February 5, 2014

Perfectly Imperfect

Last May, I read this post, "Why You Should Show Off Your Imperfections" on Storyline blog, and was encouraged by the author's thoughts on perfectionism. I wrote a post in response to his thoughts but only left it up for a day or so. It was far from perfect and needed some good, strong editing that I didn't have the time to give it. So, almost a year later, here it is again, edited, but still imperfect, which is really what I'm after anyway. (smile)

This post got me thinking about how fast I want to run from perfectionism and throw it off like a thick, bulky coat on a hot summer day. I don't want to be perfect, or need to be perfect, and I definitely don't want the toxic fear and control perfectionism creates and breeds. I don't want it anywhere near me, or near those I love, and I certainly don't want to be the one carrying it around and throwing it on others.

But…  I'm not quite there yet. I have all the makings of a perfectionist and I dabble in the craft much more often than I would like or care to admit. Somehow, I wrongly assume that if everything is in order and seemingly perfect… my schedule, my house, my children, my husband, and me… well, then life will be in order and seemingly perfect, too. Plus, it will feel somewhat safer, more predictable and manageable, and that's the way I like it. False security is probably a good name for it.

When life feels scattered and nuts, when my inner world is rocked and I'm scrambling for solid ground, I find myself making lots of lists, organizing drawers and closets, and fluffing the pillows till they're just so. I straighten the pictures on the wall, arrange the books on the coffee table till they're fully aligned, and I wipe down the counters until there isn't a crumb or smudge to be found. And I do all of this like I breathe… without even thinking about it. I somehow figure that if my outer world is perfect and in order, then my inner world will be too, and all the arranging and straightening and wiping just makes me feel better.


Life is not perfect. We all know that. Just a look at the day's news proves that true. Life is messy and organic and raw, far from pretty, and often quite ugly. We live in a fallen world. Good exists, but evil does too, and this is neither Eden or Heaven. Not only do difficulties and messes and accidents and conflicts happen each and every day, but so do horrible tragedies. It's both futile and impossible to try and prevent them and create and manage a perfect life. It can't be done and to live trying to do so only brings bondage and strife. We'd be so much better off if we recognized that and turned from our perfecting, controlling ways.

There's great beauty and freedom that comes from living perfectly imperfect, real, and honest lives... lives that rely on and rest in God, in his ability to bring good from evil, to turn messes into masterpieces, and to take what is terribly flawed and make it perfect. He never intended for us to hold the world or ourselves together. We are not and will never be in control. He is.

Gratefully, as I become ever more a woman who's free and alive and resting in Jesus, I dabble in perfectionism less and less. But when I do catch myself going there, I purposely mess up the stack of books on the coffee table and leave dirty dishes in the kitchen sink. I don't take a shower and put on makeup, and I stay in my yoga pants, or better yet, my jammies, all day long. I don't make my bed, I let the dust collect on the furniture, and I tell myself to get a grip, lay it down and let it go.

Thank goodness, I don't take myself as seriously as I used to. I know I'm far from perfect and I'm more grateful than ever for God's grace. I really don't need or strive to have it all together anymore, which is such a wonderful thing, because not only am I much more fun to be around, Lord knows I'm terrible at faking it. (smile)

 Am I speaking your language here? Does any of this sound familiar? Do you also have all the makings of a perfectionist? Feel free to share in the comments below, if you'd like. I won't judge you. I'm right there with you and so grateful for a God who doles out endless amounts of grace and patience.

These are perfectly imperfect photos from my home on a random weekday. Though my bathroom and laundry room were a mess, my kitchen sink was looking pretty good, I must say. (winks)



  1. Jenny,
    Well said, friend. I love how you articulated these words. After reading this, I was reminded to cast out the spirit of perfectionism, in Jesus name. And replace it with rest, peace and an all knowing that I am enough.
    p.s. is there an option to post this to pinterest? I want to post all of your posts there!=))

    1. Thank you for your warm words and insight, Kari. Yes, we so want to pray against the spirit of perfectionism, casting it out and claiming God's peace and rest, and the truth that we are enough... just as we are! How kind of you to want to pin my posts on Pinterest! If you have a "pin it" button on your computer that will work. When you're on the page of the post you want to pin, just click your pin it button, pick one of the pictures that pops up, you can edit the caption if you'd like, then click "pin". I'll also start adding a "pin it" button to my posts. You can also share on Facebook, if you'd like, by clicking on the Facebook logo at the bottom of each post, right above the labels. Thank you for your heart in wanting to share my posts! You were always such an encouragement to me in my writing. Love you, friend...

  2. This is so good and so encouraging for me today. I'm learning (slowly) to let go of perfectionism and just be free.

    1. Me too, Jaime… Me too. We're all in process, aren't we? I'm happy this post was an encouragement to you. Can't wait to see you soon!


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