Stamping Out Perfection

I clicked on a link on twitter a few days ago which led me to a blog post about how to write the perfect blog post. I almost thought it was a joke, but no, this is real people. There are studies and statistics and graphs and ratings and categories on how to write the perfect blog post. I read through it, making note of how many things I don’t do and how “imperfect” my blog posts are…and then I stopped reading, almost sick to my stomach (and truth be told, this isn’t the first blog post I’ve seen on this topic). And later that day I was in the check out line waiting, and I noticed an article on the cover of a magazine entitled “How to Get the Perfect Pet in 6 Easy Steps.” And I was struck, yet again, at America’s infatuation with perfection (I obviously don’t need to read that article, as you can see I already have the perfect pet…).

I did a quick google search with the word “perfect” in it and found links to articles on how to get the perfect body, perfect skin, perfect house, perfect job, perfect abs, perfect baby; how to have the perfect vacation, perfect summer, perfect relationship, perfect reading list for kids, and the list goes on. How can I match up??? Is there any room for mistakes??? And then I remembered loud and clear how I was telling my mom about this sweater I sewed for myself, and how I said, “It’s not perfect, but…,” proof that I too have been sucked into this idea that there is a perfect out there and that there is a certain discontentment in everything because nothing can be perfect.

We will never reach perfection…we can strive after it all we want, but the road to perfection in an earthly sense is laden with grief and sadness, often stress and depression, because it’s unattainable. And I’m not sure how we ended up here as Americans–I guess along with progress and modern conveniences, inventions that really do make life easier, comes this expectation that really, everything needs to work out perfectly, and we almost can’t function unless it does.

Life is not perfect. Our walls keep cracking after a beautiful kitchen renovation, and we complain, wishing our perfect kitchen could stay that way. The shoulder seems on my sweater are a tad off, the crack in the windshield is staring at me, my swimsuit points out the curves I’m not proud of. We notice the imperfections in ourselves, our bodies, our kids, our schools, our churches, and we breed this atmosphere of discontent, always striving for better, better, better.

It’s not that better is bad. I want to get better at sewing, I want to be a better wife & mom, I want to be better at playing the piano, a better blogger for that matter, and it’s good to work on things and be the best we can be, right? God absolutely doesn’t want us to live a second rate life of laziness–do the research, study, excel, definitely!

But our goal cannot be perfection, because we will be constantly disappointed. If I’m seeking to write the perfect blog post, then I’m honestly not being me, because I’m seeking the wrong goal. Sure, if there are tips to the trade, I can apply them here and there, but if it drives me away from who God wants me to be and distracts me from His purposes, then it’s the wrong goal.

I’m going to try to stop saying things like, “It’s not perfect, but _________” What’s the point of that? Is that really what makes everything good, if it’s perfect? How disappointing, because it can’t be perfect, and by whose standards is that perfection achieved anyway? And when I say things like that, I’m really announcing my heart of discontentment anyway, telling everyone that I’ve bought into the world’s standards of perfection and I won’t ever be happy until I meet up to those standards.

Worship the PERFECT ONE, don’t worship perfection.
When my heart is feeling discontent because my ventihood over my stove is seriously too loud, or my body just won’t match up to the standards that be in society, remember the One who is perfect, and look to Him, worship Him. It’s so tempting for me to hang around within my mind in the pit of perfection, feeling angst over not meeting up to the perfect standards set by me or this world. And yet God just wants us to look to Him who is perfection, period.

2 Samuel 22:31-32,
“As for God, His way is perfect;
The Word of the LORD is proven; 
He is a shield to all who trust in Him.
For who is God, except the LORD? 
And who is a rock, except our God? 
God is my strength and power, 
and He makes my way perfect.”

Thanks for thinking through these things with me…
To read something true and good on writing blog posts, check out this article by Kari Patterson on her blog, Sacred Mundane–and this follow up article. She has such a beautiful way with words, loves the Lord dearly, and is so open and honest with her heart, such an encouragement to me. 
And also, for something good to read along the lines of home decorating with a purpose, check out Myquillin Smith’s blog and her recent book The Nesting Place–I am in love with this book! She has lovely style and her motto says it all, “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful,” and yet this woman understands beauty in a truly God-given way, but without all the external pressure of perfectionism. 

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  • ha! you DO have the perfect pet!

    I read your post last night, and have been thinking about it . . . the funny thing is . . . the people that I admire most in this world are not PERFECT people, but rather humble, GROWING people. (and yet, I still find myself wanting to be perceived as at least near-perfect! sigh)

  • yes that’s so true Naomi! I feel the same way!