Thursday, January 17, 2013

Intentionally choosing imperfect

Life isn't perfect. Sometimes I need to venture outside that fenced pasture like the cow did. 

"In each of our stories, there is a moment when all of our priorities, all of our concerns, are shifted. Our identity begins to change with it. We sense a disparity between what is and what should be. There is a nagging feeling in our souls that something’s been wrong with the world for a while, and when this Moment happens, the feeling is no longer bearable. You no longer “fit” into the old world. You’ve seen too much, heard too many things, and you can’t go back to ordinary living."

{From "Wrecked for the Ordinary: A Manifesto for Misfits" by Jeff Goins}

There is a voice inside me that tells me I can't change my stubborn, perfectionist ways. It echoes as I go about my ordinary life. That's just who you are. Make the most of it. Well, yes, that's who I am.

But that's not all I have to be.

I serve a mighty God who believes in completing the work he began in us. Yes, I'm guessing I'll always find comfort in organizing my drawers, my dreams, and my family. But I don't always have to hold onto expectations that only set up disappointment. I can embrace grace and imperfections that are part of life and realize it's in these moments that God perfects me.

Perfects me as in the process by which I mature and grow and endure in my faith, only by God's grace, wisdom and love flowing through me.

Perfection for me is often wanting to control situations and reactions and details and interpretations and plans. It's about unreasonable expectations and thinking my way is the best way. This seeps into my marriage, my mothering, my friendships, my faith, my routine, and my housekeeping.

This is a message that God has been repeating through my heart. He's using my husband's quiet, steadfast love. Bloggers and authors keep writing words as if they're meant just for me. My kids remind me countless times daily, even though they don't intend to. "No More Perfect Moms" by Jill Savage arrived in my inbox when I needed it most. Prayers not meant for me speak to my heart. My friends and I share real life and I'm reminded how it's glorious even in the chaos that comes with our many small children. I hear songs that remind me to rest easy, rejoice in my new names, and trust in God's unfailing love.

I'm not willing to let perfectionism reign. Yes, it's part of me and letting go is painfully hard. I'm sure it will creep back in when I let my guard down. But I want to embrace imperfection, knowing full well the creator of the universe has the world -- including my family, my plans, and my relationships -- in his hands.

Ironically, I don't really have a specific plan for fighting perfectionism. But I do know doing so involves staying connected to the truth through God's word and continuing to live my life in community. I don't want to fit in the my self-made mold of a perfectionist. I need to venture outside the fenced pasture. I want to trust God to finish the work he's began when I became a new creation. The old is gone and needs to stay gone. The new needs to be evident. I want my decisions and reactions to be intentional.

And that voice inside me needs to hush so my ordinary can change and I can find way out of the pasture fence. Life is out there. And I'm ready, even if it means I may get some dirt on my feet.

This is yet another post in an ongoing series about how God's teaching me to embrace imperfection. Want more? Subscribe to get "Insights" in your inbox. Or follow me on Twitter.

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