The poison of perfectionism has contaminated much of my life. Yet, God continues to purify these blind spots I have merely accepted as truth for so long.
This includes my relationships with others. How often I have held people to upholding impossible standards of perfection. Why? Because I held myself to these standards. It reminds me of a quote that says, “what we dislike about others is typically that thing we dislike most about ourselves”.
We see the speck in another’s eye while being fully aware of the plank in our own. Yet somehow, their speck aggravates us much more than our own plank.
Holding people to impossible standards can often be because we hold ourselves to impossible standards.
No one is perfect, or will be perfect and our expectations of such can create in us a tendency to grow frustrated and cynical.
Instead, may we look beyond the imperfections of people and towards their potential, even our own. For we all possess potential to be more caring and loving.
If someone is failing, or stumbling in life, do we simply criticize them for falling, or offer a hand to help them back on their feet? Even further, do we then willingly walk alongside them, helping them move forward?
Doing so not only elevates our potential to be better, but also helps elevate others’ by helping them reach theirs, rather than condemning them for their fall.
Granted, this is hard to do at times because there are those we don’t want to help. Perhaps because we view them as competitors, and antagonizers, or because they are cruel, and unkind. However, we all fail and fall at some point in life, and what could happen in this world if we all began helping each other back up when we did?
Imagine if that person turned to help you? I believe there would be far less condemnations and cynics in life created by the false expeditions of perfectionism.
I believe our children could benefit most of all. For how often might we hold them to false expectations? Do we come off as expecting them to deliver perfect grades, perfect manners, and perfect behavior, and if they don’t deliver this perfection, we somehow withhold our love? This doesn’t mean we don’t discipline and hold them accountable, but do we do so in a way that comes along side them, rather than against them?
I know I often felt the pressure to be perfect as a kid, and as we grow, this impacts our view of God and others.
However, God invites us to come to Him as we are. Come as the mess we are, and He patiently helps us grow in faith, maturity, and sanctification over time. Knowing we will fall, but each time being there to help us back up and to keep moving forward. May we be the same way.
All it takes is changing our perspective from judging those who fail to meet our expectations to being on the lookout for those who have fallen and quick to extend our helping hand rather than a pointy finger.