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Perseverance, not Perfection

“From now on, everything’s going to be different.”

How many times have we told ourselves something like this in the past? Maybe after a retreat. The death of a loved one. A great book or movie.

We all have such moments of clarity in life, but they are fleeting. We wake up the next day and we forget. Life keeps going. And all of those resolutions which — for that fleeting moment — seemed so clear and easy all of a sudden seem so distant and hard. It can be discouraging.

But anyone can decide to do the right thing in an inspired moment. The real virtue, of course, is in deciding to do it again the next day (and the day after that) once the feeling of inspiration has passed.

Deciding to love God in a radical way is not a one-time decision. It’s a decision that must be made continually over and over again, most especially when it’s hard. That’s when it counts.

Your attempts will not be perfect. You will fail and you will have to try again. Do not lose hope. Such is the temporal struggle of the human experience. Such is the path to perfection. God works wonders in our failure if we’re humble enough to let him. And this is only the beginning of an exciting, but bumpy, adventure.

Accept that you are not yet perfect, yet settle for nothing less.

“You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

Perfection is the only path forward. The only way out of this place. And God offers it all to you at the cost of your continual cooperation. Your radical perseverance, despite your imperfection.

We must try again no matter how many times we fail. Ask forgiveness no matter how many times we fall. Begin again no matter how many times we’ve begun before.

“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them – every day begin the task anew.” – St. Francis de Sales

Next time you stumble, do not be discouraged. Rather, embrace the thrill of getting back up and trying again! Rejoice in your persistence! Be patient with your imperfection. Persevere, and God will make you perfect.

“Let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:4)

Published in Popular Essays