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Making Daily Progress, Aiming at Perfection

Making Daily Progress, Aiming at Perfection

For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. Leviticus 11:44

At the gym, I’m always working on getting better. There are always things I can improve upon. Even if I ever place first in a competition – which I’m in no danger of doing – I know that there would still be things that I needed to be better at. I’ll never be perfect, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have an ideal in mind, and knowing I’ll never arrive there doesn’t mean I don’t daily work towards that goal. Daily then, I make progress, aiming towards perfection, even if I know I’ll never get there.

So it is in recovery. When I first got out of recovery, I really thought I had life all figured out. I was home for only about 10 minutes when I realized I still had a lot of stuff to work on. I was sober, but I was still selfish, prideful, resentful, and gluttonous. At first it frustrated me that I had so many flaws, and that I’d have to keep working on those flaws every day for the rest of my life. Later though, I realized that this was the Christian life – to daily grow, transform, and make progress, aiming at perfection, even if I know I’ll never get there in this life.

This principle applies to my approach with my patients, whom I’ve needed to learn to meet where they are. When I meet someone who’s addicted to fentanyl, it may not be time to work on their smoking habit. Abstinence from tobacco may have to wait. First, we need to stop the use of the most immediate life-threatening drug.

What I worry gets lost in the “I’ll never be perfect” mindset however, is the idea that we should be striving for an ideal, for something better. If we allow “I’ll never be perfect”, to paralyze us and keep us where we are, then we’ll miss out on the life God desires for us. Be holy, for I am holy. That’s God’s goal for us. He knows we’ll never get there in this life, but that’s still the ideal that we are to continually strive for, making daily progress, even if we’ll never be perfect.

Daily then, I must get up and go to God, asking, What do you want me to work on? What do I need to do better? In doing so, I keep growing in my faith and recovery. I’ll never be perfect in this life, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t daily seek progress.

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