Mad at Perfect

By Cindy Koch

I’m guilty of it lately. A quick snapshot of the crusty dishes from last night, towering dangerously in the sink. An angry post about the reign of laundry that seeks to conquer the entire house. Tears caught on camera—my children’s or my own—when nothing has happened as it should. This is real. This is life. This is not perfect.

Honestly, I’m a little mad at you, perfect. Beautiful front porches on Pinterest look down in shame at the peeling paint and weeds that grace my entry. Sun-kissed girls sipping a relaxing drink somewhere in a Facebook paradise pity my choice in exercise pants today as I slam my fourth cup of coffee to keep up with the kids. Delicious plates of exotic vegetables and locally raised grass-fed beef on Instagram turn up their noses at my hasty bowl of two-ingredient tuna salad, again, for the third time this week.

So, perfect, I don’t really like you right now. Perfect is too much. Perfect feels fake. Folded cloth napkins that resemble bunnies and labor-intensive tarts pictured in a magazine is not my cup of Kombucha today. Perhaps I am a rebellious daughter of the preceding Martha Stewart role models and I am ready to run in the other direction. But, perfect, you always kind of annoyed me. Just ask my consistently flat chocolate chip cookies (with gluten, gasp). They always reminded me life is NOT perfect.

We are in a revolt against perfect. We say it’s not real. We believe it’s not attainable. It’s not even to be desired anymore. Mediocre for everyone! Dirty dishes and no makeup for all! We are free from perfect truth, goodness, or beauty! Come as you are—just as long as you are not perfect.

But maybe the problem isn’t you, perfect. Would it be terrible if I made incredible dinners and I raised obedient children? You are the happiness I desire. You are the relationship I want. You are the order and righteousness I crave. You are the beauty I wish I had. Perfect, I’m beginning to see the real problem here, and it’s not you. The problem is with me.

I am not perfect. No matter how hard I try, I always fall short at something. Even my best efforts are prone to fail. I want to do better, but I don’t even know where to start. I am too busy and too tired, I am too selfish and too lazy. So really, perfect, this is my problem. I am not you. Even though I want to be you, I can’t ever seem to be perfect.

I am sorry, perfect, for my shallow efforts to taint your reputation. I use my pictures and posts to make it seem like “perfect” is the problem. I use the surface of my imperfection to laugh at you: how silly perfect is when I must pick up the living room, how impractical perfect is when my chocolate cake is crooked, how unrealistic perfect is when there is so much laundry to do. I craft the perception of my own imperfection so that it doesn’t really condemn me. I don’t really tell anyone about the depths of my dirty, imperfect thoughts, my evil imperfect intentions, or my self-centered imperfect love. I am ashamed, perfect, that I am not you.

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:8,10)

This is our answer. Even in the middle of our deepest imperfection, Christ died to make us perfect. We don’t have to pretend that perfect is bad. We don’t have to look for ways to avoid her. We don’t have to take cheap shots at solving the problem of perfection for ourselves. A great and complete Perfection died so that he could save your imperfect life.

But where are you, perfect? Even if I believe this is true—Christ saved my life and made me perfect—why can’t I see you right now? Do I have to make it happen? Do I have to wait for you to find me? How do I harness the power of perfect? It makes me angry all over again, perfect. Somehow, I am still not you.

And yet, God speaks about something we do not yet see. Today, you are perfect. Today, your walk is blameless. Today, your path is straight. Crucified with Christ and raised in him, today, your life is perfect forever. It’s not because you figured out how to live what is perfect. It’s not because you finally cleaned up your imperfections. It’s not because you have feebly revolted against what is perfect. Christ has freely gifted His perfection to you for an eternity.

Don’t be mad at perfect because you don’t look like her today. Just hear the Word of Perfect given to you: Because of Christ, you are.