For a lunch and learn at my church, I’m facilitating a series of some of the words we use in our faith. The inspiration came from Amazing Grace, a book by Kathleen Norris. One of the words we discussed was perfection.
When you read Matthew 5:48: Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect, you may dismiss it as an impossible mandate. But in a devotional by Laurence Stookey, he points out that we should think about perfection as capacity. A pint jar can be as perfectly full as a gallon jar, though each holds a different quantity. So then, what Jesus may be challenging us to do is to live up to our capacity.
To live up to our capacity, we have to be aware of our capacity. Many of us are trying to live a life that we are not equipped to live. We have a certain image that we want to project, and we fail to do the introspective work needed to know for what we are gifted or not gifted. Thus, we fail to live fully because we are trying to live someone else’s life with someone else’s gifts to meet someone else’s expectations of us. We are trying to fill a jar that isn’t our jar.
I like that capacity and capable are so similar. We are capable of living up to our capacity, but to do so, we need to strip away the masks we hide behind to seek approval from others. We need to learn to see ourselves as God sees us, to live the life God dreamed for us to live when we were being knit together in our mother’s womb. When we understand and embrace who we are with all our gifts and our limitations, we joyfully desire to live to our capacity.