I’m done with perfect. She’s been my friend for decades but lately the cost has been way too high. When she’s around I forget to breathe deeply, joy is assigned a backseat and forgotten, and I drive around paralyzed by anxiety. I’ve even unfriended her on Facebook. I don’t want to see those sparkly images she’s always posting. I want to celebrate with the real, cheer on the unmasked beautiful, and have coffee with she who knows her stuff and is willing to be fully present to others who are just as messy and real.
The high cost of keeping Perfect my friend? Here’s the untidy mess:
Perfect’s exacted a complete loss of playfulness with my children. I become a drill sergeant in our homeschool room when I’m trying to meet the expectations of Perfect. That first homeschool week? Heinous. I want a do-over. And note the word “expectations.” I’m realizing that Perfect’s expectations are always impossible. They are always out of reach.
A loss of presence. I forget to connect to the immediate moment, to taste and see the present good gifts of God. I’ll forget to light the candle. I’ll forget to take off my shoes and feel the grass beneath my feet. I live with my head down, barreling through. As Shauna Niequist said in her new entirely fabulous book, Present Over Perfect: “I worship at the altar of my to do list.” Yup, I’ve set the table for that altar.
Another cost? I stop offering hospitality. I become afraid of my messy house being judged when deep inside I know all people really want are a space to have a glass of iced tea and cozy up with an authentic conversation.
Writing has been the one who’s paid the highest cost. When I hear Perfect’s expectations, I become afraid of offering. I look down at my loaves and fish, that meager little lunch and hold back thinking: “This can’t be enough.” I’ve stopped writing here because I’d like a new snazzier look to my website and because I don’t have time to take as many photos, and I don’t have time to polish content etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum. Yup, I’m done with perfect. I’m going to choose to be real here…to have shorter posts…to use instagram photos when I need to and to say goodbye to perfect.
I am choosing to love with a messy kind of love because that’s all I’ve got anyway. And somehow, when we offer freely, God takes our small lunches and makes them enough. And yes, Enough is my new friend, and she fits my life perfectly.
What does perfect feel like in your life? What has been the cost of keeping her as a friend? How are you friending the messy real and unfriending Perfect?
Friends, I adore Shauna’s new book Present Over Perfect so much I’d love to do a book club night at my house in the Atlanta area and/or a virtual book club week by week here. Yup, it’s that good, Sisters. Anybody in?