Perfectionism is a state of consciousness that is not Godly. That is, it is not God-ordained. Yes, God is perfect, however we are not expected to be, nor can we be, in our human forms. Our human forms are designed to be vehicles of growth. Growth is an indication that something is immature or incomplete in knowledge or experience. Perfection is an indication that something is done and complete in its expression. A perfect cheesecake, for example, would be made of all the right ingredients and it would be baked at the exact correct temperature for the exact correct time. It would also be assembled in the exact correct way. But what does this mean in a world where some like cheesecake to be moist and some like it more dry, some like their cheesecake to have a crumbly cookie crust and others like a pastry crust, some like cheesecake that is flavored with chocolate and others like lemon or almond, some like cheesecake served topped with whipped cream, and some like strawberries or cherries. What is the perfect cheesecake?
We can see that there is no one perfect cheesecake, just as there is no one perfect expression of God. What about the cheesecake that is over- or under-baked, we may wonder. Or the cheesecake that is baked by mistake without one of the necessary ingredients, such as eggs? This cheesecake would be a “failure” in anyone’s eyes, wouldn’t it? We may not be perfect in the sense of being the ultimate and only expression of God, but who wants to be a failure? In other words, who wants to be one who makes the mistake that causes their experience to be less than a successful turnout, such as a delicious, well turned out cheesecake? Who wants to be the one who bakes a dud?
Let’s look at what happens when we “bake a dud”. In this experience, there is something greater going on than just producing a cheesecake – there is who we are. In other words, we are greater than what we produce, and our experience is grander than the simplicity of baking a cake. What if we put Jesus in our place, and imagine Jesus baking a cake that failed? You might likely say that Jesus would never bake a dud of a cake. But why? Why would Jesus not fail at baking a cake? Perhaps it is because Jesus did everything with love, and he did everything as an expression of his oneness with God. This could make us feel discouraged, that we can never be as “good” as Jesus. But Jesus did not come to teach perfection in the human sense; Jesus came to teach alignment with the perfection of God. This perfection exists within all children of God. It is different from the perfection of the world, which does not actually exist, but which we are tricked into striving for, like striving for the perfect cheesecake.
The world exists to give us a way back to God. Just as our human form is a vehicle for our spirit, so is the world. A vehicle takes us on a journey, and when we get to where we are going, we get out of the vehicle and leave it behind. Jesus left the world behind when he ascended to God. We are all meant to ascend to God. Where does that leave us in our mistakes? Mistakes are wrong turns, pot holes, misleading signs, even car crashes along the way. Jesus came to show us the safe route home. Although there will be bumpy roads, hills, and winding roads along the way, he showed us the way out, the way around, the way past. If we have a car crash or a mechanical failure along the way, it is an indication that there is something for us to look at. In other words, it is part of the way, although not the way of Jesus. If we take a wrong turn and drive off the road or if we get stuck in a pot hole, we can look to Jesus’ example to help us get back on the road or out of the pot hole. In the grand scheme of things, the pot hole or the wrong turn are not very important. As soon as we realize, from Jesus’ teachings and example, why we took the wrong turn or why we drove into the pot hole instead of going around it, then we can be back on the way, leaving our mistake behind us. Yet, the reason for our wrong turn was within us and important for us to see. We can even say that the “mistake” was necessary, like the symptom of an illness, to show us the wrong belief that existed within us like a virus that could keep us from our destination forever, if we did not see it and get rid of it.
So often we turn away from our mistakes in shame and dismay. We don’t want to see what we have done – our “cheesecake duds”, as if we are bad for having created in this way, instead of looking at what we learned about ourselves from the experience, and feeling joyous and grateful for that. If we needed to have the experience in order to see something, why look on it in a negative light, or turn away from it in shame? We can be grateful for the experience, not because it was a mistake or a seeming failure, but because it was an opportunity. In this way, we won’t view it in a negative light, which causes us to view ourselves in a negative light. We are not stupid or inadequate for having these sorts of experiences, we are loved. They are given as a way of helping us reunite with God.
[con’t in part 2]