I easily get discouraged. I easily fall into self purification. I easily try to perfect my ways, my thoughts, and ultimately my being. I want to be the best at what I do, do my best in what I put my mind to, and ultimately become the best version of myself that I can be. Confusing? Yeah, I tend to thoroughly confuse myself, especially when I write and unravel my tangled spaghetti like thoughts. Overall, what I am trying to say is that I can sometimes be a perfectionist. Even admitting that makes me feel a bit embarrassed..
The place where this perfectionism is most evident is in the pursuit of my current vocation. As I write this, I am on a plane to Florida. Though I wish my purpose in traveling to the state of sunshine was to soak in as much vitamin D as is possible before my skin turns red and freckles reappear on my nose, I am actually coming because of vocational requirements (though these requirements are very enjoyable). I am extremely excited to become an Elementary Teacher, but I am often extremely paralyzed in the process of growth due to my perfectionistic mindset. Sometimes I do not see challenge as growth, but rather as failure. Sometimes I do not see criticism as constructive, but rather personal darts aimed at my character. Sometimes I get so caught up in being perfect in my vocation that I forget that I am actually not called to a vocation, but called to a Person… I have started to put the work before the One who made me even capable of working. Ah man, failure to be perfect yet again. But I am starting to think that is the whole point.
If I believe that my ultimate calling is to a vocation rather than a Person, I am missing the intimacy of the gospel all together. I am getting side tracked with misplaced priorities and a misunderstanding of the purpose of calling in its entirety. I for years thought “follow your calling” meant to follow your passions and your dreams. The first step towards this goal was attending college, succeeding in a degree, and walking across a brightly lit stage with a diploma in hand and a smile on my face. Senior year of high school was all about discovering this future attainment of our calling through the means of college attendance.
The issue is, our calling is not a task that can be accomplished or a job that, when finished, can be labeled “well done.” My lifelong calling is to know and love, while first being known and loved by my Creator and Savior. I do not think my welcome into the kingdom with the phrase “well done good and faithful servant” is based on my vocational capacity, but rather how intensely and intimately I pursued knowing my Triune God. I am coming to the realization that in my yearning for perfection, I idolized the perfection focused vocation and lost my appetite for pursuing the Lord Himself. Yikes. Lord heal my appetite! Please, do not throw away the most beautiful calling for a material based calling. You are not called to bigger and better things, but rather a more infinite and satisfying relationship with God Almighty. He is not a thing, but a Person.
words by Kylie Hultgren and photo by Hannah Jin