The greatest struggle of my high school years has undoubtedly been the battle with my perfectionist nature. The need for perfection has filled my head, consuming every thought until my mind is a jumbled, anxious mess. Over the past four years, the constant need to perfect myself landed me in the offices of therapists and doctors, and, eventually, into the arms of the Perfecter Himself.
It’s easy to fall prey to the lie that the end-goal is perfection, the culmination of years of all the right things with no mistakes; I certainly did. Out of this belief I joined every club, went for every role, pursued every position and took on every friendship. For years, I poured my all into everything and tried to ignore the emptiness that accompanies being a well overlooking its source.
The caveat? Only one human being has even been equipped with the ability to achieve perfection: Jesus Christ. When we strive to be perfect with no avail, it should remind us both of our own faultiness and the accessibility of His perfection. He constantly advocates with His Father on our behalf and, in return, the Father sees Christ’s perfection instead of human imperfection when He looks upon His believers.
2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “‘...My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
The idea of boasting in weakness feels unnatural to me. I am, by nature, a proud person who would rather be silent than admit that something is wrong. Perhaps that’s why God has placed friend after friend in my life with similar struggles, knowing I cannot help but honestly open up about my own weaknesses, in an attempt to counsel them through their situation. Through these people, the Lord has taught me that making my own weaknesses evident is the perfect means by which to display His strength, and I’m honored to be a vessel through which He’s glorified.
If perfection is both unattainable and unnecessary in the life of a believer, then why not drop the act? Why keep trying for the model resumé or the perfect body? Why not allow yourself to be covered by His finished, perfect work, resting in His perfection despite the absence of your own?
To the student working to get every grade and earn every cord at graduation, running the race of high school with more energy than you can give, I’m sorry. I’m sorry you’ve been allowed to believe that you must be perfect to be loved. I’m sorry that you’ve been left high and dry by the things this world said could fulfill you. But there is good news. Christ is standing there with His arms wide open, offering life-altering living water to your parched soul, His own perfection to cover your missteps. And, oh can I tell you–perfectionism pales in comparison to the Perfecter.