Imperfection: Can you live with it?

Nothing in nature--or created by man--is absolutely perfect.

Are you hung up on imperfections? Do you go through life with a checklist--written or in your head--that causes you to be dissatisfied with everything?

Some of us, as Christian singles, have impossibly high standards. We hold onto expectations that cannot be met. This mindset can cause real problems, not only when we're looking for a mate, but also when we're evaluating our own behavior and character.

You don't have to be a perfectionist to expect perfection. Many less-than-perfect people expect those around them to be completely flawless. In this world, it's just not going to happen.

When only perfect will do

Many men and women have checklists of what they want in a spouse. Unfortunately, these requirements are so unrealistic that no one could possibly meet all of them. The result, of course, is that these people are single and frustrated because no one they date can fill the bill.

None of us, especially Christians, wants to enter into a marriage that ends in divorce, yet when we try to "divorce-proof" our choice in a potential spouse, we may set the bar so high that no one can reach it. We may be sabotaging our chances for happiness because we won't compromise on even the smallest imperfection.

Manufacturing our own unhappiness

But it's not just in the area of relationships that this happens. If you refuse to tolerate any kind of imperfection, you'll soon find out that you're disappointed by everything.

This is especially true in the workplace. The perfect job just doesn't exist. We can keep hopping from one employer to another, trying to find it, but the only sure thing we'll find is frustration.

Disappointments are inevitable, but do we really need to add more of them to our life by expecting too much? How about you? Does this sound like something you might be doing? If friends or relatives accuse you of being too picky, is it possible that there's some truth in what they say?

What's good enough, then?

Compromise is a red flag word for Christians. We need to hold true to our faith. We shouldn't give in on the things that have eternal consequences. So where do we draw the line in overlooking imperfections?

First, we need to look at ourselves. None of us is perfect and we're never going to be. We're all sinners and we're going to fall short. But God, in his grace, accepts us in our imperfection.

That doesn't mean we should compromise with sin or give up on trying to weed the faults out of our life. On the other hand, we shouldn't be continually beating ourselves up when we backslide or fail. God wants us to confess our sin to him, repent, accept his forgiveness, and move on.

Second, if we'll recognize that we can never be perfect, we'll see that expecting perfection from others--especially a prospective spouse--is unrealistic and unfair. We may be eliminating very good people simply because they fall short in a few inconsequential areas.

Third, we need to strike a balance. As long as a flaw or character fault does not violate Christian principles, we need to evaluate whether we can live with it or whether the potential exists to overcome it.

Ultimately, only God is perfect and we should expect perfection in no one or nothing else. When you and I keep that in mind, it helps us match our expectations closer to the real world, opening the way for more possibilities and the happiness we're seeking.

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