In his recent Address the Mess sermon series, Atlanta megapastor Andy Stanley pointed out that when we say the above phrase – and we all say it from time to time – we’re acknowledging that ‘There is a perfect that no one is,’ – that perfection exists, as a concept at least. He goes on to say that this ipso-facto admission puts us just baby steps away from connecting with the reality that there is a God who loves us and can help us access that perfection.
It’s a great series, so I both recommend and commend it to you. Here’s a link to Part 1.
Listening to that series lately has gotten me thinking a lot about the word perfect.
Like many of us, I long for a perfect life – and if you have a few hours, I’d be happy to outline in detail what a perfect life would look like for me.
The Coles Notes version is that I’d have all of my own wants and needs met, and out of that abundance would flow a great deal more altruism and service toward other people. Not exactly the ‘My power is made perfect in weakness’ vision of perfection that 2 Corinthians 12:9 describes; or the ‘extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity’ kind of living that Paul talked about in 2 Corinthians 8:2.
But we’re talking about a daydream here, not an actual plan for life – and I think an occasional self-centred daydream is probably not unhealthy.
In fact, when I daydreamed in detail about this completely unrealistic and not terribly flattering ideal version of my life not too long ago, I came to an important epiphany (Are there any other kind?). Here it is:
My ideal life is actually not that different from my real life.
Same family, same city, same house, same church, same ministries, same car and even same guitars (just more of them).
And there are moments in my life that would not change one iota, if my life were perfect.
If I were a millionaire who didn’t have to work for a living and my wife and kids were all perfectly healthy…
- I’d still want to be a worship leader at Holy Trinity Anglican Church, and I’d still want to be involved in the Calgary Anglican Cursillo Movement.
I’d still want to walk my dogs.
- I’d still want to watch a superhero movie and eat way too much popcorn with my wife and kids most Friday nights.
- I’d still want to take my wife out for wings and beer a couple times a month. (Yes, my wife likes to go out for wings and beer and watch superhero movies. My life sounds more perfecter than yours already, doesn’t it? ;))
While this thought was taking hold in my psyche, I was reminded of the reality that the only time we really have is right now. We don’t have the past anymore, and we don’t have the future yet. All we have is now.
I think maybe it does.
Are you any better than I am at living as though that were true?
Even if your actual life is light years away from your daydream of a perfect life, there are moments in your life that are perfect.
It might only be the second your head hits the pillow at night, or the feel of a hot shower on your skin in the morning, or that first sip of coffee.
The sound of a laughing toddler in the grocery store.
The smell of the blossoms on a nearby tree.
The beauty of a sunset.
I’m convinced that if you look for these perfect moments, you’ll find them.
What if we acknowledged that fleeting perfection in those brief moments with a prayer along these lines:
God, thank you for sharing a bit of Your perfection with me in this moment!
Would seeing, acknowledging and thanking God for the intermittent bits of perfection in our lives help us live the imperfect moments with a little more perspective and a little more grace? Is it possible that there’s more perfection to be experienced in the lives we’re already leading than we can ask or imagine, and all we have to do to find it is to start looking for it?
Are you willing to find out?
Peace be with you.