The other day, I was logging into some account of mine with my typical username, “free2bimperfect.” I created this user name because “freeingimperfections” is a little too long. As I was filling in my user name info, I thought – hey, that’s a good topic I should address: what it means to me to be free to be imperfect.
The whole idea of releasing myself from perfection came into my life at the beginning of 2012. I was spending a lot of time with the Lord, and a lot lies I believed were being undone. I understood His grace and what it means to be known by Him. This alone released me from the need to find love from and be perfect for others.
In this soul-searching time, I was reading a couple of Christian books specifically about perfectionism. These books really shed light on the fact that everyone struggles with perfectionistic tendencies (I am not alone!) and that that’s okay. For the first time, I felt understood about being a perfectionist. And for the first time, I realized I didn’t have to stay that way.
I still read one of these books every night before I go to bed: It’s A Wonderful Imperfect Life. It gives me a daily reminder of how life is not perfect and how to truly accept that.
What It Means to Me
To free myself to be imperfect, I must do just that: allow imperfection to be possible and real. I have to lower my ridiculously high standards that are set there by no one but myself and my flawed view of “reality” of myself and others.
I have to say, “Self,” in a stern voice, “you are just a person, not a princess. No one told you your life had to be, feel, look, or smell perfect. In fact, God doesn’t even want that for you.”
I have to stop myself from being frustrated at dishes, dirty laundry, the lack of a frozen banana for my smoothie, and the fact that I want to eat a whole box of cookies. I have to remember that I am not superwoman, regardless of what any advertising, society, or fool may say. I have to wake up and remind myself to smile, pray, and love people regardless of how they love or don’t love me.
When I am convicted, I have to act on that conviction and seek forgiveness and change. I can’t be indifferent toward my own growth or I will get no where. I also can’t expect to grow as fast as I want in all the ways I want all the time. I have to accept my humanness, my limitations, and flaws. I have to slow down, take baby steps instead of giant leaps, and breathe.
In the end, I just have to allow room for me to be me.
A Work in Progress
Yet, as I write this post, I can’t help but feel like a fraud at the same time. I have come such a long way from where I was with seeking perfection, but I still have a long road to go. I still struggle with wanting perfection to some degree. It’s just not as strong or out of control as it used to be. I still want my house clean 24/7. I still want to have the “perfect” diet. I still struggle with putting too much pressure on myself to be productive, look nice, and always do more.
But my husband and God are constant reminders that these desires are foolish to be wasting my time on. Many devotionals that I read give me a little wake up calls here and there, reminding me that God is the only one who perfection is reserved for. And that God made me perfect in His eyes. To doubt myself so much and put more pressure on myself to be “perfect” is to doubt God and His work.
I am not all the way there, but I trust in what God calls me to do and not do. The more time I make for God in my life, the more aware I am of lies I’m tempted to believe, destructive thought patterns, and unhealthy behaviors.
My life ebbs and flows. How much time I waste pursuing things that don’t matter does too. Letting go of perfection isn’t a perfect process (imagine that!) and it’s definitely not a one-and-done kind of deal. Freeing myself of perfection, accepting myself, and being okay with the flaws in my life is a constant process.
But it’s a process called life, and it’s one worth living, imperfections and all.
Of Possible Interest