I don’t know where it started, this desire to be perfect. I know I can’t really blame it on Barbie dolls… nor can all the blame be pushed on the 1950s image of the perfect house wife. What I do know is that, somewhere along the way, I formed this notion of perfection. I created this image of the ideal woman, and set out to obtain that image for myself.
When my life fails to meet up to these expectations, I beat myself up. I criticize, I demean, I shake my head in disgust. I hate my lack of perfection.
The image looking back at me in the mirror is 30 pounds overweight, and her hair isn’t perfectly curled, but instead hastily pulled back in a ponytail.
My daughter didn’t smile for most of her Christmas pictures.
There are often dirty dishes in the sink, piles of papers by the computer waiting for weeks to be sorted through, and laundry piled up, ready to be put away, when I finally get around to it.
Sometimes I break down in tears, so overwhelmed by my messy house, less than perfect figure, and the daunting responsibilities set before me.
I’m anything but perfect.
My house is anything but perfect.
My life is anything but perfect.
I never seem to measure up.
It seems like I’ve given these feelings over to my Savior a million times. Yet, time and again, I find myself caught up in the dangerous web of perfectionism. I find myself comparing my life to others, and seeing how much it falls short.
How do I not compare? How do I begin to be comfortable in my own skin? How do I let go of the perfect image I’ve created in my brain, and grab onto the reality of this messy, beautiful life?
It’s a hard one. I’m honestly sharing something with you today that I haven’t truly figured out. It’s a daily struggle with me. What I do know is that my Jesus is faithful. He is able to take all of my struggles and make something beautiful from them.
And so, I’m going to take the advice of a good friend of mine today. I’m going to replace all of the lies in my life with Biblical truth.
“Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1: 5-6, HCSB).
“For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I will praise You, because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know [this] very well” (Psalm 139: 13-14 HCSB).
“But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may reside in me. 10 So because of Christ, I am pleased in weaknesses, in insults, in catastrophes, in persecutions, and in pressures. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12: 9-10, HCSB).
Do you think our society has given us false ideals? How do you deal with feelings of insufficiency? Are there any verses you turn to?