A few thoughts on perfection

March 4th, 2010

Writing assignment from my counselor:

Why did Heavenly Father make the world imperfect?

  • Well, if God had made the world perfect, I think it would be difficult to learn anything.  And the purpose of our life on earth is to learn and grow…  So God designed a world where His plan to further our growth and development could happen.  And, technically, if God designed it, isn’t it perfect for His purposes?  Hmm…   So instead of allowing these imperfections to cause me grief and anxiety, I should recognize them for what they were meant to be.  And I should use them to learn.  And maybe even ask for more of them to learn more?  Wow, that kind of scares me…

—–

Other questions I’ve thought about:

Are we really supposed to be perfect?

  • “Ye are therefore commanded to be perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48, with Joseph Smith Translation)

Wow, that sounds pretty definite!…  Okay, then what does it really mean to be “perfect”?  What should my goal be?

  • The footnote for “perfect” in the above scripture says it is Greek for: “complete, finished, fully developed”.  (see here)

Hmm, I expected it to say something about being sinless or without mistakes…  I wonder if you could be perfect and still make mistakes?…  Either way, should I make perfection an expectation for my life here on earth?

  • “We will not attain a state of perfection in this life…” (Elder Bednar)

That’s encouraging!…  But I know I should still be working towards it to follow Jesus’ command.  What should my goal regarding perfection be?

  • “We will not attain a state of perfection in this life but we can and should press forward with faith in Christ along the strait and narrow path and make steady progress toward our eternal destiny.” (Elder Bednar)
  • “Only Jesus was perfect in all things, including love and meekness…. Thus, as members of the Church, if we can see the life of discipleship… as a combination of proving, reproving, and improving, we will be much better off. (Elder Maxwell)
  • “None of us is perfect yet. But we can have frequent assurance that we are following along the way. He leads us, and He beckons for us to follow Him.”  (President Eyring)

Hmm…  I can see why my perfectionism has been causing me anxiety.  I need to change how I view perfection and what I expect of myself and the world around me.

Some questions I want to ask my counselor at our next session:

How do I change my thoughts, expectations and behaviors surrounding perfection?

Is it possible to stop being a perfectionist?

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3 Comments

m | 3/4/2010 3:12 pm

It occurs to me that the world isn’t perfect in the sense that nothing bad ever happens, but it IS perfect in the sense that the only way we could become like God is to go through trials and heartaches. So, I guess, in a sense, it is perfect.

Perhaps, similarly, you could view disorder, chaos, etc. as a means to a perfect end? I don’t know, I’m still fleshing that idea out.

 
Jesse | 3/4/2010 3:44 pm

Hides- I’m so proud of you for taking this journey. Not proud in a “wow, she is finally taking care of this” kind of way. In fact, your determination is something that I have always admired. And I would never have guessed about your struggles. But that you were able to recognize this as something that could be holding you back, and that you were brave enough to do something about it is really inspiring. Your counselor sounds like a great match. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.
Loves.

 
Ailene Hert | 3/5/2010 9:01 am

I think it’s possible. The only suggestion that I have is to learn to let some little things go. The other day, I was freaking out, because I had matching dresses for my daughters. They have two sets of matching shoes, and I could only find 3 shoes from each set!!! I was going nuts saying, “I can’t POSSIBLY take them out with matching dresses and unmatched shoes!” I wanted to stomp my feet and cry. We hunted all around the house for the shoes, and I finally bit my lip and let them each wear a different set of shoes, even though they didn’t match each other! We figured it’d be better to be on time without perfectly matching shoes, then super late WITH the perfectly matching shoes. And guess what, I survived! :)

 

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