Take Imperfect Action. You Can Do Nothing More.
“One who makes no mistakes, makes nothing.”
— Saint Teresa of Avila
You’ve heard it countless times: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
As Catholics, we are inspired to do good. Indeed, “good” is of God, who is Goodness itself. And doing good is not supposed to be easy (if you never got the memo, consider yourself duly noted).
How about another clichéd expression…Practice makes perfect. This is followed up by Perfect practice makes perfect.
And, despite being clichés, neither are true. In fact, they prove one important truth: PERFECT is the enemy of the GOOD.
Why? Because in this world, there is no perfect.
Only God is perfect. And yet, Jesus tells us: “Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48 NABRE)
But we cannot do this on our own! Only God can make us so, with our cooperation. But it won’t be fully realized in this world.
Accepting this reality is half the battle. For the perfectionists out there, this is difficult. Do you know any self-proclaimed perfectionists who, because of their unrealistically high standards, remain stagnant?
Don’t get me wrong: striving for high standards and excellence is important. And we should always be putting our best efforts forward. But pride can also get in our way when we expect to be able to do everything on our own. God doesn’t want us to do that. He wants us to seek out His help.
This requires humility and surrender. It also requires courage, and a willingness to put your best, albeit imperfect action forward and realize that you will make mistakes. But if you do so while praying for Grace, you will have God in your court, helping you.
Remember what Grace is. It is Divine Assistance…to achieve that which you cannot achieve on your own.
God is indeed constantly challenging us, and pushing us into situations in which we may feel in over our heads. He is pushing us to be the best we can be; to do the best we can do, right now, with Grace! We are all born with potential capability…but it doesn’t mean we’re all capable already. We need to grow, to make progress toward achievement of that good. This takes perseverance. And it takes the faith, courage and humility to take imperfect action.
This applies in your workplace, in your homes and family, your parish and your community.
And when you do so, you will make mistakes. You will also learn from them, and you will grow. And you, and all around you, will be better for it.