The Spirituality of Imperfection

There is something about the concept of imperfection that calms me down. It breeds acceptance, allowing, and relaxation.  Perfectionism is a choke-hold. And perfection seems to be something we all define subjectively, in our own way: whether it's expectations placed on us from without or expectations we want ourselves and others to meet.   Letting all of that loosen up a bit can release a great deal of tension.  The concept, of course, goes hand in hand with Christian principles and the scriptural instruction of relying on God.    The first "fall" from perfection is recorded in Genesis, but we nevertheless seem to recreate our own human standards of what perfection or a perfect life should look like. The result is always the same: it's not good enough;  it could be better.  We never quite measure up to our own standards, no matter what that standard is.    So why not admit and concede to our innermost selves this existential, inherent imperfection (sin), and thus take the pressure off?  Then, we are free to ask God to do it for us, having failed ourselves.  On many levels, this is the softer, easier way.

The humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers once noted that the great paradox of growth is that once we fully accept who we are with all of our faults, then we can change.   Maybe this is true because inner growth is not something that can be leveraged in a tense, panicked state.  Before we grow, we must be okay with the fact that we have not grown completely, that we still have more work to do.   Healing needs safety and allowance, and a big part of that is accepting imperfection.  This includes accepting not only our own imperfections and the imperfections of others, but surrounding ourselves with people who accept us as the imperfect humans we are.  It's easier said than done, because obviously, imperfect people are not going to accept other imperfect people with perfect acceptance.  And yet just realizing and accepting  all these limitations placed upon our predicament  can open up room for God and His Perfect Grace.   And it's through Grace that the deepest healing can happen.