Interesting article on a Japanese way to view the world. I found this intriguing and so very similar to the Eastern Christian Orthodox way of thinking, especially as it relates to perfectionism.
So often as Christians we struggle with what Jesus said and reaffirmed by the apostles in the New Testament “…be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48 KJV)
Here are two quotes to pique your interest and give you food for thought:
“…the term ‘perfect’, which stems from the Latin perfectus, meaning complete, has been placed on an undeserved pedestal in many cultures, especially the West. Prioritising flawlessness and infallibility, the ideal of perfection creates not only unachievable standards, but misguided ones. In Taoism, since no further growth or development can take place, perfection is considered equivalent to death. While we strive to create perfect things and then struggle to preserve them, we deny their very purpose and subsequently lose the joys of change and growth.”
“The dents and scratches we bear are all reminders of experience, and to erase them would be to ignore the complexities of life. By retaining the imperfect, repairing the broken and learning to find beauty in flaws – rather than in spite of them – Japan’s ability to cope with the natural disasters it so often faces is strengthened.”
Maybe you have come to a place in your life that feels like a dead end, you’re going nowhere, life seems hopeless. Maybe you think that you have sinned one too many times, failed too many times, keep doing things you don’t want to do but you do them over and over again. Maybe you feel you’re at the end of the rope, the stress, the worries, about money, health, family, children, the state of the world, or the area you live in. You’ve tried to “get it together”. You’ve tried to have a “stiff upper lip”. You’ve tried will power or “pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps”. All your efforts have been ineffective and you have realized you can’t change anything on your own or in your own strength. It’s beyond your capabilities.
I have some good news! If we could fix, rescue, save ourselves, we would not need a Savior, a Deliverer, an Advocate, a Rescuer, a Redeemer, a Great Physician, a Comforter.
If we could live up to all that is right and have good health, with plenty of money to spend, we would probably be so high-minded and so full of our own self-righteousness, with our homes full of material worthless possessions. We would not hear the cries of the broken, let alone be aware of them or understand them.
It is when we are broken and humbled, brought low and become weak, finally hearing and seeing, and hoping that someone will hear and see us, it is in this state real Love steps in.
God knew we needed Him. Before we asked, He had the answer. Before we looked, He was standing before us. Before we knocked, He was in our midst. Before we died, He died for us so we could live. Before we went to hell, He descended into hell, broke the gates, and set the hostages free, breaking the chains, and overcame the demons.
As a Christian you may know all this in your head, but getting it to sink deep down into our hearts is another matter. Just by being honest with God, knowing we can’t change ourselves, is the first step. This is where God’s mercy and grace comes in to transform our lives. This is what Easter is all about.
Perhaps Easter is not a big celebration because we are still focusing on pain, sin, suffering, death and all of our dreams and hopes have been buried at the bottom of the sea or in a mile high mud slide. We are stuck on “Good Friday & Great Saturday” and we can’t see anything “good or great” about it. Except we can’t just stop there.
Yes, there is a time to deal with our sins and failures, life’s disappointments and tragedies. We need to remember the “Via Delarosa” the road to Christ’s crucifixion; how Jesus carried the load if humanity’s sins, failures and tragedies to calvary and then was nailed with all of this to the Cross.
We need to remember how the Lamb of God loved us, was slain for us and died for us, even while we were still at war with God and still God’s enemy.
We need to be reminded no matter how perfect or good we might think we are, even then we are filthy rags compared to the perfection and holiness of God. We are never going to measure up, will always fall short. We are set in our own selfish ways, no matter how close we get to God, we will still tend to be selfish and self-willed.
This is why we need God. This is why Jesus died. We need a Savior.
But then… God was not content to leave us at the cross. God was not done with being buried. God, Himself triumphed over death. He has conquered hell and the grave. “Oh death where is your sting? Oh grave where is your victory?”
As it was for Christ God, we too must go through death… death to our own ideas of somehow earning our way into God’s presence; death to our own works of righteousness and good works; death to our own ways, our own dreams. We also need to let Jesus take our sin, even when we can’t give it to Him. Only in dying can we obtain new life. Jesus trampled down death by death.
Having died with Christ, it is time we remember we are to live in Christ. Let us no longer linger in death and burial. Let us visit the empty tomb. Let us see the guards as dead men. Let us hear the Angels proclamation, “He is risen, just as He said.”
Easter is about Jesus conquering death, not us conquering death, but God. Only by hiding in the shelter of His wings, coming under His robe, being washed in His blood, losing ourself in Jesus, will we too conquer death.
God has been faithful through centuries of generations of individuals who have put their trust in Him. God is faithful even when we are not. The steadfast love of The Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. We can take Him at His Word.
Right now, our lives may be full of stress and very topsy turvy. I know that better days are ahead if we put our trust in the Lord. I also know things might get full of trials and tribulations and temptations.
The Spirit of The Lord will come upon our lives to comfort us, walk beside us, live inside us, will be our strength, will pray for us when we don’t know how.
God will give us a peace that passes understanding, a joy overflowing, a hope everlasting, a trust that is faithful and a love all fulfilling. More than what we can ask, think, or comprehend.
He opened the way to Life and not an ordinary one but an abundant life. He gave us something stronger than “happiness”, He gave us JOY! He loves us unconditionally with an everlasting love. He takes as we are and transforms us into what we were destined to be.
I truly am blessed and I do mean blessed when I remember the people, friends, family, even strangers who have come into my life. God had sent all of them, even those who have meant evil, all we’re sent by God. All have helped me in so many ways to bring me closer to God; to find enjoyment in this life; see things through the eyes of a child; to see the wonders of the world around me and so much more to discover. To truly pray “Our Father, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.
Now everyday I ask myself, “In the light of Eternity, what does it matter?” It puts into perspective what is eternally important and what is going to pass away. I want to know Christ in the fellowship of His sufferings, that I might know Him in the power of His resurrection.
“Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death. And on those in the tombs bestowing life.”
Christ is risen! In Truth He is risen! He is risen indeed!
Abba, my Father, Your child, I am.
Mold me, make me, within Your hands.
To do Your will as a joint heir.
To be Your servant, this is my prayer.
Jesus, I need You to heal me from sin;
To serve You completely, free from pride within
Seeking Your kingdom, joy, peace, righteousness;
Your will, not mine and nothing less.
Sweet Spirit come in, fill me with love.
Anoint me with power from up above.
Your mind & heart, purify me with fire.
To be like You, becomes my desire.
Waiting & watching make Your way clear;
To be doing, not sleeping, until Your return.
Then all my needs met, all my fears gone,
Satisfied and content, You and I as one.
A friend of mine who has Rheumatoid Arthritis & Fibromyalgia has a Blog called Redefining the Good. It is a good one full of empathy & encouragement for those who struggle with chronic illness or disease or knows who knows someone struggling.
She just posted a Blog that I really enjoyed. So much so, I responded in a lengthy comment. Then I thought I think I’ll post my thoughts along with the link to her blog as well. May you be able to Redefine the Good in your life & be encouraged.
Here is the link to her Blog post.
And here is my response:
I can relate in so many ways. It is allergy season here! I just finally realized the nausea & upset stomach in the morning is because my sinuses are draining into my stomach at night. So… Back on my allergy meds.
The FATIGUE is BAD for me these lasts several months along with break-through PAIN even with meds so I had to go back to twice a day instead of once a day for one Rx & 3x/day for the other rather than once a day.
I’ve always liked the title of your blog “redefining the good”. Just a few weeks ago, after someone asked how I was doing & I said the usual answer “good”. Partly because it was only an acquaintance & like you just not close enough to share, because they wouldn’t understand anyway & then try to “fix” me.
As I walked away I asked myself if I was honest. It got me to thinking. Yes, I was feeling “good” because this was the new “normal”, the new “good”. I’m sure you understand. Acceptance is a rough place to get to.
I had realized awhile ago that things may not ever get better, there may not be a miracle cure, and actually as I get older I will most likely get worse as part of the aging process.
Just by thinking about how far my mental & spiritual state had come, I could honestly say I was feeling good. I know what a horrible day is & I know what a spectacular day is. However on most days it’s just every day living. I’ve come around to “redefining the good”.
Glory to God for all things!