Do you want to know how to give up the expectation of perfection? Change your perspective. When we start looking horizontally at the other women around us and stop looking vertically toward the only One who truly defines our identity, we start comparing. And when we start to compare, someone has to lose. Someone has to end up as less-than. But what if we settled into the truth that the God who created the universe is infinitely creative, and that He created each of us to serve His kingdom in our own strengths – where we are. Not where she is or how she’s doing it. But exactly where God has placed us – flaws and all.
Because here’s the thing about the myth of perfection.
It’s a myth.
Since my job requires me to work primarily online, no matter how authentically I try to portray my life, I still have women ask me “how to do you do it all?” All they see are little snippets of my life – edited photos and short status updates that suddenly become the whole of who I am. Isn’t it like that in real life, too? We see a woman who seems to have it all together – the perfect children, the perfect house, the perfect outfit and we feel even more imperfect as we focus horizontally and compare her story to ours.
But what we don’t see is where she struggles. We can’t see the fight she had to get her children into the car to get to church where they suddenly behave like angels when other people are around. We don’t see that she feels lonely and maybe she’s looking at your life wondering “Wow. How does SHE do it all?”
Can we just pause for a moment and agree that no one “does it all?”
Nearly every insecurity in my own life has come from the belief that I need to be perfect and when I’m not, when I fall short or make a mistake or drop the spinning plate or miss a deadline or forget to send the sunscreen to daycare – I consider myself a failure. And when it works out and I’ve accomplished the “thing” in my own power, by my own will? Guess who gets the glory?
I become so focused on what I can and can’t do that I forget that God has sent one – ONE – perfect human to walk this earth who deserves worship and praise. And it’s not me.
I forget about grace, I miss the beautifully ordinary moments in the middle of the mundane, and I forget what the Gospel is truly about.
The Gospel is about Hope. It’s about Life. It’s about looking beyond the tasks that we think we need to do perfectly to gain acceptance and realizing that we are perfectly loved and accepted by God – and His only command for us is to love. Salvation comes by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.
There are no qualifiers. Scripture doesn’t say “love perfectly.” It doesn’t say “raise children perfectly.” It doesn’t say “live perfectly.” The Gospel doesn’t say the way to heaven is through perfectly folded laundry. The Gospel is about Jesus and when we look into ourselves and focus more on becoming a little more like Him each day, we can let go of the expectations of the world and find joy in who WE are – and celebrate the women around us for who THEY are in Christ.
We can start to be women, mothers, sisters, daughters, friends who avoid the paralysis of perfectionism and instead choose to pray for our purpose and do the things we are called to do. We can act without fear of failure. We can be women who depend on Jesus – a dependence that finds peace in saying “I can’t do it all. But Jesus can. And He will fill in the broken places.”