You don’t have to be perfect to be enlightened


“I often see people get tripped up over their concepts of “perfection” and “imperfection.” We impose these concepts on our lives in so many absurd ways:

1. I am not perfect. Therefore, I am a sinner and fall short in God’s eyes.
2. Jesus was perfect and I’m not, and this means I am not really anything like Jesus and could never be.
3. If I was more enlightened, my imperfections would dissolve.
4. My imperfections are a constant reminder that any way you slice it, I am not truly okay and never will be.
5. I’m supposed to be perfect.

6. Imperfections are indicators that something is wrong with me.
7. My lack of perfection… my imperfections… always puts a little distance between myself and God because God doesn’t like and can’t accept this about me.
8. God can’t look upon me as I am because of my imperfections and so God instead chooses to see Jesus as me because Jesus was perfect, and this fixes it well enough for God to accept Jesus as a substitute for accepting me.
9. My imperfections are a problem to fix, overcome and change.
10. I hate myself for my imperfections.

You do realize that these concepts of “perfection” and “imperfection” are things you and I have made up in our own head, and we have turned them into some kind of objective reality. We created the ideas and meanings and applications, and have imprisoned ourselves by them.

Consider this. To be in harmony with God and the wholeness of all things is to not have anxiety over imperfections. To be truly awake is to be beyond the concepts of “perfection” and “imperfection.” These ideas only relate to your ego and false self, which is why Jesus gave so little attention to them. Who you really are is complete, whole and free just as God created you. You were born out of the likeness, image and being of God and in that reality the concepts of “perfection” and “imperfection” have no relevance.

What is imperfection? Point to it. What’s the standard? Where did it come from? Show me. Where is it? A toddler falls, trying to walk. Is that an imperfection? Your human journey is about awakening to what’s real and true. With every realization, there is also the process of cultivation. This was also true of Jesus (Luke 2:52).

Being human is process.

You are sabotaging the process with your ideas of “perfection” and “imperfection.”

So right now, let these concepts ago. They don’t apply in the ways you have been making them. Being awake is not the absence of “imperfections,” it is silencing your anxiety over “imperfections.”

Can you feel the freedom in that? Stop clinging to your ideas and meanings and applications of the concepts of “perfection” and “imperfection.” If you need something to cling to, cling to the truth of being the whole, complete and free person God created you as.”

– Jim Palmer, Notes From (over) The Edge: Unmasking the Truth to End Your Suffering

Latest Comments

  1. David Sanford says:

    Growing up I was a perfectionist. What a disaster. Thankfully, in college I began my recovery. To this day I often remind myself that perfection isn’t a perfect way to live. Thanks for reaffirming that counterintuitive yet essential truth…

  2. leah77 says:

    Once again your post is on exactly what I’ve been pondering. I love how this happens. Jim, you really are a cool drink of water.

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