In the time in which we live, the pressure to be perfect is greater than ever. We have so much opportunity to be connected to one another – which often results in watching the highlight reels of our friends’ lives on Facebook. We have the world at our fingertips – which means Martha Stewart and her cousin Pinterest are in front of us, begging for our attention. And of course, as Christian women we have the almighty Proverbs 31 woman as an example of how to live. In many women, these things breed discontentment and even contempt for the aforementioned wonders. So much hate goes out for social media, the Proverbs 31 woman, and Pinterest for the ‘expectations’ they force on us. Personally? I don’t get it.
I’m not sure why, as women, we picked up the mentality that we have to do it all perfectly, or else it wasn’t worth trying. I don’t know where it became necessary to compare ourselves to the loftiest of goals or the most professional of homemakers, and see ourselves simply as failures. I can’t understand why we can’t see the greatness that’s out there as inspiration, and allow it to shape us and grow us piece by piece, rather than allowing it to turn our hearts toward loathing. We don’t treat our children that way. I don’t know of any woman who looked at her three year old swinging a bat and thought “Well, he isn’t Babe Ruth, so I don’t even know why he tries.” or looked at the meal her husband lovingly put together for their anniversary and said “He isn’t Wolfgang Puck, so I’m not eating it.” I certainly don’t know of any mom who watched her daughter twirl through the living room and began hating the Russian Ballet as a result. That would be ridiculous, wouldn’t it? So when it comes to us – our home management, our parenting, our crafting, our wifing (totally a word), our bible studying, we can’t seem to give ourselves the grace to do simply enough. To put ourselves out there and do just what we can today, without the worry that it won’t be perfect, and then do the same tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.
If I’m honest, I’ve been guilty of this. I fear sitting down to write, or to share what I’ve done. I know I’m not the best that’s out there, and I let that hold me back from being out there at all. There are sewing projects I haven’t even attempted because I didn’t know I would walk away with an amazing finished project — in fact, more often than not, I put it off until I can’t fight the desire to try any longer, and end up at my sewing machine at 2 am because that’s when the courage finally hits me. There are books I haven’t cracked the spine to because I can’t be certain I would be able to finish them, ‘so why even start?’ But isn’t that how you finish a book? You begin. Each year, there are crafts that sit on my pin board, and my mind dances around how much fun my children would have with them, but then I think of the mess, and the fact that I can’t guarantee that I’ll finish the craft without my chest getting tight over the fact that turkeys aren’t green and rabbits aren’t purple and those jewel things were supposed to go on the top and not the bottom and I just might end up yelling so I should probably just leave those crafts on my pin board and maybe we’ll try it one day when I’m more patient. But you know what happens when I do attempt one of those crafts? We sit at the table, and I explain it all, and I walk my 7 year old through how it works, and she inevitably does something creative that wasn’t in the directions, and sometimes I yell, and sometimes I get so frustrated that she just. can’t. follow. directions. and sometimes, there’s about a 5 minute stint mid-craft that is not fun at all. But she doesn’t remember that part. She remembers me getting the project out, and laughing with her at the poorly written directions, and she remembers finishing it off and having me display it proudly and showing off to people just how talented she is.
She’s already let go of the perfect. Maybe I should simply follow her lead.
In the time in which we live, the pressure to be perfect is greater than ever. But girl, it’s all you. Let go of the pressure to be perfect, and just live in the joy of the crazy. You might blow up. You might burn the pumpkin seeds. You might be late to dinner and have one kid show up without shoes. But this will pass more quickly than you know, so enjoy it. Imperfectly.