Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Paralyzing Perfection

{Photo published on web here}
Jesus tells us in the Gospel to “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48).

At first read, Jesus gives us an impossible task.  Perfection?  How can we be perfect when we are flawed and sinful beings?

We are told to remember that we cannot reach perfection in this life.  Yet, with those words of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus challenges each one of us to strive to be perfect anyway.

Does Jesus want us to be perfect?  In this life, no.  In the next life, yes!

During our life on earth, He wants us to try our best to be perfect and never to settle for mediocrity.  We will never be able to stop trying until we reach eternal life.

You will know the fruits of living out the Gospel message because your actions will always be productive.

The devil basically wants to destroy our relationship with God by stopping us from doing virtuous deeds.  The enemy’s sly strategy is to take “the good” and twist it into something evil.  So, it is sometimes confusing to distinguish our good intentions.

It is a good thing to try to obtain perfection in the light of the Gospel.  We must continue to try and work toward that goal no matter how many times we fail.  However, be on guard because the devil takes our intentions and warps it into a device for our own destruction.

The enemy will stop us from striving for perfection by paralyzing us with fear.  If we are too afraid of failing (perfectionism, at its core), then we will be too afraid to act, to afraid even to try reach the goal.

If you are paralyzed by fear, the enemy has got you right where he wants you.

The devil wants us to fail.  He does this by instilling fear.  Satan wants us to be afraid to act.  We do not fail because the goal of perfection is too lofty.  No.  We fail because we are too afraid and, therefore, give up.

I've thrown my hands in the air too many times to count.  I am a guilty perfectionista.

You don’t have to wait until you are perfect to start living your life.

I often thought that I couldn’t do anything until I was already perfect.

Not all, but most of my concerns were with my appearance.  I didn’t want to get married until I was the “right” dress size.  I couldn’t hang out with my friends until I was popular and fun to be around.  I couldn’t paint a picture until I was ready to paint a masterpiece.

I put my life on hold until I was perfect.

Unless I was perfect to my satisfaction, I didn't want to live my life.  If I couldn't do something, or some task, perfectly, I did not want to do it.

I was striving for perfection in the wrong way.  I desired perfection in order to live.  In reality, perfectionism was taking away my life and destroying my will to live.

There is a right way to try and obtain perfection.  You can tell if you are doing it in the name of the Lord by the fruits of your labor.  If you strive for perfection, by the Gospel message, your life will be productive.  The fruits of your actions will be positive and virtuous.  You will live your life free from all fear.

If you are trying to fulfill your perfectionism tendencies, you will be too afraid to act.  Eventually, you will stop living because of your intense fear of failure.

Do not put your life on hold until you have reached perfection.  It will never happen.  You will never be able to live a happy life if you wait until you are perfect to start living.  Live your life NOW as God has given it to you.  Only with that purpose can you strive for perfection as Jesus commands us to in the Gospel.


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