Yet somehow I sometimes find myself looking to those ideals not in excitement, but in fear - and it normally comes when I'm overwhelmed with my mistakes and imperfections. It's like there is this perfect, beautiful life painted before me, and the thought that it could all be ruined is heart-breaking. So when something happens that makes me believe it will crumble, I receive a crushing blow to the soul. I feel like my world is crashing down, and it leaves me feeling dark, despairing, and incapacitated. It's worse than being "not fun". It's an awful feeling of terrible reality.
I learned about something today that really helped me - Japanese pottery.
It's called Kintsukuroi. It is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with gold, silver, and platinum. As explained on wikipedia, "In philosophy, it speaks to breakage and repair becoming part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise." The idea is that the object is more beautiful for having been broken.
Seeing the good in broken-ness took away my fear. It was accompanied by a letting-go of that great, ideal, perfect life. When did it become about erecting the perfect life for ourselves? How can we progress with an incapacitating fear of messing up? When I let go of all that fear, I felt so relieved, and immensely grateful - grateful that Christ came to heal the sinner. Me.
The mended pot, with it's gold-filled cracks and jagged strands of silver, is a beautiful testament to the grace and love of God. It's so wonderful! Our sins and imperfections are nothing to be ashamed of - we all have them, and for the rest of this life we will always have some. God loves us in our imperfection. The small cracks and giant fractures in our lives will not be wasted with Him. Rather, they will become blessed opportunities for us to be close with Christ - the real gold. They won't just be breaks to fix, but holy tokens of a beautiful journey. I'm talking about small things and I'm talking about big things. That person that we say "ruined their life" - did they really ruin their life? I think the purpose is less about achieving and more about learning.
I'm keeping things simple: Hunger and thirst after righteousness, rest in Christ, and surrender the future to God.