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Thursday, July 21, 2005 

Because Being Human is Part of the Problem

About a month ago, Kaycee’s post on Individuality brought on some very interesting comments about PERFECTION. The comment I made back then is very much how I saw myself writing this post for this topic:

“There’s more than one way to skin a cat, right?”

I truly believe that we were sent to this earth with the same goals (destination, if you will) in life but VERY different roads to travel by. Each of us, with our different personalities and strengths, were sent to this earth to be tested so that we could eventually (er…hopefully) grow into the beings we have the potential to become. Our goal of becoming like Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Parents would then, yes, be a goal of perfection but each of us has very different approaches to that very same goal.

“As someone who struggles with the whole ‘perfection’ thing (personally) I think that the beauty of an individual’s faith (and through the atonement of Christ) each of our differences makes us who we are.”

I am very hard on myself…I always have been. I am very much a perfectionist about certain areas of my life…and it is a struggle for me. The words “If I can’t do it right (perfect) than I’m not going to do it at all” crosses my mind often. I prevent myself from whatever learning God had intended for me because I didn’t even want to try the task…or I didn’t learn the lesson because I was too wrapped up in doing it PERFECTLY. If I had more faith in the plan for my life, perhaps I would rely more on Heavenly Father to help me see things in a different light.

“Every day, I take my little Franklin Planner and plan out my day the best that I can. Some days I get everything done...most days I don't. But every day I have a PLAN...A FOCUS, if you will. HF has a plan for all of us. He has set the example and given us tools to follow through with that plan knowing full well that we will not be perfect and that we will each have our own way of doing things.”

I think we were all created in such a way that we would compliment each other’s differences so that we might work together to achieve our GOAL of perfection. Heavenly Father designed The Plan so that we could have that all important FOCUS in our life and know what we need to do. He knows how human we all are. He knows that we will fail. He knows that we will not be perfect in this life…but that we should be working diligently to try and become so. I believe that the journey to perfection is much of the point of our life’s plan and that the Atonement is key to that journey.

I still keep my good ol’ Franklin Planner and I still plan each of my days in hopes that I really will complete everything on that task list knowing full well that I won’t always be able to. But at the end of each day, I look at what I accomplished and reflect on what I’ve been able to do. I also realize that I can only do what I can do…and the tasks that weren’t completed move to the next day. The GOAL is still there…I just have to keep working at it and not give up.

“Striving for perfection is not the same thing as BEING perfect.”

I am a perfectionist and I had an epiphany last winter that my perfectionism is sinful. It leads me to despair and criticism and judgement of others. I beat myself and others up over it. I don't think that's what God intended. I have to remind myself constantly of what Bruce R. McConkie said in a talk about the seven deadly heresies, and how we can't be perfect in this life.

I can't remember where on the blog I read it, but somebody said something like, "if I'm a perfect mother and there 100%, I am not perfect in my calling or as a wife." We are all so torn and try so hard, I personally wish I could relax. CS Lewis talks about trying in an easier, less worried way.

Good topic.

"I think we were all created in such a way that we would compliment each other’s differences so that we might work together to achieve our GOAL of perfection."

Jp-I think this is a great way to approach this whole issue. If we could learn to work together and share our strengths in a common cause I believe we would find ourselves much closer to where we want to be. Maybe this would also help us avert the jealousy, and despair sometimes involved in an individual quest for perfection.

I relate to the quote you paraphrased in a big way. It seems whenever I increase effort in one area of my life, another area suffers. I guess we just have to figure out what matters most and be okay with what energy is left for the rest.

“Striving for perfection is not the same thing as BEING perfect.”

Perhaps, but it may be as close as we get.

John C...I think that's the point. The striving for perfection is ALL that we may ever know of perfection in this life. Perhaps that is the point. But you also need to accept that you will not BE perfect...just working toward it.

I'm just playing devil's advocate here (ironic)...but it seems like everyone is so stressed out by the idea of perfection. "Striving for perfection is not the same as being perfect" is absolutely true. But I don't necessarily agree that becoming perfect in one area makes another area suffer. We will ALWAYS need the Atonement. I find it a stretch of the imagination to believe that I personally can become perfect in all things all at once, but I am fascinated that so many people are perfection-phobes...This has been a suprisingly interesting topic this week.

The only problem is that we seem to have a tendancy to focus so much on those things that Pres. Kimball identifies as easily perfectable (tithing, word of wisdom, etc.) that we use those as markers of how close we are to perfection much more than all the other thousand thousands of things that we have to work on. We can become so pleased at our success in these little perfections that we forget about the beam in our own eye. I am not saying that we shouldn't strive for perfection to whatever degree is possible, I'm just saying that we shouldn't let whatever success we enjoy go to our heads.

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This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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