I struggle with perfectionism. Just being honest.
I sabotage myself if all the conditions aren't right. If my feelings aren't feeling it, if my workout outfit isn't cute, if I don't kick the beachbody instructor's butt more than they kick mine, if the inside of my refrigerator doesn't look like it could be photographed for a health magazine article, if my writing or social media posts aren’t Pulitzer caliber, you get my point.
But what I am slowly coming to grips with is - when working out, writing or completing a task really - done, is better than perfect!
Doing, is living bravely - even if the finished product isn’t perfection. Look, we've all heard it, there is no such thing as perfect. So then why do we chase it? And the upcoming holiday season is when I get the most stuck in the pointless pursuit. I need an escape route. I feel that many times over the course of preparing myself for the holidays.
I admit it, I let myself get caught up in the worldly definition of Christmas, and I'll even further admit, my definition, of it too.
The perfect gifts to create the perfect reaction, the perfect Christmas dinner, the perfect outfit, the perfect clean house, the perfect House Beautiful tree, the perfectly balanced professional and personal life, the perfect attitude, the perfect pretentious joyful heart....
Unfulfilled self expectations led to disappointment, which led to self-loathing, which led to anxiety, which led to more disappointment....you get the picture?
As I drove to work the morning after a somewhat embarrassing Sunday afternoon freak-apart a couple weeks ago, still consumed by the unrelentless feeling of failure, I loudly sang these lyrics in a plea of desperation:
I've been doing all that I can, to hold it all together piece by piece. I've been feeling like a failure, trying to be braver than I could ever be. It's just not me.
So be my healer, be my comfort, be my peace. Cause I can be broken, I can be needy, Lord I need You now to be, be my God, so I can just be me.
To which I heard God sweetly say, "But my Love, I AM your God so could you allow Me to be Me?"
Hmmmm, yeah, about that.
Yes, about that. God was simply just asking - yet once again - for me to just let go of control. And in that moment, it was then that I realized that I had forgotten to ask God to be a part of the perfection I was trying to create. It was then, that I had to admit, without Him - nothing could ever be perfect, including myself, because He is the only perfection.
"But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." Matthew 5:48
What Jesus was saying here was "Let your love be complete as God's love." God loves all people, even messed-up, imperfect ones. This is how we can be as "perfect" as God. To love our imperfect selves, not to condemn ourselves or others and to rely on God's grace to complete our loving and forgiving and acceptance -- including loving our enemies.
I don't know about you, but often times, I am my own worst enemy. And in the midst of those moments, when I am not enough, when I cannot measure up, when I cannot balance all that's on my plate with grace and wisdom and I have hugely disappointed myself - I need to remember that God is whispering amid the noise in my mind...but I AM. When you allow God to enter into your circumstance - His love, His power, His wisdom, His strength completes your love, power, wisdom and strength and dispels any feeling of anxiety, inadequacy and unrest and His perfection is made evident in your imperfection.
When the people brought the adulterous woman before Jesus to be stoned, not a stone was thrown that day, because there was no one sinless in the crowd. The town of perfection had a population of 0. And while Jesus - being perfect, could have very well thrown the ONLY stone - He did not. He did not condemn. He did not rebuke. He did not lecture. He forgave.
How many stones have you cast at yourself this week? This day? This hour? Lay the stone down and let your father, be your Father, he loves you as is. And this year - this holiday, it's ok if all the to-do's are perfectly curated, wrapped or prepared, Martha Stewart isn't invited to dinner anyway and....have you ever had a Christmas where you look back and think about all the things that you didn't accomplish?? Nope. Me either. You'll get it done. Done is better than perfect. Live perfection free because that's courageous living.