I find myself striving for perfection more often than I’d like. Just when I think I’ve beaten the temptation to put on airs, I fall victim to false pretense once again. Recently, our family posed for our annual Christmas card pictures, and we had 3 major meltdowns while we got dressed.
I can’t wear this if she’s wearing that!
My hair looks like THIS??!!
Who stole my sweater?
We were bickering and complaining, and then we slapped happy smiles on our faces and posed for the perfect family picture. We wanted perfection (or at least a facade of it), and we allowed that desire to ruin our afternoon.
Why do we do that? Why do we want to present ourselves as “perfect” to a watching world? Why not just be authentic?
In an age of Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram it seems so much easier to pretend like we have all the answers (thanks google) and do all the craftiest projects (thanks Pinterest). Yet, we struggle to present our authentic selves.
No one wants to post a pic of the pile of dishes in their kitchen sink or a video montage of all the spats our kids have on the way to school. We much prefer showing the “perfect” parts of our lives with a cool filter added to our photographs make others oohhh and ahhhh.
But authenticity requires transparency and admission of failure. It’s truth-telling about all areas of life.
Last night, I hosted Girlfriends (our women’s environment) at Mountain Lake Church as my friend Hannah Whitley talked to us about this very topic. My takeaway from the night:
Perfection is not relatable, but authenticity is.
None of us are perfect. Let’s just throw that out there. Maybe we choose to withhold this truth and live a false life because we think that we have to be perfect to be liked or valued or accepted.
Matthew 5:48 says, “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” The only perfect we need to be is that kind of perfect that Christ calls for us and sets the example to be. Nothing else. Not perfect like your neighbor who has a blemish-free past. Not perfect like your friend who posts pictures of her house that always looks clean. Not perfect like your favorite blog/Instagram account/Christian author. We have one obligation in life when it comes to perfectionism – IT’S CHRIST.
Do you know what HIS idea of perfect is?
Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Wow. All other secular ideas of perfectionism fall to the wayside, don’t they?
Let’s stop pretending. Let’s be real with one another. Let’s share where we are struggling in our marriage, in our singledom, in our parenting, and in our faith. Let’s carry each other’s burdens because we have ACTUALLY admitted we have burdens and failures.
Today, friends, let’s choose to be authentic. Our greatest worth lies in being exactly who God created us to be. Nothing more.