Sometimes it seems strange that we should only get one heart, that we have no choice but to rely on it so heavily, and for so long—that for the most part it keeps time and rhythm, putting up with our poor choices and our first loves. Ella Frances Sanders
And then, God throws at me this idea of perfection, which, by the way, I have discovered is different than being a perfectionist. As my son said, “You know, Mom, Dad has to have things just so.”
But as gray hair and old joints and a few failures carved into my soul a perspective beyond today, I understand being perfected is a bit like living an answer to a prayer—a little less of what I demand of myself and more of what God intends me to be.
What is this perfection if not perfectionism? What is righteousness if not self-righteousness? What is right if having things “just so” is plain wrong?
Strange, not yet a lifetime of, but a life lived with shouldn’t, couldn’t and didn’t, worst fears feared into reality or not, much ado’s about nothings, small justifications, holding on that demanded letting go, taught me my idea of perfect was different than God’s. Every poor choice “put up with” revealing my imperfection simply meant another dead idea about supposed-to-be. I was coming home and didn’t know it.
Not so confined anymore by perfectionism, though I practice it still, I began to forgive more, let go more, not-so-much-overlook-the-wrong-but-pause-and-consider-the-other-shoe-worn more, my heart began to beat in rhythm again, a rhythm not my own. Moses I will never be. But I’m not leaving Egypt, I’m leaving me, at least the shouldn’t-couldn’t-didn’t me.
What’s different if perfectionism remains? Neither resist nor give in do I but turn to the Lord I try. It’s a start. Loose ends remain—until death I’m sure. But the loose ends need not be subjected to my perfectionism, only given to God for HIs making—making them in HIs image.
Soren Kierkegaard wrote, “For only the pure in heart can see God, and therefore, draw nigh to Him; and only by God’s drawing nigh to them can they maintain this purity. And he who in truth wills only one thing can will only the Good, and he who only wills one thing when he wills the Good can only will the Good in truth.”
Ella Frances Sanders writes, “It will likely not come as a surprise to you that you can, to some extent, break your heart. Deep emotional pain and distress cause the release of the hormone cortisol, which can damage a heart, and brain imaging has shown that the same neurological pathways are lit up by your heart breaking and by the pain you feel when holding on with bare hands to a much-too-hot cup of something. Please use caution.”
Turns out all those perfectionisms were much ado about nothing. But the one heart—that was much ado about something.
To will one thing, I have one heart—careful, perfection in progress.