Every year Girlguiding in the UK carries out a survey on Girls’ Attitudes. Typically it takes in around 1,600 seven to 21-year-olds and this year the results have been described by director Becky Hewitt as “shocking”. Among 559 seven to 10-year-olds who did the survey, nearly a quarter felt they needed to be perfect. For a 1,000+ 11 to 21-year-olds the proportion rose nearly three-fold to 61% of the girls feeling that selfsame need to be perfect.
One Brownie leader, summed up the general feeling: “This year’s survey is a damning indication that something needs to be done to tackle this growing issue.” Clearly it doesn’t take much to see that body image, a factor especially impacting girls and women today, can be a remarkably damaging one. That said, the strongly felt need to be perfect, would seem to be something that touches, even afflicts, whole swathes of people a lot more generally. Think, for example, of the number of times you have literally obsessed over something being just so, something turning out exactly the way you wanted it.
But why is this? Why do we obsess about this apparent need to be perfect? One possible answer might be because we ourselves are a little bit too central in the general make-up of our own universe. So does Jesus come to our aid here and simply tell us to “fret less” and “hang loose”! Well not exactly, in His great sermon on the Mount, he says: “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Cold comfort then? By no means! This is Jesus’ way to drive us to seek the gift he offers – Himself as the centre of your universe. Seen orbiting around His perfection we become immediately picture perfect with nothing extra needed. Sweet!