The Pursuit of Perfection

The Pursuit of Perfection

Today’s guest blogger is Nick Luken, a second-year student at The Ohio State University, majoring in English and minoring in professional writing. Nick graduated from Roger Bacon, a Franciscan high school in Cincinnati, in 2012.

Well, here we are: Holy Week!  Our 40-day Lenten journey is nearly at an end. For me that means that now is a time for some self-reflection. We know that Lent is meant to be a time for growth, a time for us to make sacrifices so we can concentrate on our relationships with God. At the end of this season, I find myself wondering. How much have I grown? Did I really let God “change my heart this time?” And I’m sure a lot of people are asking themselves the same things.

I’ve had mixed feelings about how this Lent has gone for me.  I decided to make one of my most challenging Lenten commitments yet this year: giving up video games. Like many college students, I spend a lot of time playing video games, often while I know I ought to be working on something more productive. I figured giving up video games would be a good way to start focusing on more important things like prayer and school.  But even though I’ve played video games much less than I would have otherwise, I’ve been far from perfect in keeping my commitment. About four or five times this past month or so, I’ve broken down and played video games despite my Lenten sacrifice.

As you can probably guess, it really bothers me that I didn’t quite meet my commitments. Partly, it’s because I’m just a perfectionist by nature. But even more, it’s because of this verse from the Gospel of Matthew:

“So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” -MT 5:48

This verse has always been both an inspiration and a burden for me.  Like all of us, I always want to strive for perfection, but I’m haunted by the fact that, as a human being, I am naturally imperfect.  God calls us to perfection, but we know we can’t get there because we’re human.

 So, what do we do?

I’m not sure I’ve got a good answer, but the only one I can offer is that we just keep trying.  We know that we can’t be perfect, but we need to remember that we ought to strive for perfection anyway.  We need to trust that as long as we give our very best, God will take care of the rest, and will be the one to make us perfect.

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