was reading the article "Becoming Perfect in Christ" by Elder Gerrit W. Gong in the July, 2014 Ensign and realized that this article was so much more than trying to be perfect.  Elder Gerrit says:

A misunderstanding of what it means to be perfect can result in perfectionism--an attitude or behavior that takes an admirable desire to be good and turns it into an unrealistic expectation to be perfect now.  Perfectionism sometimes arises from the feeling that only those who are perfect deserve to be loved or that we do not deserve to be happy unless we are perfect.

He goes on to talk about how challenging trying to live that way is.  I have come to realize that there is no such thing as perfect, there is only trying to perfect ourselves.  Kindness to ourselves is allowing ourselves to make mistakes just as our Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ, expect us to as well.  Being able to accept who you are is being able to accept where you are at in your journey toward perfection as well.

I frequently use the phrase that balance is like a teeter-totter bouncing back and forth, it is the same for trying to perfect ourselves.  One day we will do great and the next, not so much.  This doesn't mean we have failed or are failing, it just means we are human and are trying.  Just do your best to bounce back.

I loved this final thought from Elder Gong in his article:

As we act and are not aced upon, we can navigate between complementary virtues [think of the teeter-totter] . . . , we can cease to be idle without running faster than we have strength.  We can be "anxiously engaged in a good cause" while also periodically pausing to "be still, and know that I am God."  We can find our lives by losing our lives for the Savior's sake.  We can be "not weary in well-doing" while taking appropriate time to refresh spiritually and physically.  We can be lighthearted without being light-minded.  We can laugh heartily with but not haughtily at.

Have a desire to be perfect, do what is in your power to do so, but be realistic, the desire and the effort to work toward perfection is what is important not the unrealistic actually being perfect.

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