10 points to you if you just started singing the song. 😉
As I sit here in the C Terminal at DFW airport, I find myself mulling over some the wonderful conversation pieces I shared with my friend Grace last night. It’s been a long while since I’ve gotten to hang out with her, so we had a lot of catching up to do during our pre-flight hangout. So much of the conversation was edifying to my soul and gave me a great opportunity of refocus. We talked a lot about the premise of perfection. We talked a lot about the risks that we don’t take due to our upbringing of perfection and how we’ve developed it in our own lives and seen it focused on in the lives of friends.
Often times through our discussion, we reverted to the Pinterest Perfect phenomenon. It’s that moment when you’ve seen something on Pinterest, attempted it, failed, and given up because it’s not PINTEREST PERFECT. We discussed the frustration of spending hours on a craft project only to put in our closet of shame and refuse to share it with anyone because we failed. It not only permeates the way we view our next project (if we even decide to take on another), it affects our willingness to risk the next big step in life . . . what if we fail?
Failure has always been a struggle for me. I’ve grown up on stories of how so-and-so was a failure, and how I would be failure if I didn’t accomplish A,B,C,D, and E. Why don’t I have kids yet? Why don’t I have a boyfriend yet? Why am I not publishing my own books? Why am I not doing ______ in the ministry. Why is our youth group not running 500 students strong? What is the hold up? Why am I not successful? Well, let me tell you, it’s because:
I’m not there yet.
We’re not there yet.
Things are moving in that direction, but it’s just not there yet.
And that’s OKAY. I think. I believe. I hope. It’s taken me an entire year of RENEWAL to truly understand and be okay with that. Is it perfected in me, nah. But is it a reality I’m growing in, you betcha! I have friends whose focal points of conversation seem to be:
- I can’t seem to get this baby weight off fast enough.
- I just want a bigger house.
- My family will never succumb to the pressure of society.
- Being a stay-at-home-mom is the best thing for children.
- A proper Christian attends small group, a church service, and serves ministries on the street 5 days a week, while wearing the fanciest Sunday best.
- All the best moms throw Pinterest Baby Showers/Birthday Parties/Spa Nights
- I can totally snack at this party because I took all my diet pill supplements today.
- By the time you’re 30, you should be married with kids and getting your kids learning sign language by the time they are 2 years old.
And if these are the perceptions of “where I should be,” then by all accounts, I’m hosed.
- I can’t seem to get this baby weight off fast enough. . . . color me Devil’s Advocate, but didn’t you JUST give birth to a tiny human? Give yourself a break—you still have time to slowly get back into a healthy shape. I also mentioned to Grace that one of my favorite things about watching The Biggest Loser is that it reminds me that it’s NEVER too late to turn your life around and make the next best wise choice.
- I just want a bigger house. . . . A better, bigger, life is not made in a building, it’s made through a lifetime of experiences. If I can’t be satisfied in a small house, I’ll have a rough time being satisfied in a large house. We must make the most of the space we’re given.
- My family will never succumb to the pressure of society. . . . Because following your child around 24/7 isn’t creepy at all . . .
- Being a stay-at-home-mom is the best thing for children. . . . There is a 95% chance that I will never be a stay-at-home mom unless I work from home, and even then, those kids are getting shipped off to school. Color me selfish all ya want.
- A proper Christian attends small group, a church service, and serves ministries on the street 5 days a week, while wearing the fanciest Sunday best. . . . Sometimes I just don’t wanna. Sometimes I am too exhausted to. Sometimes I just want to meet with Jesus while I’m sitting by the waterfront and not in a chair in a church building. I don’t always have time to get gussied up in my Sunday best.
- All the best moms throw Pinterest Baby Showers/Birthday Parties/Spa Nights . . . Clearly I won’t be winning any Mother-Of-The-Year Awards in this category. Come over to my house for a chick-flick, popcorn, veggies + hummus, and irreverent conversation.
- I can totally snack at this party because I took all my diet pill supplements today. . . . I can totally snack at this party because I now have a healthy relationship with food and I understand why I’m eating it and it’s not to cover up the fact that I feel I’m the odd person out and can’t relate to anyone at this party. I can totally snack at this party because these fruits and veggies are healthy and these cupcakes were made from scratch and not manufactured and over-processed. I don’t have diet pill supplements because I like the confidence that comes with being able to pick out my own foods and be responsible for what I put in my body.
- By the time you’re 30, you should be married with kids and getting your kids learning sign language by the time they are 2 years old. . . . I’m just starting to learn a little bit of sign language to teach our kids in Kid’s Church right now. I’m hoping to adopt a teenager sometime early next year whether I’m married or not.
And that’s OKAY.
I’ve got a few secrets to share with you:
I went to public school.
I spent the majority of my life eating Ballpark food.
I got caught booty dancing on a table in a classroom at school and flipped off an administrator once.
I sweet-talked (lied) my way out of consequences for that incident.
My mom didn’t use cloth diapers on me.
I’ve never eaten grass-fed beef. Though I HAVE eaten Grass-Fed Beef, it clearly wasn’t different/memorable enough for me to be able to tell that it was . . . and I doubt that it will be something commonly found on my own dinner table in the future.
I still don’t eat ONLY ORGANIC food.
I’ve attempted 4 Pinterest projects and failed all of them with flying colors.
Even when I was “required” to wear dress clothes to church, I refused and wore jeans instead.
I have experienced periods of time where I’ve had no social contact for days and been COMPLETELY content with it!
And in the end, I somehow turned out “okay.” 😉
Do I still have quirky behaviors and a random sense of humor? Yep! and I love it!
Do I have to wake up at 3 a.m. to breast feed my child? Nope! And I love it!
Am I speaking at conferences to crowds of thousands? Nope! And I might someday but for now, the audience I have in Westside Kids and 2Twelve is MORE than enough!
Do I sometimes say the wrong thing at the wrong time? Absolutely! Please forgive me. I’m still learning.
All that to say, I’m enjoying the journey—the journey of being okay with growing and learning. The journey of being okay with not being perfect. The journey of understanding that not only was I born for greatness, but I am great right here and right now, simply because God loves me. I don’t have to rise to perfection. I can finally come to terms with living my best life possible right now, complete with victories and valleys! Also, let me (hopefully not) be the first to tell you that life is SO much fun when you don’t have it all figured out! 😉
As Grace & I finished up our conversation, we reflected on the beauty of seeing mistakes as stepping stones in a forward motion. We rejoiced that we were both on a good track to make the best of the worst situations. It reminded me of a moment yesterday morning (oh stressful Sunday mornings) and one of my youth girls asked me how I was “keeping it all together” when I had teachers out with the flu, last-minute changes, etc. and I said, “I choose joy. If I allow these circumstances to push me down and get me running away, nobody wins. I will be miserable and ineffective for what God has called me to do. These situations suck,* but I choose joy. It’s the only way forward for me.”
Today, let’s choose joy. Let’s choose to be imperfect. Let’s choose to be okay with being completely ourselves and not let our mistakes define us. Let’s step forward and move on to the greater things that God has in store for us!
* That’s youth pastor of the year award material right there, folks!