Perfect is no longer my friend

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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.

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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.

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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?

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7 Comments

  1. Well, Frederick Buechner says it’s good to pay attention to tears, so I guess I’ll go pay attention! Beautiful post. Depending on the timing, I might be interested in a book group (I’d join in virtually). I’ve only heard good things about this book!

    1. Tears. Yes let’s pay attention to those and not let them go to waste. Absolutely beautiful book. Every woman should read it.

  2. Perfection isn’t my friend either, anymore. She keeps calling though. I’d like to meet Enough. I’ve been looking for her. ❤️
    God is healing the core of shame that has been driving me to perfection. What a beautiful, yet slow process. The core goes deep. I’ve been listening to and reading some of Brené Brown’s work. Good stuff on shame, vulnerability, connection, realizing we’re enough. I’ll have to check out Present Over Perfect. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Jamie, I’ve somehow stopped receiving emails about comments from here so I didn’t know this gift was here. I’d like to get to be friends with Enough as well. I’ll bet she’s lovely, accepting like an older woman inviting us to a cup of tea in a Coltswold’s kitchen. I wonder what the core lies are that have been driving your shame? If we write them out short and quippy, we can begin the process of disarming them with truth. It takes a lot of truth though. Lord, Jamie and I want to be free from shame. Show us the way.

      1. Yes, the Lord is disarming my shame with His truth. The core of shame comes primarily from abuse I suffered for many years, starting at 2 yrs old. Jesus has been meeting me in those 2 yr old places (that I had “worked through” already) but this time He is showing me His truth through affection. I am loved. I am holy/sanctified and I am enough. It was true then, and it is true now. I am sitting on those truths, letting them seep in. Soon there won’t be room for the lies.

        1. I have junior high shame issues. Yes, I know, don’t we all? Mine were worked in deep but I’m learning to scoot up to the table to eat of a full plate of my Abba’s love. And yes, that’s my goal too: soon there won’t be any more room for the lies.

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