Designers are often perfectionists! They follow rigid concepts of design that include layout rules, relevant fonts, and colour continuity developed in complex digital platforms. Plotting out the reality of a vision meant to inspire, inform, motivate, and engage an audience can be an elating or frustrating experience.
When all the necessary elements seamlessly fall into place without any hiccups the process to completion renders celebratory high-fives from teammates and audiences alike. But when each step forward meets a new roadblock then irritation rears itself with angry shouts directed toward whatever didn’t deliver exactly what the designer expected, ruining the outcome.
This is what a ‘love of perfection’ can look like. It can leave us feeling like we are failing and leads to criticizing ourselves when we don’t measure up. Unrealistic expectations can turn inward attacking our own transforming spiritual growth, stunting our relationships.
The love of perfection is an ‘old life’ cycle that Jesus wants to interrupt with loving truth. An interruption to deepen our faith, spur on spiritual growth, and paint a picture of the loving character of God, the ultimate creator!
In the famous biblical passage about love one verse leaps right off the page into the heart of a perfectionist: ‘Love is not easily irritated and keeps no record of being wronged.’ (1 Cor 13:5). This seed of truth digs deep looking for some fertile soil to take root, germinate, and begin to grow as a tiny sprout. This passage is describing God’s character meant to help us see the difference between him and us, and the transforming trajectory of our spiritual growth.
Self-sufficiency takes aim at this trajectory and tries with all it’s limited human might to try to develop our character to be more like God’s in an ironic twist of perfect expectations. See how that works! All that trying and failing in our own strength just ends up choking our spiritual growth. It’s a weed, a horrible cyclical weed meant to leave us without any hope of freedom, leaving us enslaved to the defeated powers of the ways of our ‘old life’ and reminding us how much we don’t measure up.
Whereas the faithfulness of Jesus the Messiah defeated the powers of our ‘old life’ in his death, and rooted us in new life in his resurrection (Grace). A cross-shaped symbol of God’s love, and character. The truth is that our faith in Jesus and His faithfulness (loyalty) to God provides the power to begin spiritually growing in a Christlike trajectory by being indwelled with the Holy Spirit.
When we stop trying to develop spiritual character in our own strength then the choking weed will begin to release. When we faithfully rest in God’s power that brings new life, born of his spirit, our hope is renewed because we trust his truth that we are growing through him, and the lie telling us ‘we can never’ beings to die. We will gradually see our love for others outgrow our love for perfection.
The point of faith is that He can and He is the object of our faith. He is the one we should love before anyone or anything else. Our focus is on Him! Not us, or our inabilities, or weaknesses, or past failures.
Creator God designed the most intricately complex organisms of interconnected parts – life itself, that we still have not been able to fully comprehend. And his character does not get irritated by any obstacle to his divine vision/plan. Only God can take a roman death machine and turn it into the symbol that inspires, informs, motivates, and engages all humanity about His powerful love for us, and the launchpad of a new spiritual life in the Kingdom of God, the beginning of new creation. He stays faithful to who he is: The God of Love! And Love isn’t just who he is, it’s what He does!
So let’s read this scripture through the eyes of faith, seeing the very character of God, knowing He is with us by His Spirit causing our spiritual growth: Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Cor 13:4-7)