where I learn that integrity is not the same as perfection

These last few weeks there’s been a whispering in my ear, words spoken softly in the whir of everyday life. They were brushed off, silenced by busyness.  But seven simple words planted somewhere in my heart eventually pierced through:

Integrity is not the same as perfection

And I’ve been pondering over those God-given words for quite some time now.

Integrity. It’s the quality I most admire in others and seek to live personally. One of the simplest definitions of integrity is this:

the quality of behaving according to the moral principles that you believe in

or even more simply

not just talking the talk, but walking the walk whether or not anyone is watching .

Writing always helps me to process what is going on in my life and the life of those around me . But as my writing began to land in a public sphere (ie this blog)  my quest for integrity became stifling. I would write something and then the next day be starkly aware of how my life didn’t reflect, or live up to what I’d written, even if it was just the minutest deviance.

It was becoming so stifling that I no longer knew what to write about because there was always some element of my life that didn’t quite match up to what I was writing. I was paralyzed and the joy of writing felt robbed by this quest for what I thought was a godly desire.

But I should have known. I should have known that it was law.

Because I wasn’t merely trying to live a life of integrity. I was trying to live a life of perfection.

per·fect  (pûrfkt)

Being without defect or blemish

I find that definition of “perfect” interesting. The bible says that we are reconciled to God through the death of Jesus. And because of that blood we are in fact, in God’s sight, “without blemish”. But there’s one key difference between what I was trying to do and what the bible means when it talks about being “without blemish”.

One is about law, and one is about grace.

One is about trying to achieve it myself, and one is about knowing I can’t but someone else has.

One is about religion, and one is about relationship

If there’s one thing we can be certain of it’s that we’ll fail, we’ll make mistakes and we’ll be imperfect. So we need (well, I certainly do) to give ourselves permission to fail, to be imperfect. And we also need to give permission for others to fail and to be imperfect.

Don’t worry, what I’m not talking about is living a double-faced, wildly contradictory life . I want more than ever to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

But within that there needs to be freedom to fail. And grace when we do.

I don’t need to be perfect, because He was, and is.

Seems like grace is becoming a theme around here….

2 thoughts on “where I learn that integrity is not the same as perfection

  1. Pingback: on parenting and foundation-laying | the robinsons

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