Why is it that we, especially women, think that we need to be completely perfect? From our head to our toes, inside and out, we are constantly chasing that ever elusive perfection! This thought has been on my mind quite consistently over the past several months as I have thought back over my life and the many mistakes that I have made in search of “perfection”.
It seems I always come back to my illness, because it is part of who I am and has helped shape me into the work-in-progress that I am today. But I haven’t always felt that way. In fact it is a day to day struggle to accept that this is part of who I am. My personal struggle to let my light shine through the darkness, at times, becomes diminished because I let doubt and fear creep in. I let Satan convince me that I am not enough. But what I have learned over the years, is that I can, through His Grace, be perfected in Him! That no matter how hard I try, I can’t earn Christ’s love because it is freely and fully given to me. It is His great gift to all of us!
In the Book of Mormon, Moroni counsels us in 10:32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you…
What we are aiming for is to become accepting of His Grace by showing gratitude and showing love. Not only to others, but to ourselves. We are relentlessly harder on ourselves than anyone else. We tell ourselves constantly that we are not enough. We demean and discredit ourselves instead of lifting and building ourselves. We must stop it! We must learn to love ourselves. After all it is the second great commandment love thy neighbor as thyself… not, love thy neighbor and forget thyself. No! LOVE THYSELF! YOU ARE ENOUGH!
There is no shame in wanting to improve and become better. In fact, that is the purpose of this life right? We are trying for perfection, even though it is something that will not be attained in this life. It is “toxic perfectionism” that we are trying to avoid. What makes perfectionism so toxic is that while those in its grip desire success, they are most focused on avoiding failure. We must learn to embrace failure. Avoiding toxic perfectionism doesn’t mean that we quit or give up. No, we keep trying. Though the road may be long and hard and winding, we must press forward with steadfastness in Christ, knowing that He will make up the difference in the end.
One truth that I have come to understand is that Satan tries to convince us of all that we are not! Satan’s biggest lie is that we have to be perfect! And we have to do that all on our own. It is a tool that he is using, and quite successfully I might add. So many of us are convinced that we have to be perfect in every way and that if we fall short, if we fail, then there must be something that we are doing wrong, there must be something wrong with us. And so we just try to push harder, we wear ourselves and our souls out trying. We become over stressed and our light begins to dim.
Satan’s deception keeps us from perfection. It produces shame because we become so consumed with having to do everything right that when we fail (and we will), we feel ashamed and unworthy of Christ’s Grace. But failure is not a sign of imperfection, it is a sign of progression. If we aren’t failing then we aren’t trying. And the important part is to not give up, to get back up after we fail and try again. But in that process remember that you need Christ. You need His Grace! It is that process that creates and builds confidence and love for ourselves.
After all, it is Christ who said “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect” Matthew 5:48. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the twelve apostles said “Surely the Lord would never give us a commandment that he knew we could not keep.” “If we persevere, then somewhere in eternity our refinement will be finished and complete.”
The Savior convinces us of all that we are and all that we can be! He says come unto me and I will make you better than you can be on your own! Because He loves us, because we are His. What He wants us to know is that we are enough. That through Him we can overcome the obstacles, we can move forward and build ourselves up. Turn on your light! And let it shine bright! You ARE enough!
We don’t have to be perfect, in fact we will never be perfect in this lifetime. So give yourself a break from chasing that “toxic perfectionism”. Keep trying, keep pushing, keep moving forward but realize that His Grace is sufficient. YOU ARE ENOUGH!