Two things will kill our dreams before they even begin to grow – fear and perfection. One is a notorious killer and we consciously try to fight and overcome. The other is a sly killer that we hide in our hearts, under the concern and need for self-preservation. No one wants to be seen as imperfect, especially in our “perfect world”.
When my girls started swimming lessons at the local community center, my youngest was about 4. We were getting dressed to go the first day and my youngest ran up to me, pointing to her swim cap and said, “Mommy, fix this”.
I looked at it and it seemed fine, but I tugged at it a little more, just to assure her. She scurried on her way.
About a minute later, she came back and said, “Mommy, can you fix it again?” I didn’t think much about it, so I pretended to tuck her hair a little more and this time I told her it was fixed the right way.
30 seconds later, she comes back whining and says, “Mommy, it’s WRONG!”. Exhausted and out of fake excuses, I asked her, “What’s wrong with it? It looks perfect”. She replied, pointing to the Speedo logo on her forehead, “This is backwards in the mirror!”
I smiled, holding back the urge to laugh at her naivety, and explained to her the effects of a mirror!
So often, we look for things to be a certain way before we begin a task. We don’t bake the cake for our friend, because it won’t look like one from “Cake Boss”. We won’t sing that song, because we won’t sound like whoever we think is the greatest singer of all time. We won’t write that book, because we don’t think we can produce words as fluid as our favorite author or novelist. We won’t go to the gym, because we look like we need to go to the gym!
Being perfect slightly taps into the need of being in control. We want to be in control of how others see us. Somehow we tell ourselves that if I do this, then everyone will see me like that. But what is “that” and why do we need to be “that” anyway?
I really like Paul’s take on perfection. He knew he wasn’t perfect. He knew he had many “thorns” and obstacles that could have held him back and stagnated him on his journey, but he pressed on anyway.
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Philippians 3:12 (NIV)
What we fail to understand is that we are actually just what the world needs right now. We are perfectly imperfect and he is waiting for us to use our talents, for his glory.
Here are a few things I wrote down and hung on my wall to remind myself to let go of my need for perfection:
- Look at how perfect Picasso’s work was! Make a mistake and see what happens… it will probably be a work of art!
- You will NOT get a medal of honor for being perfect! Really, you won’t.
- When someone says, “clean as a whistle”, that’s actually pretty gross…whose standards are you trying to keep up with???
- Forget about the “in a day” theory – Rome wasn’t built by one person – trust others to help you and let perfection go!
- The day will come, and the day will go…without your permission – let go of “perfect” and enjoy the moment.
Some of our standards of perfection are so outlandish that there is no way we can see how perfect our “imperfections” really are. Don’t look at yourself backward in a mirror. God has created you JUST RIGHT! He gave some pretty special talents to YOU, and he has placed you right where he wants you to be in order to use those talents…. right now!
Little POW-wow, Pearls of Wisdom
· Which do you struggle with more – fear or perfection? If you are not sure, take a moment to really unveil what is holding you back from achieving your dreams.
· Sometimes you have to work things from the outside in! Write out a few people you admire from a distance and jot down how their imperfections are really perfect. Then do this exact same exercise for yourself!
Tune My Heart…
Before I tell you about today’s song – take a sheet of paper and write down the word “YONDER”…. (just humor me … I will explain….)
Carole King is the most successful female songwriter of all time. She has written or co-written 118 pop hits on the American Billboard Hot 100 and has also written over 60 hits that charted in the UK. Some of her hits include: “The Locomotion”, “(You Make Me Feel) Natural Woman”, “One Fine Day”, “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”, and “You’ve Got a Friend” – just to name a FEW! She started her career as a songwriter in the early 60’s and later became a very successful artist herself.
“Way Over Yonder is from her album Tapestry released in 1971. The lyrics speak of finding a place where troubles are lost and worries are left behind. A place where she’ll ‘stand up proudly in true peace of mind’.
There is no such place!
When you finish listening to this beautiful and moving song, take that sheet of paper with “YONDER”, written on it, put it on the floor, and STEP OVER IT! Then you can say you have made it “way over yonder”.
You are perfectly standing in an imperfect world – so go for dreams. ENJOY!
Traci D. Fuller, Pearls and Pretty Pens © 2020