Do You Long for Perfection…a Heavenly life where everything is exactly as you desire it to be? A place where peace and happiness reside because your relationships, time, income, purpose, health and work are in perfect harmony? Me too! And I have come to learn I am involved in a battle that cannot be won. One that will defeat me every time. So I must surrender it, and radically accept the reality of the imperfect life. My inner battle for perfection is a longing that will never be satisfied this side of Heaven.
The war with perfection is daily. Not the kind of perfection that keeps my house spotless, my body without cellulite or my diet paleo perfect. Rather the kind of perfection that digs its feet into the ground and stands firmly planted yelling, “I want the perfectly situated life. I want everything in order…the balance of my life, my work, my family and my income to make me feel complete and fulfilled.” Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”…But I say:
“Insanity is trying to accomplish perfection over and over again because you will NEVER get the results you want.”
The yearning for the ideal life is so strong that I often feel like a failure. It is an impossible goal this side of Heaven. But, I try anyway….I rearrange this, change that, add this or remove that from my life…hoping and praying for heavenly order. But no amount of changing fulfills the longing and emptiness felt by never reaching “perfect”.
I have discovered that with each change whether adding or removing something from life…it is a trade-off. Good and bad. I don’t say this as a discouragement or an excuse not to make changes…it is just simply a fact. One that must be reconciled. I must remind myself of this often. Nothing is perfect…that is reserved for Heaven. Rather, the goal is to find a life with the trades-offs I can live with…the trade-offs I can make peace with.
It’s been 15 years since I first learned this concept of radical acceptance. I was recovering from an eating disorder and during our group time we learned about different “healthy” coping skills to deal with anxiety. My ears piped up when the counselor said, “Radical Acceptance”. It sounded rebellious to me, but as I began to learn about the concept it became a go-to skill for me.
Do you know what radical acceptance is?
In a nutshell, radical acceptance is accepting the painful, yet unchangeable things in life. Fighting the reality of what I don’t have control over only heightens my suffering. Rather, accepting what I cannot change, refusing to judge the situation, and learning to tolerate the present moment…even as imperfect as it is…that is radical acceptance.
Obtaining a state of perfection is impossible. Being able to accept that I am striving for something I cannot change…that is the battle. Instead, God desires that I, in this imperfect world with an imperfect life, find fulfillment and rest in Him alone. He wants me to accept the things that I cannot change. The Serenity Prayer is such a great reminder. (Download and print the prayer below!)
Heavenly perfection is reserved for Heaven. Earthly order is imperfect. There are trade-offs for life’s situations. Finding God in the midst of that is the goal…not perfection. Do you struggle with perfectionism? Are you constantly rearranging your life in pursuit of Heavenly perfection? What can you do today to stop the insanity and surrender to reality that perfection is reserved for Heaven.
Print the Serenity Prayer and make it your goal to radically accept the things you cannot change.