Life is hard enough on its own but when you add the pressures of society on top of it, then it becomes almost impossible. In today’s society, there are so many standards and unspoken rules of how a wife, mother, even military spouse should act. It’s the age of Pinterest, where everything is perfect. Trying to hold yourself to all of those standards can drive you mad. I recently read the book Grace Not Perfection by Emily Ley. That book hit home for me but one part in particular pretty much became my motto.
So why do we try to be everything to everyone? I’m obviously not the only one who does this. Why do we feel like we have to be the perfect mom who makes the perfect cupcakes for her kid’s school? Why do we feel like we have to be the perfect wife with the perfectly clean house? I’m telling you, I have run myself ragged trying to be the perfect everything to everyone and you know where it’s got me? It’s got me with three bulging discs in my neck which now they have to decide on whether to do surgery or not. Now I can barely play with my kids much less be the perfect mother. I wake up every day in pain and spend the whole day in pain. There’s no longer perfection from me…but don’t tell anyone…it’s been kind of nice!
I am a perfectionist at heart so when I say this is a hard pill to swallow, I mean it from the depths of my soul. I would be upset with myself it I allowed the house to get too dirty, which was pretty much every day when you have two kids that are 5 years and under. I would be upset if the cupcakes for the kid’s classes didn’t look perfect. If dinner wasn’t ready exactly when I wanted and taste or look how I wanted then I would be mad at myself. Perfection was my drug and I was literally addicted. I might still be had it not been for my neck issues.
Not being able to lift, turn my head, or pretty much do anything means that I have a lot of down time on my hands. At first it caused me to be depressed and not the most fun person to be around. I mean I can’t even lift my kids which is heartbreaking when your youngest just wants you to carry her to bed. Granted, it’s still hard on me but the blessing is that I have learned to slow down. I have learned that nothing needs to be perfect. My husband and kids don’t care if the floors haven’t been mopped this week. If dinner isn’t on time then to my family that means more time to play and enjoy each other. Oh, and those cupcakes I sent to my daughter’s class were such a hit that the teacher made it a point to walk out and let me know that.
No one on this earth is or ever can be perfect. There was only one man that could ever truly say that and his name is Jesus. He died for us and allowed our sins, and imperfections to be forgiven. With his death, God gave each of us grace. So, what is grace? Grace is defined as the free and unmerited favour of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings. If God thinks we are worthy of unmerited favour then isn’t it time that we start thinking of ourselves that way as well? Seriously though, how many times has God told you he thinks your house should be cleaned or that you need to redo those cupcakes? Sounds kind of silly, right?!
Are you a kind individual? Do you follow God’s commandments? Do you try to do what is right? Then how about you lighten up on yourself. If God has bestowed grace upon you then you need to bestow some grace on yourself as well. Like Emily said, start living a standard of grace and not perfection. I’m telling you, your life becomes a lot more fun to live.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s an adjustment. It won’t happen overnight. You will have to work hard to acknowledge your need for perfection and then counter it with grace instead. One thing is for sure though…once you do you will feel much more at peace and your life with change for the better. You can do this! Give up perfection and start enjoying your life! I promise you won’t be sorry you did. <3