Perfectionism, anyone? I can’t help but wonder how many of us are caught in its fierce, unrelenting grip. It’s a dead end, and most of us know it when we proceed down its path, but still, so many of us find ourselves going down, anyway.
Why the pull towards being perfect? Why the striving to appear as such?
I have to say that I’m incredibly grateful to have been born within the generation that I was. It’s far from perfect, as we all know, but there is something to be said for us. We’re more comfortable with imperfect than perhaps those who came before us were. We don’t love being imperfect, but we allow ourselves to rest in it a bit more. Of course, there are the extremes: those who refuse to embrace it even a little and those who adopt it far too much, but I’ve seen a shifting in this, at least within myself these past few years, and most definitely in the church.
I’m 34 years old. Ouch. Don’t know why that seems hard to articulate, but there you go. My people, or who I consider my peers, fall within the age range of 25-40. That might seem like a big gap to you, but my people are a big group. That said, I see an increased willingness towards transparency and authenticity than I have in the past.
Women in my circles are becoming brave about their brokenness. Women in my circles are becoming more OK with being imperfect versions of themselves than striving for perfection. We’re awakening to the ugly truth that hides behind the idea of perfection: It’s down right exhausting, and it just isn’t real.
Last Fall, I posted a picture of a six-week Bible study that I was in, starting week five. I had begun this study in February of last year, and come October, I wasn’t even finished. The decades of my life prior were filled with the message that spoke, “Cherie, this is just not good enough.” While I’d like to conveniently point the finger of blame toward everyone and everything but myself, the primary source of that message was myself. I put those weights on myself. I chose to carry them. No one forced me to. But you know what? More people resonated with that single post than most before that. There was an unspoken invitation to genuineness included in what I shared, and weary women needed to know that they had been invited.
So, here I sit at 34, out on my back porch at 11:14 am, still drinking my morning coffee, in my pajamas, finishing up my devotion for today, Day 47 in a Bible study book that I started way longer than 47 days ago, but you know what?
Jesus met my mess right here, this morning. Jesus still spoke to me right here, even though I don’t appear anything like the perfect idea I have for myself in my mind.
I’m resting in a new season as of late, my friends, and I’m just going to call it “Perfectly Imperfect.” It’s a place where my imperfections often feel as if they’re on blast, but it’s a place that Jesus’ perfection is far more clearly seen in me, this imperfect mess. God isn’t through with me yet, and He isn’t through with you yet, either. As long as there is breath in our lungs, Jesus says that there is hope for our souls. He is in the business of changing people, perfecting us into His image. Instead of trying to rush the process or take it into my own hands, I’m decidedly going to start living open handedly before a perfect God, a God who meets me exactly where I’m at but loves me too much to leave me there.
“So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” 2 Corinthians 3:18