Tuesday, March 22, 2011

perfectly imperfect

You know when God is putting his finger on something in your life when everywhere you turn you are faced with the same issue. Well that is happening to me.
I never thought I was a perfectionist before because my life and house were not well, perfect. Then I came across this quote,
"Perfectionism is not about achieving perfection. Perfectionists are people who pursue perfection by creating unrealistic pictures and expecting themselves to live up to them. This robs you of peaceful acceptance of yourself."   (Carol Kuyendall)
That pretty much hit the nail on the head. Lately I have been seeing how I am my biggest critic and how much the standards I put on myself are robbing me of joy. I feel at times there is someone over my shoulder watching my every move and pointing out where I messed up. That someone is not God. It is me.

Last week I came across another quote,
"A perfectly kept home is a sign of a misspent life."
Bulls eye. I wrote down the quote and hung it on my fridge. On Sunday I was talking to another mom of four kids in the church nursery and somehow this topic came up. After listening a little she said, "You know there is this quote I have heard..." and proceeded to spout off the exact words I just posted on my fridge. Okay I get it.
But there was more. It is one thing to hang a quote up and another to walk it out. So Mark invited a family of five over for lunch after church. I agreed but then remembered the state of my house back home. It was too late to change our minds and I had to be okay with letting them see my way less than perfect house. To top that off the soup I had put in the crock pot that morning might have been my worst culinary effort to date. Yeah, I think God was putting His finger on this area in my life.

I don't know why it is such a struggle. I especially struggle with ideals on housekeeping. I don't need my house to be immaculate but I do like things tidy and in order but I am learning with four kids my standards need to keep being let go of.... recognizing there are more important things than a clean house.  Five year old Sarah confronted me on this one day. "Mom why does everything have to be perfect when we have people over?" she asked me. I started to protest but then realized the truth in her question.
"Homemaking is about making a home. Homemaking is not about perfection. Perfect does not mean immaculate. A perfect home is an authentic, creative space where peace and love and beauty are embraced."  (Ann Voskamp)
So yesterday I met with a new friend and she again spoke this truth into my heart. She was sharing how it is not raising and loving our children that is the hard part but all the other things we can got bogged down with.  That described my battle completely. When I just focus on loving my children and what I am called to each day I am okay. It is when I compare or attempt to live up to some unrealistic ideal  or try to be like "so and so" that it becomes a struggle.

I really want to walk in FREEDOM in this area. I am tired of constantly feeling defeated by these self-imposed standards.  Perfectionism paralyzes me from moving forward because I get stuck on my own mistakes and failures.These words from Paul bring me perspective,

"I have not yet reached my goal and I am not perfect (surprise, surprise). BUT Christ has taken hold of me. So I keep running and struggling to take hold of the prize. But I forget what is behind me and I struggle for what is ahead." (Philippians 3:12-13)
When I write it all out it seems so simple but to walk it out is a daily struggle. One that I want to overcome...
I remember Mark taking this picture and my protesting. It was a hot and sweaty summer day and I was sure I looked horrible. But looking back on this picture I can now find it beautiful because I was who I am and doing what I was called to do, mothering. I need to look in the right mirror and hear God's perspective, not all the ways I am less than ideal.

So today I choose to walk in the grace He has given me....Letting go of my failures and being okay with being perfectly imperfect.


Kelly said...

Thanks for sharing your heart, Heather. I'm on a journey with this as well, and you wrote it out wonderfully. I think I may put that quote on my fridge too!

Shar said...

one day at a time...so many of us are right there with you! so awesome to spend time with you on monday and i CAN'T WAIT to catch up again soon. thanks for sharing your heart...

Jaime said...

Wow, this is truth I needed to be reminded of and for sure part of my daily walk too! Thanks for being so real, it is encouraging.

Brad, Carla, Addison, Hudson and Mason said...

This is something I need to hear every day! :)