We have been talking about seeking perfection and how striving for perfection will ignite our shame. What are your images of perfection? What pictures or thoughts have been placed in your mind that define perfection for you?
I have wondered why at times I seek perfection and when I fall short in some way, anger easily wells up in me. Is my perfection rooted in pleasing others? Did it begin in my first relationships with parents, family and friends? As I do a little looking back, so that I can go forward, I find that there are some roots that lead me to relationships in my past, primarily with parents.
These roots run deep and if I don't seek healing, they will remain alive, feeding my shame and affecting relationships today. The most significant relationship for couples is our marriage.
This perfection striving carries over to the Christian life. I see so many Christians striving to be like Jesus. Jesus has become their "image of perfection". The truth is, He is the image of perfection, living a life among us free of sin (self-centeredness). Here is the problem with the thinking that we can become like Jesus. It isn't possible! Christians right now after reading that statement are saying, "Whoa, what are you talking about? This is the goal of the Christian life."
No, I don't think so. We can't become more like Jesus in our own strength. We can't work on our stuff to create His image in us. Oh you say, this isn't the "good news" I hear about in church. That news being that I can change now to become more like Jesus because he has forgiven me and now I'm heaven-bound.
Hmmm...sorry to say, there is something missing in that belief system. Here is the Good News...he came to free me (us) from my striving to be perfect. By placing your faith (trust) in Him, He lives in you now. All that is true about Him is true about you. You are holy, righteous (perfect in the Father's eyes), blameless, accepted and forgiven. He desires to live through you now.
This is huge for us in marriage. Wives don't have to work at molding and shaping their husbands to be more loving like Jesus. Husbands don't have to strive and stress about being perfect husbands or fathers; providing abundantly, putting on cuddly facade to appear more loving, etc., etc. etc.
Yes, Jesus is the image of perfection for humanity, but He has given us a gift that leads to freedom, not striving and bondage. It is a gift that will free us from our shame stories. Here are two key verbs for the next blogpost; receiving and abiding. The Marriage Mosaic will begin to come together as we step into receiving and abiding.
Andy Stanley has posted a series of 4 messages titled, Free, that explain clearly more about the gift. Take some time to listen to all 4 messages.
It is almost Thanksgiving Day and I’m seeing so many beautiful posts on Facebook referring to thankfulness. I just read Dan Rockwell’s post in his blog, Leadership Freak. I think his story is well worth reading and shares something from a heart that turned to gratefulness. I encourage you to check it out.
This holiday in encourages us to reflect, more than any other I think…and seek in our hearts a reason to be grateful. Dan goes deeper than a superficial exploration of gratefulness…he looks to relationships. His revelation is powerful, life changing and healing!
Striving for perfection is a sure way to ignite our shame. Somehow thinking this is attainable is a death trap mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Spiritually speaking this striving leads to disillusionment with God and distance in relationships with others.
The Superman emblem caught my attention is this graphic, as I always wanted to be like Superman. I'm talking the Superman of the 50's and 60's, not the new highly buffed, super-stud rendition of today. He presented a standard of perfection for me.
The reality, as Natalie Grant's song shares, is that there is no such person, no human standard of perfection. However, if I'm not willing to be vulnerable with others, I won't discover this truth and will continue to compare and strive to please others. I will give tons of attention to the voice of shame and be plagued by wrong beliefs and life choices. This will affect my relationships, the love of self, the ability to give and receive love, and live a life of freedom.
God offers me this life...his essence is love. There is so much confusion around this very truth. Let's talk about all the confusion and seek some clarity.
I was working out today and had the radio on when this song camp up on the FM station’s playlist. It is titled: Perfect People by Natalie Grant.
Hiddenness can result in our quest to be perfect. When we discover that this relating to people perfectly is impossible, our shame is ignited and we hide, put on a mask or withdraw. Brene Brown suggests vulnerability as the key to free us from hiddeness and perfection. She is on to something and I applaud her for her work and discoveries for all of us. I think though there is something in this song that may lead us to the antidote. Listen and see for yourself. More to come…
Vic and Monique
We are all about helping your marriage thrive.