Perfect is Boring

Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Sometimes I think the words Perfection and Fear should go hand in hand.

There's a revolution happening among some of my friends. There's a revolution happening with me. Years ago we were involved with a christian organisation that taught that if you made the right choices in every area of your life, you would gain true success in life. Success in marriage, career, family, finances, that it would even make you closer to God, favoured by God.

But I've been learning these last few months that the mirage of a perfect person and a perfect life is as fragile and hallucinogenic as shifting sands. It's there right before you, within your grasp, shimmering and beguiling and always, always out of reach.
And I don't believe God ever intended it to be that way for any of us.

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Because life is not really perfect, is it?

I don't have to be perfect to be happy.
My life doesn't have to be perfect to be fulfilled.
I don't have to make perfect choices to be successful.

We've all been there. We're afraid to make the wrong choices. We're afraid to anger God. We're afraid to spoil our reputation. We're afraid that someone might say, "she's complicated" or "she has issues" or "needy."

Ugly words. Words with stigma.

Ok, so I'm not deliberately going to go out there and make a mess of my life, and deliberately choose the wrong choice, just so I can get life experience. No! God forbid!
I don't think anyone chooses to be knocked down, or in difficulties. No. What I'm saying is that sometimes, even with the best of intentions we're going to do the wrong thing. But it's the lesson learned that counts, and it's what we do with that lesson.

We want to appear perfect. We want everyone to think we have it all together.
Our perfect Christmas cards, our perfect hair. Our perfect figure. Our perfect homes. Our perfect, prestigious job. Our perfect lives. Our perfect choices. We want to show the world that we are successful, and that success has come to us because we made the right choices about everything.

In the christian world, these issues of perfection are even more exacerbated. In the church, where, of all places, it shouldn't be prevalent. We go to God because we know we're not perfect. He is our safe place. He's always there for us when we make the wrong choice, and we realise all over again our vulnerability, our failure, our humanness.

Nobody can achieve perfection. Nobody.
We all have something to cope with in life.... our own cross to bear, because life is not perfect, and it never will be. Sometimes these bad things come to us through no fault of our own, but sometimes you have to accept that you are going to make wrong choices, you are going to make mistakes, you are going to be foolish. But from that comes beauty and an interesting life, a person with depth and courage and wisdom.

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If you could go back to your childhood self, what would you say? What advice would you give, knowing that whatever you said would stay with you through to your adult years?

I would like to go back and tell myself that it's ok to make the wrong choice sometimes.
That from the wrong choice would come Wisdom. Experience. Personal growth.

Trying to achieve perfection without the lessons along the way is fruitless and will probably end you up in therapy.

The richness of life, the value of lessons learned comes through sometimes getting it wrong. We shouldn't be afraid to be wrong. To be a fool.

Perfect is Boring.

photo credit: bobrayner via photopin cc
photo credit: peasap via photopin cc


vegemitevix said...

You've really hit the nail on the head with this post Rachel. I'm finally learning this lesson at the tender age of 46. My life really hasn't gone to plan in any sense and yet I do feel wise and there's a peace in that, a gentle knowledge that I can cope, come what may. If I were to go back to my younger self I would tell her what I have recently told my teens - resilience is all. You will get knocked down in life, even when you think you're doing everything you can to do things 'right'. You will get knocked down, but that's not important. The important thing is that you always, always get right back up. Vix x

Sammy said...

Oh boy have I learned this lesson well over the last few years. I have come to the place where I don't expect life to be easy (and blessed) anymore. They are not the same thing. I can be blessed and suffer enormous hardship. This whole blessed= financial blessing, health and happiness teaching is not true. It's not even something I heard in church more like an expectation I had of life.
Perfection & happy are not things I look for now. Joy is what I find when I look. Totally different. Fabulous post xxxx

Elizabeth Collins said...

I think I would tell myself 'not everyone is going to like you; don't live your life in fear of what other people think'.

I know life isn't perfect, but I still aspire to that... thanks for the reminder that it would be BORING if it ever became that perfect!!!!

Wisdom comes from living... and if gray hair is proof of this; I have piles of it :-)!

Ginny Enas said...

Take encouragement from the Apostles, especially Peter! As a disciple while Christ is alive, he makes the huge mistake of denying Christ. Even when "head" of the Apostles, Paul has to confront him a few times for back-peddling on issues Gentiles becoming Christians. We are in good company when making mistakes.

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