I Care, But I Don't Compare...
The idea of perfection overwhelms A LOT of people. Many people reject the idea that perfection is even attainable, and therefore cease to strive for it altogether.
Justification for not striving for perfection might run along the lines of “it is wholly unattainable in this life”, “I am not perfect today, therefore I never will be”, or “where do I even begin?”
Let me ask you…did anything wholly satisfying and worthwhile ever come easily (besides winning the lottery…)? What are you most proud of? Was it handed to you on a platter? What excruciating experience made you stronger and wiser? Was is a pleasant one?
In our world of ease and convenience, we have lost sight of the struggle. In the 60’s and 70’s, a lot of people were striving for the enlightened state, and making an effort at it. People traveled thousands of miles, denied themselves food and water, walked many miles, and gave up lives of convenience to seek something higher. Sure they were called hippies, crackpots, and Beatles, but can you see the effort put into it?...the sacrafices and effort put into gaining something more?
I think it helps us feel better to focus on the fact that nobody’s perfect. It slightly relieves us in our efforts to look around and say, “Phew, THEY are CERTAINLY not perfect, so I’m OK.”
This isn’t a competition. Heavenly Father isn’t going to compare me to my neighbor to determine my eligibility for heaven. He won’t say, “Well, for a white woman who lived in Provo for XX years, she did OK considering her demographics, age of death, etc…”
Perfection is not relative. However, perfection IS somewhat vague. If you want the hardcore on perfection read what Bruce R. McConkie has to say about it in “Mormon Doctrine” (pgs 567-568). If you want a more digestible version, read Spencer W. Kimball’s take in “The Miracle of Forgiveness” (pgs 208-210).
I love that President Kimball puts it this way:
“Perfection really comes through overcoming. The Lord Revealed through John: ‘To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.’ (Rev. 3:21)”
So ask yourself: What do I (personally, not relatively) need to overcome to be perfect?
Maybe word it this way: What do I need to “give up”? What is stopping me, or to be evangelical, "damning" my progression. What will keep me from the prize that is rightfully mine? What small (or large thing) will be the “duh” moment at the Judgment? What little more could I have done?
I care about all y’all, but I’m not comparing myself to you. I can’t worry about your sins making my sins look “not so bad after all.” You gotta take care of your own stuff. Knowing that you’re not perfect does not help me one bit. Knowing that I’m not perfect and that there’s something I can do about it keeps me going.
Does worrying about being perfect keep me up at night? Occasionally. Is the occasional sleepless night good for my salvation? Probably. Where we meant to worry about this subject a little? Heavens, yes!
I just tell myself to suck it up…if I accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ I accept the idea of striving for perfection….IN THIS LIFE. However, honestly, you will worry a TON about it unnecessarily if you don’t seek out the meaning of perfection in this life. So do some homework…it made me feel TONS better… Seriously, go read what President Kimball said about it…