Perfectionists may be deluded (I am perfect) depressed (I’ll never be perfect) or delighted
(I will be perfect) … and all before breakfast.
In this first of three brief posts on the theme of perfection CS Lewis encourages us to go
on, all day, letting Perfection have His way…
‘The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind. We can only do it for moments at first. But from those moments the new sort of life will be spreading through our system: because now we are letting Him work at the right part of us. It is the difference between paint, which is merely laid on the surface, and a dye or stain which soaks right through. He never talked vague, idealistic gas. When He said, ‘Be perfect,’ He meant it. He meant that we must go in for the full treatment. It is hard; but the sort of compromise we are all hankering after is harder—in fact, it is impossible. It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.’
From C S Lewis in Mere Christianity
In this final brief post on the theme of enjoyment,
C S Lewis reminds us that it is only ever God who, ‘richly provides us with everything to enjoy’ while the best, or worst, that Satan offers can only ever be, for now, the good things of God deformed and, later, miseries forevermore….
[God, the “Enemy,” is] a hedonist at heart. All those fasts and vigils and stakes and crosses are only a facade. Or only like foam on the sea shore. Out at sea, out in His sea, there is pleasure, and more pleasure. He makes no secret of it; at His right hand are “pleasures for evermore.” Ugh! Don’t think He has the least inkling of that high and austere mystery to which we rise in the Miserific Vision. He’s vulgar, Wormwood. He has a bourgeois mind. He has filled His world full of pleasures. There are things for humans to do all day long without His minding in the least—sleeping, washing, eating, drinking, making love, playing, praying, working. Everything has to be twisted before it’s any use to us. We fight under cruel disadvantages. Nothing is naturally on our side.
From C S Lewis in The Screwtape Letters
It’s a sign of God’s great grace that he makes his goodness available to us, ‘while we are yet sinners’. Even while we reject him or deny him, we are free
to enjoy many of his blessings in the world; the sun shines for us all. But we kid ourselves when we think that the sun shines, even for Us, apart from Him, or that there is any good thing at all that we may find, or enjoy, or keep, apart from him. This is the second of three brief posts on the theme of enjoyment.
‘What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could “be like gods”—could set up on their own as if they had created themselves—be their own masters—invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.’
C S Lewis in Mere Christianity
Whether we see the cup as half full or half empty will be irrelevant one day when every cup is filled and overflowing. Until then, in our fallen and needy world, where may we find a proper enjoyment of life?
This is the first of three brief posts on the theme of enjoyment…
‘A great many people (not you) do now seem to think that the mere state of being worried is in itself meritorious. I don’t think it is. We must, if it so happens, give our lives for others: but even while we’re doing it, I think we’re meant to enjoy Our Lord and, in Him, our friends, our food, our sleep, our jokes, and the birds’ song and the frosty sunrise.’
From The Collected Letters of C S Lewis, Volume II