I’m so tired with ‘perfect’.
Perfect homes. Perfect thighs. Perfect lifestyles. Perfect hair. What I want to know is who actually decided that perfect was the standard we should be aspiring to anyway? And is this quest for fantasy-style living the message we really want to absorb, never mind pass on to our daughters?
Furthermore, how do our disabled friends, the rather more mature or the financially challenged feel about this vision of glossy, fit perkiness? For so many different reasons, a large portion of us feel excluded from the picture of success that is continually painted around us every day, and even disappointed about our own life in comparison.
But here’s the real deal folks: Wrinkles are normal. Clutter won’t stop the world from turning. Cooking pizza again won’t destabilise the family. Sometimes good enough really is good enough.
Most of us need to lighten up on ourselves and accept that we are doing okay. Contentment is found in appreciating more deeply what we have and how far we have already come. But, equally, most of us have an intrinsic desire to develop, grow and improve – the very same desire that advertisers so willingly exploit. Often, what we really need however, is an adjustment in our thinking – to renew our minds if you will. God loves and accepts us as we are, but also has more in store for us and that is exciting.
So, instead of constantly comparing the different areas of our life (relationships, lifestyle, career, ministry) with perfection, it is far more constructive and infinitely more motivating to look at both where we are satisfied and where we know we need to be stretched next.
Perhaps I do need to be fitter and maybe my spare room does need a refresh within the next 12 months. It could be that my career has stalled a little and I need some coaching or maybe I need to invest in my marriage in a new way to keep it moving forwards. But my final goal is not to look like Kate Moss or to run a multi-national organisation; my goal is to steward well the gifts, relationships and resources that I have been given.
The truth is, I am always going to be more limited in some areas and blessed in others. I can’t do everything well, my time is stretched and I struggle often. You’re probably the same. We will always have flaws and limitations.
The challenge for us is to focus on what we can do with what we do have, instead of focusing on what we can’t do with what we don’t have.
We are fabulous, not because we are a glossy insta-glamourous picture of perfection, but because we know that our life is valuable and precious and that it matters how we live.
Let’s remind ourselves of these words daily as we counteract the constant messages of perfection:
Grateful for what I have. Growing into all I can be.
To ponder further:
What areas of my life am I currently content with? Make a gratitude list for as many things as you can today.
List the areas of your life where you would like to see more growth. What are your realistic goals for the next year? What is the next right thing to do in each of these areas? Give yourself some realistic deadlines and diary it in.
Is there somebody who you could share with or pray with about these gratitude and growth areas? Write them down at least. Stay accountable.
Read the Flawed chapter of my book Digging for Diamonds for some further encouragement.