Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Pursuing Perfection

I grew up knowing that I was not yet good enough. I was a child who would one day grow into an adult. I was a young Christian, who would become a mature believer. The Spirit of God within me was perfecting me, but I was not perfect. And so each New Year provided opportunity to dream anew of that which could be improved – usually expressed in the form of New Year’s Resolutions.

This has impacted my life in many ways: many of them negatively:
• I never feel that I am good enough…. because the belief system tells me that that I can be better. Which leaves me with a deep seated drive to do enough to prove my worth. But I have discovered that I will never do enough to satisfy this longing – because I can be better!
• I cannot celebrate my life’s achievements…. Because they are temporary stopping places in the quest to improve. And so I avoid thinking of that which I have done, because these achievements are not yet good enough.

In the past few days I have been deeply challenged.
Challenged first by a good friend who read my last posting and disagreed with my desire to be a better husband. He insisted that this desire was crippling my capacity to recognise that I am already a good husband.
I also had a conversation with sports scientist, Prof Tim Noakes. I described my desire to improve my running, but my inability to get past injuries and general lethargy. His comment was that I need to learn to accept that my best running is behind me. I have exhausted my store of marathons, and that I need to plan to “get old injury free”.

So is my life perfect?
I guess this depends how ready I am to get beyond my formative puritan evangelical culture. Of course there is much I still need to learn and do. I believe that I have capacity to grow and mature and deepen in my life’s journey. But perhaps this has nothing to do with Christian Perfection. It is time to celebrate that which God has already done in my life. And in this celebration to come to an acceptance that I have lived a full life, with many adventures…a life that is perfectly appropriate for me.


Wessel Bentley said...

Isn't it strange how we dream of the future being better than the present? The hope of being in a better financial position, better state of relationships etc... When we get there, we look back and think "Wasn't that time in my life a wonderful time...I wish I could go back and experience it again?!"

You are joined in this often-frustrating gift called life by many others. So, Carpe Diem. Enjoy today! Something we all need to learn to do more.

Thanks for all your words of wisdom this past year. Your friendship is highly valued. Blessings to you and the family.

digitaldion (Dion Forster) said...

This is what is so wonderful about blogging, others can gain an insight into an area of one's life that is commonplace to you, but completely unknown to others.

I guess that for me it is always a fine line between being satisfied with who I am, and desiring and striving to be better. However, we have to acknowledge that in my case there is a LOT more growing to be done! ;-) In your case... not so much. You're pretty close to where I wish to be.

Blessings friend! Know that we pray for you and your family as you go through the emptying nest.