Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Pursuit of Perfection

Ever since I was a little kid I’ve always loved cars. Early on it was Corvettes. They were just so sleek and cool. There used to be a Corvette collector show in the plaza right up the street from where I lived and in the summer and I enjoyed going there and fantasizing about which one I was going to get when I grew up.

And then as I got older, my taste changed. I began to admire the Mercedes Benz and Jaguar models. Mind you, these are WAY beyond my means to the point that I don’t fantasize about owning one; my 2009 Honda Accord is good enough for me.

But there is one brand of automobile that comes to mind when I think of the slogan, “The Pursuit of Perfection” and that is Lexus. Lexus has been around since its debut at the Detroit Auto Show in 1989 and has a solid foothold in the luxury car market. But, they haven’t yet achieved the perfection they are so actively seeking. But who has?

This is something I think about in my own life, and especially in the area of my recovery from addiction and bipolar disorder. I’ve been around the block a few times and I have garnered the tools to help me continue on this journey called life. I have actively worked with a sponsor and been in intensive therapy. I have gone through periods of introspection only to find that no matter how I cut it, I will never achieve the pinnacle of perfection that is seemingly exhibited by those by those around us (especially in the celebrity media) but in reality are no closer to perfection than the rest of us.

This whole idea fills me with a profound sense of humility. No matter how much I seem to achieve on the outside and no matter how much I even develop internally, there is always room for growth. It’s like peeling the onion layer by layer and discovering what lies underneath. I’m often reminded about my imperfections and this does create a sense of unease. But in the end, I have to remember that I am loved by our Creator just as I am. This doesn’t mean I have the freedom to act out irresponsibly and not expect any negative repercussions. If anything, I have to acknowledge the concept of karma; what is otherwise known as cause and effect.

In scientific terms let’s look at Newton’s Third Law of Motion:

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

I’m no rocket scientist but I do realize that this law of physics applies to our lives as well. For instance, when I used substances, I typically suffered some type of ill effect, whether it be a major hangover or in worst cases, hospitalization. Not everyone has such a severe reaction however there is typically some degree of this law associated with the things we do daily. Recognizing that this law does exist, I can choose, by my own will, to either act in a manner that will produce positive results or the other way around.

Which brings us back to the concept of perfection. If, for instance, I was perfect, what would the point be of going any further? I have come to realize that in my recovery, that this is never achievable. Like I previously stated, this can be a painful process. There are times when I look inside and I’m not thrilled with what I see. But despite this attitude of self-loathing, I have a Higher Power that is willing to welcome me with loving arms.

Recovery is a journey, this is true. And I believe that we are all on this earth to learn whatever lessons we are meant to in order to allow us to grow as people in this ever- challenging world. The unfortunate thing is that there are some who suffer for any number of reasons, addiction and mental health challenges included. For those of us who have found ourselves in such death dealing situations sometimes the best we can do is try to take things one day at a time and work to alleviate any pain we are experiencing.

But through all this, I do find solace in the following scripture passage:

“And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you,
for power is perfected in weakness’
Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses,
so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”
2 Corinthians 12:9

While I have come to accept my imperfections, I know that through the grace of our Lord I am strengthened. In my early recovery, I developed the practice of prayer which includes the following:

“Thank you for blessing me today.
Help me to face every challenge that comes before me
with the best of my ability and potential.”

It is through this solemn plea that I find the strength every day to walk through this earthly existence and remain of sound mind, body and spirit. While I will never have been, nor do I ever want to be perfect, I can rest assured that I can be accepted as I am – a child of God.

Be well.


  1. Thanks for sharing this, Karl! I think we all struggle with the need to be perfect, some of us more than others, but we struggle nonetheless.

  2. As always, insightful. Thank You for sharing your meaningful thoughts.