Perfection. It’s a terrible, horrible thing to strive for. It tears down relationships. It prevents some people from functioning altogether. It is a seemingly worthy, human goal we can never reach.
And I want it.
But when I fail to achieve it, and I fail every time, I am set back into “why bother” mode and go back to my old eating habits, to eat as much as possible until I feel better. And I never do…feel better.
But the worst part of perfection is not about what I see in myself. It’s what I see in others.
When we base other people on a goal of perfection, we become the worst kind of judge. We become the hypocrite.
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? – Matthew 7:1-3 NIV
I said a lot of things in my life that were accurate, correct, right. It does not mean it was right for me to say them.
One of the most challenging things for me in talking about my diet is the expectation that others should diet as I do. That is why, from the beginning I have said, “Don’t eat what I am eating.” I am not on the perfect diet. I am on what seems to be the perfect diet for me.
You are on your own journey. You will get no condemnation from me on this matter.
Every week I have friends tell me how they were doing so well and how they had a setback in their diet and exercise program, an unexpected schedule change, a family emergency, a gift of candy from a sweetheart.
Every time I hear in their words their personal condemnation of their behavior. And I have to remind them, that is part of the journey.
It is a significant part of our journey to lay down the goal of perfection and pick up the acceptance that we are who we are. Change comes not from being perfect, but from the constant willingness to redirect our lives back into the direction God is leading us, the constant willingness to turn around and head the other direction one more time.
Judging others, or judging ourselves, is condemned by God because of the inevitable path of destruction that results. For when you condemn others, or yourself, you exhibit an unwillingness to change course when God calls on you.
Now, “judge not” does not mean giving up our own good judgement. We still have to be aware of the pitfalls, the enemies, the danger zones.
But “judge not” does mean giving up the perceived control we have over others, and over our own lives. It means leaving perfection to the Perfect One.
And as my dear friend Mike would say, accepting “grace upon grace.”