A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.
While these words hold true, I can’t help but wish for smooth, glassy-topped seas. My petite little rowboat would gently wade out into the ocean, gracefully slicing through still, crystal waters. If my life were to reflect the flawless nature of a smooth sea, I feel like I would be happy.
During an economics course yesterday, two of my classmates were engaged in a dispute over the topic of perfection. Upon finding no middle ground whatsoever, one student turned to the teacher for support.
“If you had the opportunity to be perfect at everything, would you take it?” the student asked.
The teacher chuckled and shook his head no, while the other student was smug with satisfaction. The teacher explained that he would reject the opportunity to be faultless, because life would lack spontaneity, possibility, depth, and motivation. In his mind, a life of perfection would be dull, and he would find himself irritable over everyone else’s disability in stark comparison to his own boundless ability.
I was confused. A life of perfection sounded so rich and promising; I imagined myself graduating summa cum laude from my university, followed by a successful career as the editor of Teen Vogue, having an immaculate wardrobe and a seamless vocabulary, as well as being married to my prince charming (who treated me like an absolute princess) in my very own fairy-tale-worthy relationship.
When I spent a moment reflecting upon what my teacher had said, I was able to uncover the wisdom behind his words: if every task were an effortless achievement, goals would hold no worth. There would be nothing to work, sweat, push, or strive for. There would be nothing to dream of.
That’s what makes us so uniquely human, right? We dream of, pine over, and work for the things we desire. We are constantly adjusting our tactics and methods in an attempt to excel. Things go wrong. We learn. We are all on the same journey through life, and there is no assurance of smooth sailing. It is this imperfection that strengthens our values, straightens our moral compass, and inspires our motivation and drive. Because of this lack of perfection, we turn to the One who is undeniably flawless. It is He who invigorates us, quiets us, and aids us while rough waves crash or peaceful waters lap. It is He who takes our dirty, tired imperfections and wipes us clean.
I would much rather be imperfect yet constantly striving for better and have the Lord walk alongside of me than be naturally skilled at everything, fooled into believing that I was most superior.