A Spirituality of Imperfection…

To deny our errors is to deny our self, for to be human is to be imperfect, somehow error-prone. To be human is to ask unanswerable questions, but to persist in asking them, to be broken and ache for wholeness, to hurt and to try to find a way to healing through the hurt…Spirituality accepts that “If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.” Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham

Meditation: The book “The Spirituality of Imperfection” is challenging many of our modern Western assumptions. Its content challenges both secular and faith based individuals. These days parents often tell their children: “You can do anything you put your mind to” or “only do things if you do them perfectly and if you can complete them”. These words are meant to encourage our kids and make them strive to become the best they can be. However, when we say those words, we often also project our idea of perfection onto our children. We want and need them to be “perfect”, just as many of us desperately strive for perfection. This puts a lot of pressure on the next generation to succeed in everything they do. The children begin to feel that their parents’ love depends on them becoming “perfect”. This is how they, just like their parents, develop an inner harsh critic that judges whenever they cannot keep up with their “ideal image” and “perfect goals” for themselves and for others. The Spirituality of Imperfection challenges these assumptions of perfection in its core. The Christian faith is built on the premise that we are imperfect human beings. And with our imperfection, in our imperfection and through our imperfection God loves us, just as God loves this imperfect world. God created us imperfectly, error prone, yearning, questioning, broken, hurting and incomplete… And the Good News that Jesus embodied is that our worth is not grounded in our efforts to become perfect or to prove our value by overcoming our imperfections. We are worthy, because we are accepted and loved deeply exactly with our imperfections. To come to this realization completes us. We actually become fully grown and mature followers of Christ when we embrace this truth about ourselves: to be human is to be imperfect. Becoming “perfect” as God is “perfect” means to become “whole”, as in “embracing of all parts of creation”, including the imperfect, broken and incomplete that exist in all of us.

Prayer: God, help me to learn “to do things badly if they are worth it”. Help me to overcome my illusion of perfection. Liberate me from my constant striving to become perfect. Send Your mending Spirit, so I can learn to accept my limitations and offer them to you and to the world. When I am imperfect, fragile and limited, and I witness others’ imperfection, fragility and limitation, I am invited to embrace all of me and all of them. This is how a mature love of self and of others begins. This is when we become whole, just as God is whole. What a mystery! Amen

So, then be perfect (“teleios”) as Your Heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:48 “Teleios” means: : “perfect, complete in all its parts, full grown, of full age”.