“The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.” - John F. Kennedy
Many times I catch myself building up certain things in my head. I set up unrealistic expectations and buy into the lie, “If I can’t do it perfectly, why even try.” For example, I start believing the only way to attend a bible study is at a church. If I want to invite someone over, I need to have it planned for 2 weeks and make sure my house is spotless. A birthday party needs to have 12-16 kids attending, complete with games and goody bags. Fear of failure and fear of not completely a task perfectly often dissuade me from trying at all. I tell myself the timing isn’t right simply because I am afraid of what people will think and say if the task at hand doesn’t go perfectly. Far too often I miss out on or pass up great opportunities. Rick Warren says, “You will miss God’s best for your life if you listen to your fears and not to God.”
So I am starting to embrace the imperfect. I realize during this stage of my life a bible study might look like friends gathered around a kitchen table while the littles are watching TV in the next room. A lunch date might look like leftovers in a living room while a pretend tea party happens at our feet. A birthday party might look simply like cupcakes at the park with school friends. Too many times I tell myself all these things need to be planned, proper, and perfect. When in reality I just need to be present.
Despite what some people try to convince us of, no one has it all together. It is such an unfair bar we have set for ourselves. When we are honest and vulnerable with each other, we can help reaffirm and encourage each other. When people invite me into their real, ordinary, messy lives, that’s when authentic relationships are formed and I am reminded we’re all broken, hurting, and struggling with something. Why should I be so concerned with people thinking I have it all together when it might mean missing out on God’s blessing or being a blessing? The deepest, most sincere friendships and the most life giving times I have experienced are when people are genuine and unconcerned with perfection. We all know real life isn’t perfect, it’s far from it. I find when we lock arms with each other and embrace the imperfection, there is a freedom we experience. When I give others, and myself, grace as children of God, I begin to see the Amazing Grace God has given us. The devil wants us to compare and compete with each other. But God wants us to be encouraging. He knows we’ll never be perfect. He just wants us present in His presence. When that becomes my priority, the expectations I put on myself fall away. Then I’m free to be present and let God take care of the rest.