“No one is perfect…that’s why pencils have erasers.” -Unknown
The day began like most days…time spent with God, a cup of coffee and settling in to work and complete the tasks in my day planner. But on this particular day I made two big mistakes… by 10:30 a.m.…and I felt terrible about them! I let my self-talk take over and before I knew it, I was really beating myself up. Thankfully, I stopped, prayed, and changed the words I was saying to myself.
That’s when it hit me…perfection is overrated.
These mistakes bothered me mostly because I felt like I disappointed other people. I also take pride in doing things well, and these mistakes meant I had to admit that I made an error. I was striving to do my best but instead created more work and inconvenienced other people. This was definitely not part of my plan for the day.
As I pondered these feelings of imperfection, I decided to give myself the same grace I extend to others. I definitely needed to fix my errors, but then I needed to let it go. This isn’t easy for someone who strives for perfection. But thankfully God isn’t looking for perfection, He’s looking for a willing and obedient woman striving to do her best and willing to admit when she is at fault.
Now that I can do.
What seeking perfection (& finding it doesn’t exist) has taught me:
- I need others; I can’t do everything myself. There are times in my life when I need the help, advice, and expertise of others. When I cannot do something, it opens the door for me to ask for help. It allows others to use the gifts God gave them. My imperfections become a way for someone else to use their strengths. God created us to perfectly need others!
- Everyone makes mistakes. The day I made my two big blunders, I was hurried and trying to do too much in too little time. I wasn’t being careful with details, so it’s not surprising I made these errors. But, there are many times when I take my time, double check details and I still make mistakes. But guess what? Other people mess up, too! When someone else makes an error I am usually gracious and forgiving. I am learning to be gracious and forgiving with myself, too.
- The fear of perfection keeps you from starting a project or trying something new. There are times when I want to begin a project, like organize my closet, but I won’t begin until I think I have all the correct supplies and materials. I also need the right plan – do I put my sweaters in a tub or stack them. See where this is going?! I’ve observed successful people over the years and they also strive to do their best work. But the difference is they just get started. They make a plan and gather the materials, but they don’t let the fear of imperfection paralyze them from beginning the task. This thought process also keeps you from trying new activities. You may worry you won’t be perfect at golf or some other sport so you decide not to even play. Take the advice of Nike and “just do it”!
- My imperfections allow God to shine. There are times I allow my self-talk and even the talk from other people to turn my mistakes into negative and paralyzing situations. But ultimately I’m not here to serve other people…I’m here to serve an audience of ONE. God’s plans are perfect. My imperfections or cracks allow God to shine through – big and bright!
“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.“
2 Corinthians 12:9, NLT
Don’t cover up your imperfections…the world needs to see God shining through you. Trying to be perfect will only keep you from being productive and living life to the fullest. Don’t let the fear of imperfection keep you from living a life you truly love!