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Giving up Perfect

** A perfect blog post would have a really moving picture that would be related to the topic here. I couldn't find one, and I'm working on being okay with that. :)

When driving home from Tennessee a few weeks ago a line came to my mind seemingly out of nowhere that said "Perfection is my enemy." Occasionally this line pops into my head, but usually it's because I've listened to Francesca Battistelli's 'Free to be Me'. This time it was random, although I'm sure inspired by the song I've heard so many times. So I pondered the line and thought for at least the hundredth time... That is so true for me.

I continued on with my day, picking up my husband from his almost week long trip, then arriving to our home in disarray from a combination of holidays and travels. We decided to get ourselves in gear and go to our church small group despite our long day. In fact, I had been hoping all day that we would be home in time to make it. As usual, it was a great night of being with friends and laughing, but more importantly, encouragement and enlightenment from being with this great group of people. Our discussion was about the importance of reading the Bible and why it can sometimes be so hard to stick with it. A few people threw out different reasons such as it being confusing or not fitting into the "normal" societal routine (all very true statements). Then I got the urge to throw out my own personal reasoning for not reading the Bible often enough - Perfection. You see, I have this perfect idea of how my morning should go: I'll wake up bright and early before the kids, exercise, take my shower, grab some coffee, then sit down with my Bible and soak in what God has for me in the calm and quiet.

I could count on one hand how many times my morning has really worked out that way.

As we were ending the discussion my husband shared a thought he had heard before as a challenge for everyone.  If we were going to try to add this habit as a permanent addition to our lifestyle, what were we going to give up? As our friend prayed and asked that question again I felt like I heard God so clearly and simply saying "Give up perfection."

Wow.  That was so huge for me.  And to feel like God had been preparing me all day for His message was so exciting!

How many times has my desire for perfection kept me from doing anything? It seems so backwards, but it truly happens to me all the time. If I can't do things the "perfect" way then what's the use in doing them at all? I feel overwhelmed by the tasks in front of me and decide to shut down rather than attempt.

As the Lenten season has been approaching I've been questioning whether or not I should try to participate, but I've wondered what would I give up that would really make a difference in my relationship with Christ. Then, it hit me as I worked on the draft of this very post that has been sitting on my computer for a few weeks - this is the time to give up perfection. To pray every time I feel overwhelmed by my to-do list or how others see me if I do this or don't do that. To try my best, even if it's not perfect. To be me and be okay with that. To understand I am a constantly changing (hopefully for the better) creation in Christ who doesn't have it all together and never will. And hopefully, this is something I'm not just giving up for Lent, but for good.

Giving Up On Perfect... It has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? An awesome blog title perhaps? It just so happens that a blog I read regularly has that exact title and is written by another mom, Mary, who is figuring out the "journey through an imperfect life." I found Mary's blog through (in) courage and have really connected with her writing. Mary is also one of those bloggers who always replies to comments and when I emailed her with a question about my own blog replied quickly. She's cool like that. It just so happens Mary is doing a series through the season of Lent called Remarkable Faith where she will talk about her faith, but is also asking others to join in and talk about theirs. Jump on over, take a look, and think about participating. I know I'm looking forward to writing some about my own story and reading from others.


On a final note, I know Lent is not only a time of giving something up (Like Diet Coke, Chocolate, or Facebook), but a time of reflection on the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, so I hope no one who is participating in Lent will think I'm demeaning this time. As one who didn't grow up practicing Lent I'm still learning what it's all about, and maybe I will more fully participate one day as I feel called to do so. However at this point in my life, this is what I feel God is calling me to work on.

What about you guys? Do you feel like you struggle with perfection? Are you participating in Lent? If so, I would love to hear what you're giving up and what Lent means to you.
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7 comments:

  1. Another beautifully written post! I totally deal with perfection...mainly in my home. I think that it has too look like a cover of a magazine at all times, but with 2 kids we both know that this is the most unrealistic goal ever!! When & how I am ever going to get over this is beyond me! Why does everything have to look perfect all the time...especially if we aren't having company?!? Maybe I should give up perfection for Lent too! :)

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  2. I have struggled with perfection off and on, but never so much as when I started my own blog (6 weeks ago). I have literally stayed up late nights worrying about it being good enough. I am gone days feeling depressed because I compared mine to others'. God finally got my attention through two things: first, another blogger said "it doesn't have to be perfect" about something she was working on - wow, what a saying, it doesn't have to be perfect! Second, God showed me that Looking Up is not *my* blog. It's His. And he will give me experiences to write about, the words to say, the pictures to use, and make it happy ... in HIS time. So today when I couldn't use my new camera and started feeling the old stress building because I desperately wanted to link to linky parties, since I hadn't posted anything in days - I backed off and kept saying, This is Your blog, Lord. It will happen in your time. It kept me from completely stressing out. I love what you've written here, it is so comforting and reassuring of what He's teaching me. We don't do Lent but I sometimes give up "something" in order to spend dedicated time praying about something specific. My something is usually a "timer stealer," like reading or Facebooking. Thanks so much for sharing, I clicked your Follow button!

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  3. Correction to above comment: I am not *gone* for days :) but rather I have spent days. Love to have your visit my blog, www.lookingupforhelp.blogspot.com

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  4. Brittany, thank you for your kind words and links!! I'm so glad you're going to participate in this series!

    It's funny that you wrote about Francesca Battistellli's song in this post, because first of all, I LOVE that song. But second of all, when I first started my blog, I had some of the lyrics from that song in my sidebar (because I love it and it fits so well with my blog's theme). A lot of my early traffic actually came from people searching for those words!

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  5. I struggle with perfectionism too, so I can definitely relate to what you've said here. I actually thought of this when I was reading your post: http://www.jonacuff.com/blog/1-easy-way-to-kill-perfectionism/ Thought you might like it. :)

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  6. Isn't Mary awesome?

    I'm so glad you stopped by today and yes - we're definitely on the same wavelength, my friend. I like this - giving up perfectionism. I'm praying that together our Lenten "practices" make more room for God. :)

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  7. Nice blog. I get plenty of visits to my blogCheap Soccer Jerseys , but even begging on facebook has gotten me no useful comments. I like the "curse often" recommendation, but I'm trying to be family-friendly myself. Maybe the comment cluster idea...

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