Generating Perfection: my in-flight reflections 

{This post was written on Thursday during my flight to Japan!}

Wowee! I’m on the plane right now looking out at the beautiful sky! It’s been a lovely ride so far and the morning sun is absolutely glorious. 

  
I’ve always felt most alive in the mornings. There’s just something about that early morning air that makes me want to dance with happiness! I (almost) danced this morning when my alarm awakened me at 4:45 AM in preparation for my flight.
 
I awakened both surprised and thankful that I had slept so deeply because I somewhat anticipated a restless night in nervous anticipation or anxiety about my journey. 

This summer I’ve experienced a smattering of sleep-disturbing anxiety regarding this trip. I have always slept soundly so laying awake at night was completely out of the ordinary for me. 

   
I’d lay in my bed tossing while butterflies danced teasingly in my belly. 

However, last night was completely different. I slept soundly and I’m so happy for that.

While I strongly felt that moving to Japan was was where God was leading me, I also felt overwhelmingly unprepared for my journey.

Nagging thoughts swarmed around my head like flies, insisting that I was not yet “ready” to go. I needed to get ready–and quickly!

I’m not talking about suitcases and passports. I was on track with that. Yet I was still struggling with my eating disorder. I didn’t feel the balance I so craved in my life. 

How in the world was I to go to be a blessing in Japan when I myself wasn’t ‘together’ yet?
  

In an attempt to conquer these overwhelming feelings of unreadiness I created several detailed, idealistic  expectations for myself regarding my life and my recovery. 

By the time I left for Japan I was going to be 100% free of any disordered thoughts or feelings, I was going to be X weight, I was going to eat like X…I would progress in specific, measurable ways in all areas of my life and be as near perfect as I possibly could. 

By the time my departure date rolled around my struggles would all be gone. I would be confidently and completely prepared for my new life in Japan. #unrealisticthinking

Here is where I’d love to insert a big LOL! 😀 Things didn’t go they way I had expected, planned or decided that they would go. 

My disordered thoughts didn’t miraculously disappear. I still struggled and fell in the realm of my battle with my ED. New challenges seemed to arise out of nowhere and I didn’t accomplish my goals in the timeframe I had so carefully marked out. 

My perfect summer-in-preparation-for-Japan had taken a not-so-perfect twist. I felt like a failure and more unprepared than ever. 

  
While staring at the wall one fitful night I considered my options. 

There were only two:

To accept where I am today and celebrate the victories so far or to allow my self to be overwhelmed my failure to meet my (unrealistic) expectations. 

Or in other words:

To look to Jesus or to look to myself. 

You see, my number one purpose in going to Japan is to share the gospel. 

From a very young age God has placed in my heart a love for the Japanese people, their language and their culture. I have sought to improve my opportunities while in America to learn the Japanese culture and am still totally amazed at the way God has cleared for me to actually go to Japan! 

Along with my opportunity I felt a responsibility to be perfectly ready. While it is true that working for Jesus does come with responsibility, I independently created my own. 

Still the thought rolled around in my head, How could I minister to others when I myself was not perfect? 

  

Actually, I never articulated my thoughts  so neatly (until now) but all my performance driven goals for myself before leaving for Japan betrayed my underlying goal to be 100% perfect before I could go to bless others. 

Those two options remained: 

to look to Jesus or to look to myself. 

I had to choose. 

I chose the first option. 

The need to have it all together before I left for Japan was crossed off my mental checklist. I gave it up. 

Because I can’t be perfect anyway. I’m simply human. There is absolutely nothing that I can do in my own strength that will produce perfection. 

And the funny thing is, I knew that truth already. I knew it in my head but not my heart.

I was acting like the Israelites of Bible days. The Israelites that Romans 10:3 mentions. 

For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. -Romans 10:3, KJV

The word “ignorant” used in this text doesn’t mean that the Israelites didn’t know about God’s righteousness. 

Doubtless they had heard, seen, and experienced firsthand the ultimate perfection of God. Yet they allowed themselves to forget all about it. 

The testimony of their actions showed that they chose to be ignorant by working to establish a righteousness all their own. 

And it didn’t work. 

Because all of our righteousness is as filthy rags. 

This is not to say that there isn’t hope. We are not destined to lives of continual failure. 

On the contrary the heart realization that I can never be perfect gives me joy, hope and relief. 

It points me to Jesus who is perfection personified and who will complete the work in me that He has already begun. 

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. -2 Corinthians 5:20, 21 NASB, emphasis supplied

Did you catch that? Jesus was made sin for me, that I might be made the righteousness of God in Him. Jesus was made sin for you, that you might be made the righteousness of God in Him

As an ambassador for Christ (all Christians are to be ambassadors for Christ no matter where they live) I am to look at Jesus instead of myself. It’s not my job to try to generate my own perfection. I have no righteousness on my own. 

Instead, I am to trust to Jesus’ righteousness. I am to hope in Jesus’ perfection. I am to trust Jesus to help me to minister to the best of my ability. I am to trust Jesus to work out my issues with food, body image, exercise and my besetting sins. 

The focus is now shifted to Jesus, not Jade. 

Because Jesus is perfect. I can trust Him to lead me on the right path. 

What a relief it is to remember that I don’t have to worry about creating the perfect path for myself because He’s already created it for me!

I need no longer to create self imposed deadlines because Jesus makes everything beautiful in His time!

Jesus gave me a gift in the form of a gentle reminder that restless night to look to Him, to stop creating unrealistic expectations, and to stop trying to generate my own perfection. 

And by His grace I chose the first option. I choose the first option. 

I must say that that choice gave me deep peace–and sleep too! 😀

Although everything in my life is not perfectly ‘together’ yet I’m okay with that because it doesn’t have to be. 

Why? Because I am going to Japan with Jesus. He is all I need. He is absolutely perfect and as I continually look to Him, He will lead me in His perfect way.

He will make me perfect in Him. 

I choose the first option. I choose Jesus!

-J


Have you ever felt the desire to be totally perfect before doing good things for others? Do you struggle with perfectionism? Have you ever tried to attach deadlines to the process of recovery? Any other thoughts?

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