From the time I was a child, I was always the type of person who wanted to be perfect. I hoped to excel academically and be a student at the top of my class. I practiced the piano over and over again because I wanted to attain first place at the music contest. My goal was to win awards and be seen as an achiever.
Unfortunately, I (obviously) wasn’t perfect. I failed or fell flat on my face a number of times. And I continue to have moments when I get frustrated knowing that I still haven’t figured out how to be flawless.
Even as I think about hosting my first Thanksgiving, I am concerned about the quality of the food I will cook and the way my home looks. Instead of the excitement of spending time with family and friends, I am plagued by the possibility that my guests will think I am a terrible host.
I suppose I’m not the only one who feels this way!
As you read this immediately before or after Thanksgiving, you may relate to these concerns too and find this to be a stressful time of year. As we approach Christmas, our desire to uphold the standards we see in magazines and Pinterest consumes us. We are focused on having the perfect holiday parties, dinners, decorated homes, family photos, gifts, etc. And I imagine that as we set our focus in this direction, we are stressing out.
Ultimately, I believe that God does a better job at understanding human imperfections. God’s grace is steadfast. This Divine grace is more consistent than the grace we give ourselves.
Perfection by society’s standards is not necessarily being faithful to God. God just needs us to give the best we can, work hard, learn from our mistakes, and be fully present in these sacred moments with the people we love. The drive to attain perfection divides and distracts us from becoming present in mind and soul. We dwell on the past and fret about the future instead of becoming invested in this moment. Focusing on the present moment allows us to see God more clearly and have a greater appreciation for our neighbors.
May we set aside any perfectionist tendencies and focus on this very moment, discovering how God is appearing to us.
Have a blessed Christmas, New Year’s, and entire holiday season!