Mistakes are not things that anyone really likes to make – especially if you’re a perfectionist. But just because you’ve messed up doesn’t mean you can’t learn from it and try again the right way this time. As a reforming perfectionist I often struggle with being imperfect, but I have noticed that I often learn more from messing up than I do when something goes perfectly smoothly. Not that I don’t learn from success, but sometimes messing up a few times helps make you more secure and stable when you finally figure out how to do something right. On top of that, mistakes can also help you plan ahead to keep certain mess-ups from happening.
But I still sometimes get upset with myself when I can’t do something right or perfectly, even though I know it’s an unrealistic expectation to have of myself. It’s in times like this that God reminds me that He is the only one who is truly perfect. Only God can do everything right every time and all the time. I am a finite, very limited human with an ingrained penchant to mess up by my very nature. But God knows that, and He doesn’t expect perfection from me. He expects me to give Him my best, whatever it may be, but God doesn’t expect from me what I can’t give Him.
Which means that for me to expect something that God doesn’t expect makes me wrong. On top of that, my expectations of perfection are nothing compared to how perfect God is. If I think I have lofty standards for myself, I’m not focusing on God like I should.
Now I should also mention that God does have a standard of perfection to which we fall very short (Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:10-12, 23), but He knows better than to expect us to meet it in the first place, so He gave us Jesus to meet the standard for us (Isaiah 53:4-5; John 3:16-17).
God does not make us completely perfect upon saving us from our sins, but Jesus reaches the perfection that we do not. God gives us access to His perfection, accomplishing in us what we cannot accomplish ourselves.