Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Cure for Perfection

I was moved by the Single Dad Laughing’s blog on perfection.  If you haven’t read it, you might want to go there first, BUT make a mental note to ignore the graphic at the top of the page.  If you’re a guy it will probably cause you to lust, and if you’re a gal, you might hate your body even more than you already do.

Okay, so great article, right?  Sad, but true.  And the solution is partially helpful. 


Growing up in Dallas, Texas, in the 1980’s I experienced what surely has to be some of the worst pretension in history.  I moved there in the 7th grade from Oregon and showed up for school in my A Smile jeans and a polo shirt.  I thought I was cool, only to find girls there wearing long, full, pleated skirts, heels, and carrying Louis Vuitton bags.  At 12 years old.  Are you kidding me? 

Living in Texas for 16 years certainly influenced me as a person. While living there I always felt I had to have the perfect house, with perfectly well-dressed children, throwing perfect dinner parties, etc. I still have a hard time going to the grocery store without any make-up on.

But it’s not really a Texas thing.  Well, maybe a little.  But the issue of perfectionism runs through all part of the world, in it’s own ways, in every culture.

And being real can be very powerful antidote.

When I was a young mom I was blessed with a new best friend.  We did everything together.  She was kind of a mess.  And she didn’t care.  SHE LET ME COME OVER WHEN HER HOUSE WAS MESSY! (This was in Dallas, Texas, ya’ll.  Amazing.) She didn’t act like she had it all together when she didn’t.  That was an epiphany for me.  Because I still loved her.  I didn’t think any less of her.  And I realized that I didn’t have to be perfect for people to like me either.  They might even like me more.  What a revelation. 

Another “ah-ha” moment I had in being real was with a friend in high school.  She and I knew each other from youth group, but went to different schools.  Because of this, I think we felt we could open up to each other and not worry about our image.  One night we sat on her trampoline and talked about everything into the wee hours of the night. I don’t even remember what we talked aboutBut I do recall the feeling of being honest yet still accepted, and the beauty of hearing another person express feelings that I thought only I had.

But where I think the BE REAL solution is not enough, is that it doesn’t address WHY we feel this desire to be perfect.  If it’s all about being real, then let’s just sit around and pick our noses in front of each other.  No!  Gross!  Not that real.

I believe we have a strong, inner desire to be perfect because we were created for perfection.  Before sin, everything was perfect.  Adam and Eve had perfect bodies and lived in a perfect garden and had a perfect marriage.  We were created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26).  And God is perfect.

But sin entered the world, and now we all suffer from it.  Some people embrace sin, and choose a life of hate, theft, addiction, greed, etc.  Others of us see sin, and don’t like it.  We want to be good.  But if we don’t deal with sin in the way God has provided, often times I think we turn to some small part of our life and try to control it to satisfy our desire for perfection.  It can be our image or reputation.  Our body.  Our home.  Our children. Our career. Or all of the above and more.

And it’s not that excelling in something is bad.  We were created for excellence.  The problem comes when perfection in some area or areas of our life becomes our god.  And turning from the true God puts us in the same group as those who embrace sin.

So here’s the bad news and the good news.  We are never going to perfect.  We don’t have it all together and we never will.  We screw up daily both on a large scale (hating, abusing, murdering) and on a small scale (overeating, not using our time well).  Don’t you like how I categorize sin? Those are my thoughts, not necessarily God’s.

Anyway, we will forever make mistakes and be imperfect.  And the really bad news is that the punishment for sin is death.  God is Holy.  He cannot be in the presence of any sin, no matter how “small.” All that you and I know that is good (life, light, love, beauty) is from God.  So what to do, what to do!

Of course, that’s the good news.  God already did DO.  He satisfied His need for justice in the death and sacrifice of His Son, Himself.  It is finished.  When Jesus rose from the grave he conquered sin and death.  If you have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, that His sacrifice has paid for your sins, you are saved. 

And when God sees you, He sees perfection.

He does. 

You don’t believe it, do you?

Even if you have already been saved.

But it’s true.

You have been cleansed, washed, forgiven.

You don’t have to strive.

You are His precious child.

It does not matter what you have done.

If you trust in Him for your salvation, you are clean.  You are perfect.  When He looks at you, He sees the righteousness of His Son.

2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”


Not by anything that you did.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that now one can boast.  Ephesians 2:8-9

And you weren’t saved for nothing.  You were saved for something.  See the verses just following:

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.  Ephesians 2:10.

God loves perfection.  He is perfection.  He loves beauty and order.  Just look at the world he made.  At least the parts we haven’t messed up yet. 

He calls us to put off sin, to run the race with endurance.  He wants us to abide in Him.  Study John 15 to understand how to live a life of walking with Jesus.  But it’s not striving to earn anything.  He’s already blessed us, if we are Christians, with His righteousness.

Life should be a process of becoming less of me and more of Him, by His grace and in His strength.  And we don’t do this in isolation, but community.  We need to share honestly our struggles and imperfections as we walk with Him.  We do need to be real.  We need to bear with one another.  We need to extend grace, time and time again, to ourselves and to each other.

But somehow, through it all, He looks at me, even now, and sees the righteousness of His Son.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Growing Up Too Fast

He's only six.  

But lately he just seems so big.  

He wants to watch Sports Center and hang with the guys all the time.  

Not that he likes sports or anything.  

Note the two balls he brought with him for his reading lesson... and that he's wearing the beanie Daddy brought home from the Seahawks game.  Even though it's 82 degrees outside today.

We really are doing reading.

Unless, of course, there's a blue jay in the tree outside.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Good Day

So many thankful thoughts running through my head.

Inspiration hit yesterday afternoon while I was looking through some cookbooks, and I had made breakfast, lunch and dinner all before 9 a.m. this morning.  A crustless quiche for breakfast, split pea soup for lunch, and crock pot beef and vegetables for dinner.

This might sound like bragging.  I'm sorry.  I'm just so proud of myself right now :-)

I was also reminded (in another book) to cut up vegetables in large quantities in advance so they are easy to grab.  Duh!  I like vegetables.  I just don't want to mess with them when I'm hungry.  Now I have a container of celery, carrot and jicama sticks to snack on while I make lunch or eat for a quick snack.  It's funny how this is one snack that no one else wants, so I get them all to myself :-)

I worked out for an hour early this morning with a girlfriend (love you, Dayna!), so I'm happy about that as well.  I have 4 regular work-out dates each week, and I'm so thankful for the consistency.  I need it.

I love homeschooling my kids.  Lighting candles on cozy days.  Talking to my husband on the phone during his lunch hour.

I'm also so thankful for our church.  Devotional with the kids is so easy and fun when I'm being spiritually fed, and it's natural to share with them what I've been learning both on Sunday in Tuesday Bible Study.

Of course, in keeping it real, life is not perfect.  I had to apologize to Abby for being irritable with her right before our devotional time.  Ugh!  That always happens.  I had to call about a parking ticket I got when I was trying to pay for parking downtown but the  machine was broken.  I was frustrated, but thought I was handling it pretty well with the gal on the phone, but she railed into me about how rude I was.  Really???  And my children are still in the process of being sanctified... imagine that!  I look forward to the day when I can take "referee" off my list of duties.

But today is a good day, and I'm feeling blessed by my God who continues to do exceedingly, abundantly beyond all I could ask or imagine!  (Ephesians 3:20)

Monday, September 13, 2010


I feel bad that I never write on my blog.

I'm not sure why I have such a hard time with it.

It's not that I don't have time or anything to write about.

It's just that I wonder about posting everything "out there" on the internet, and whether or not it's a good idea to talk about my kids, which is most of my life right now.  And then I sort of hate it when I have something personal to share and I write about it and then I want to tell a good friend about it in person and they're like, "Oh yeah, I read that on your blog."  Hmmmf.  Not that I blame them, but still.  It's kind of a funny thing, this internet.

So anyway, I'm going to try to be more regular.  Because I really like reading all of your blogs.  I just need to figure out how to do mine.

Another hang-up I have is that I really love to put a new picture up with each post, and if I don't have a picture downloaded, I think it's not worth writing.  I'm sure I need to get over that.

But, here's a cute pic of the big girls on their first day back to school.  It was Courtney's first day to public school ever!