For most of my life, okay maybe for literally ALL of my life, I’ve strived to be perfect.
“Make sure to have perfect hair and makeup before you leave the house. You don’t want others to think poorly of you, do you? Don’t forget to say the perfect thing to someone who needs you because they are counting on you, Breauna. Always remember that in order for someone to keep loving you and stick around, you need to be their idea of perfection.”
This may sound a bit over the top or dramatic, but truly these are the types of things I began to believe throughout my life as I strived to be my idea of perfect. As you can imagine, overtime I began to become exhausted. How could someone always look perfect, always say the perfect thing, and always be someone else’s idea of perfection without utterly going insane? The answer is you can’t and please don’t try to, take it from me!
I think part of my struggle with depression and anxiety stems from my unrealistic view of how to uphold myself. The standards I have set for myself throughout my life have been incredibly difficult to reach and each time I failed to reach that pedestal, I would verbally abuse myself. “You aren’t good enough, Brea. You never will be. You won’t be successful in this life if you don’t figure this out. Can Christ even love you with how miserably you keep failing?” This dialogue would become an almost everyday norm for me and NO WONDER I COULDN’T GET OUT OF BED! If someone else were to push you like that, to demean you that way, you would do the right thing and separate yourself from their influence. It’s just not healthy. But we can’t escape ourselves. How do we cope? How do we deal with this?
Frequently, I would cry myself to sleep with how frustrated and defeated I felt. How was I ever going to live up to what the Lord had in store for me if I continued to fail this way? I felt like such a loser and certainly not worthy of the Lord’s comfort and love. I remember I began to struggle with personal prayer. Why would the Lord want to hear from me and what would I even say to Him? I began to tell myself that He didn’t want to hear from me unless I was praising Him and that my problems were minuscule and that He did not have time for them. SAD. SOOOO SAD!
Let’s call this what it is, shall we? This is Satan. He is the father of all lies, the master deceiver and a bully. He does not just work in one simple way. He is cunning and will use our weaknesses against us. Satan will continually tell us that we need to meet some sort of expectation in order to be worthy, accepted, loved, or useful. Then, when we fail to meet those standards (because we are HUMAN), he kicks us when we are down and makes us feel like we are nothing. He was the one telling me those horrible things and for a long time, I thought it was just me being hard on myself. NAH girl.
The thing about Satan that I have learned is that he takes half truths and tries to convince us that we see the whole picture. For instance, I truly am not perfect, no one is in this life except Christ, but that doesn’t mean that Jesus Christ doesn’t love me. See what Satan does there? On another note, Satan just flat out lies to us which is such a jerk move. Listen, Heavenly Father ALWAYS wants to hear from His children, even if they are having a horrible day, week, or month. WE ARE HIS CHILDREN. Heavenly Father loves us so much. Don’t let Satan tell you otherwise.
One evening while I was studying the scriptures at home, I got sidetracked (shocker) and decided to look up the word “perfection” in the dictionary. My Google search came up with this, the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects. Now when I think of perfection, I think of this same definition: to be free from all defects. WOW THAT IS A LOT OF PRESSURE. How does Christ expect us to be “perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48) in this life? That’s the difference right there, IN THIS LIFE Christ DOES NOT expect us to be perfect and there is a very real difference between the world’s definition of perfection and the Lord’s.
So, I continued my quest for answers. I stumbled upon a talk given by President Russell M. Nelson entitled Perfection Pending. As I read a passage from this talk, I felt my mind become lighter. My heart began to soften and I was finally able to understand what perfection means to our Heavenly Father. The passage read, “In Matt. 5:48, the term perfect was translated from the Greek teleios, which means “complete.” Teleios is an adjective derived from the noun telos, which means “end.”The infinitive form of the verb is teleiono, which means “to reach a distant end, to be fully developed, to consummate, or to finish.” Please note that the word does not imply “freedom from error”; it implies “achieving a distant objective.” In fact, when writers of the Greek New Testament wished to describe perfection of behavior—precision or excellence of human effort—they did not employ a form of teleios; instead, they chose different words.”
What a beautiful insight to that word. As I read it, I finally began to understand that there is a distinct difference from the world’s view of perfection and God’s view. He does not expect us to be perfect in every situation of every moment of our lives. He does not demand that we perfectly meet all of the required standards every second of every day. He does not expect us to be “free from all defects” NOW. He knows that we will fail and He knew we would fail when He sent us to this earth. That is why Jesus Christ is our Savior, Mediator, our Advocate with the Father. He bridges the gap we so desperately try to build ourselves. All that the Lord asks of us is to give Him our heart and a willing mind. He just asks us to TRY. And let me tell you something sister, I KNOW YOU ARE TRYING. I know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ know and see that you are trying. They see your efforts and are pleased with them.
No one except Jesus Christ was or ever will be perfect in this life. But how beautiful and wonderful it is that we have a Savior who paid the price we could never afford. He is the answer to your questions. He is the difference between where you are now and where you long to be. Turn to Him and seek to become more like Him. I promise He is there and He is eagerly waiting to help you. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to become perfect NOW but instead continue to TRY and to work toward your goals. The Lord will help you every step of the way.