I think it’s safe to say that most of us do this; passionately pursue perfection. People all around the world want the perfect clothes, the perfect looks, the perfect mate, the perfect job, the perfect car, the perfect house in the perfect neighborhood, the perfect kids, the perfect school for their perfect kids so that they can have the perfect family, and on and on and on…the passionate pursuit of perfection never ends. And what “perfect” is varies by person, but everybody’s chasing their version of perfection because they think it will make them happy and successful. This world is not perfect, we are not perfect, so why are we investing so much time and effort chasing these very non-existent perfections? In addition and more importantly has anyone noticed how increasingly frustrated we become when we don’t obtain these things…triggering feelings of failure and diminished self-worth.
This post will only seek to address the passionate pursuit of perfection as it relates to a perfect mate and a perfect relationship. I am in no way an expert qualified to speak on this subject, but I’m going to share my thoughts anyway. So, since we know that we as humans are by no means perfect, why is it that we expect perfect partners or expect our relationships to be perfect? We all know relationships shouldn’t be perfect but somehow we continue to expect perfection and become disappointed and confused when we don’t receive it. Obviously, that’s unrealistic, right? Perhaps so, but not as much as it should be.
Let’s take me for example, I had this pre-conceived notion that God had someone out there for me and not just anyone but he would be God’s best for me. So in my mind God’s best for me had to be nothing short of perfect. I mean if God himself is gifting you a person wouldn’t you expect something exquisite and perfect? I thought that he would literally be the perfect man; with no issues, no flaws, no baggage, no drama, no fighting, just a flawless beautiful sweeping romantic existence at all times. Clearly I was quite delusional! I mean really what were he and I going to do with ourselves, just bask in our perfection for 50 years or so and then wait for death? In all actuality if God did send me the perfect man, that man honestly would have left me quickly because I am not perfect at all, I am flawed, so what was he (Mr. Perfect) gonna do with me?! So yes, I was quite delusional. This is a prime example of when you think you know what you don’t know.
Let’s be clear I’m not saying settle for less than you deserve, no way! Doing so just leads to disappointments, regrets and finally resentment. What I am saying is instead of chasing perfection there is something far more valid worth chasing. Instead of chasing perfection chase what you value and what that is is going to be different for everyone. The irony is when you chase what you value, when you chase all of the qualities and characteristics that are of the utmost importance to you then you win because in the end that person will be “perfect” for you.
The key to this though is, you have to actually know what you want…and you’d be surprised how many people don’t really have a clear vision of exactly and specifically what it is that they want. Wanting “someone to love me” or wanting “someone to share my life with” is not enough, you need to know what kind of person. So, you have to know what’s important to you and what you value, because if you don’t know what you want, you may not recognize it when you see it, even if it’s right in front of you. It’s also so very important to know what you don’t want, so that when you see that you know to quickly head in the opposite direction. Why? Because if you don’t know what you don’t want you may naively and unnecessarily entertain the wrong things for you until you realize in the worst way how much you actually do not want that. Unfortunately by then the damage is done and the time has been wasted (well not completely wasted if the lesson is learned).
Well, with age brings wisdom (allegedly) and so what I understand now is that God’s best for me was not a “perfect man” but instead a man that was designed to challenge me, teach me, push me, inspire me and grow me. He is kind, humble, respectful, honest, smart, creative, hilarious, thoughtful, extremely hard-working and he’s a fellow believer in the Christian faith (those traits are valued by me!). As compatible as we are, he is my opposite in a few ways but I am realizing now that this is by design, we both have traits that the other needs to learn. I realized that being in a relationship with him has made me aware of major flaws within myself, flaws that I chalked up to just being “me” and part of my personality. Now I see that these flaws within myself are not “me” they are choices, they are room for improvement, they are things I need to work on, things I want to work on because I want to be better for me and for us. He makes me want to be a better person for both our sakes. What I’m saying is what you think you want and what God knows you need are sometimes two completely different things. I’m not perfect, he isn’t either but we make allowances for human weaknesses so we don’t expect perfection.
If you are in a relationship right now and you love this person and you think they are “the one”, still…do not expect perfection from them or the relationship, you will be sorely disappointed. Do yourself and your mate (or future mate) a favor when things go wrong as they sometimes will exercise grace, patience and forgiveness. A lot of things that happen in the course of a relationship are just that “something that happened”, 9 times out of 10 the person you are with isn’t doing things just to hurt, anger or spite you (if they are perhaps you should run the other way!), so when they make mistakes think the best of them, not the worst, learn from the experience together and move on. And pick your battles, learn to let things slide, you don’t have to attend every argument you are invited to, every hiccup or disagreement does not need to turn into world war three.
Also, here’s something else that needs to be said; don’t compare because it is true what they say comparison is the thief of joy. When you start comparing someone’s relationship will always appear better than yours and yet another’s relationship will seem clearly worse off than yours. Just as we know that each person is unique each relationship is also unique, so don’t compare. And another thing, people sometimes have an incomplete picture of love and what it should look like, they think it’s all rainbows and sunshine and butterflies, sure it can be and it should be most of the time but it’s certainly not like that all the time. Sometimes love is sacrifice. Jesus sacrificed his life on the cross for us, that was love, there has not been and will never be greater love than that. Similarly if you find yourself making a sacrifice (and I do not mean compromising your safety, your beliefs or anything else of value!) but a pure and genuine sacrifice that you would make again in a heartbeat if needed, then you know it’s real true love.
So please, I urge you, from now on, change your mindset, change your perspective. From now on in your life, in your relationships, in your career, everywhere you go and everything you do, look for what you value, chase it, and when you find it, cherish it and appreciate it, but don’t chase perfection because you will never catch it.
Also, regardless of who or what you have or don’t have in your life I hope you know that Jesus loves you and accepts you just as you are. If you want to receive his unconditional love, his forgiveness (there’s nothing too big or too bad that you’ve done), his grace, his peace and the free gift of eternal life then click here for more on that.
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
33 What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what he wants you to do. Then he will give you all these other things you need.
Who Am I by Casting Crowns
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