This last week has been, well, I don’t feel quite like “trying” is the appropriate word. It may be a bit dramatic, but let’s just say, last week pulled me to the edges of myself. I’m sure you’re just dying to hear what brought me to this low abode. Wait for it…I potty trained our two-year-old. Notice the past tense there? People, he’s trained. Hallelujah!
I joke, but in all seriousness, it was an extremely difficult week for me, to say the least. My patience and kindness felt as though they were elusive and fleeting—sliding right through my hands as I frantically tried to grab hold of them in moments of struggle. Many of the days ended with me handing over our son to my husband and telling him that I couldn’t handle one more moment—not one, and Gabe would take him outside and hose him down for a while in the backyard while tears streamed down my cheeks as I cooked dinner. I may or may not have blamed my tears on the onions when my husband came in asking if I was okay. I felt like the child last week while I was doing my darndest to be the adult. Lord, help me.
Now surely you wonder what my point is in sharing all of the gory details of my insignificant week of temper tantrums (on my end, not Martell’s—although he had a few also). Here it is: ladies, we live in a world that feels like perfection is the expectation, and anything short of that is failure. We post our most beautiful pictures of when we’re all dewy and shiny and clean, when in reality we spend the day with unshowered hair pulled up in a bun wearing our paint-stained running shorts (that are, let’s be honest, not used for running), and an old college t-shirt. Social media is running rampant with publicly shaming others for being different or making a mistake that caused an up rise in the media, making regular old people like you and me public enemy number one. I know that these topics are posted about already, and I’m late to the party, but I so believe that our quest for perfection in an imperfect world is planting deep seeds of insecurity in our hearts as women.
Take it from the girl who two weeks ago sat on the couch crying to a friend about how I feel like in moments that I need to discipline Martell, my mind races to a thousand ways my “coming down on him” may be received, paralyzing me to do anything at all in the moment. Or coming from the girl who put off going to the grocery store until there was literally nothing in the refrigerator because I was paralyzed by where to go for the best sales and what to make to stay within the grocery budget. This was rooted in my insecurity of being able to stay-at-home-mommy well enough. In some seasons, I feel shut into the house because of my fear of what others will make of me. Raise your hand if you’ve ever questioned one or more of the following: am I thin enough, fit enough, stylish enough, tall enough, blonde enough, white enough, black enough, edgy enough; is my home designed enough, clean enough, big enough, colorful enough; are my children obedient enough, kind enough, old enough for this, too young for that, cultured enough, smart enough, athletic enough, boy enough, girl enough; is my job prestigious enough, paid enough, respected enough, important enough; is my spouse social enough, funny enough, patient enough, cool enough, involved enough; and if we’re honest the list goes on and on with things different.
The hard truth of the matter is that we aren’t enough. We never will be. That is a part of the mess that is this life. We are far from perfect, and if perfection is the standard for our earthly existence, we won’t ever reach it. I’ve been coming to realize in this season of life that our imperfection is what makes us real, and our reality is what makes us beautiful. My sin, when I’m yelling at my two-year-old to leave the room so he doesn’t keep marching around in his own pee, is most certainly not the beautiful part. The beauty comes after—sometimes immediately after, sometimes at bedtime, when I acknowledge that I broke him with my temper, and before the Lord, I ask my sweet boy for forgiveness.
You see, the beauty comes when we “lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:1, 2a). Our children and our husbands and our friends and our family are going to see Jesus more through us if we own it, and humbly ask for a do-over than if we frantically try to keep every compartment of our lives squeaky clean. It sets the standard of perfection for them, as well, and the vulnerability and transparency and connection go flying out the blessed non-finger-printed, perfectly dusted window.
So rather than crucifying one another and plastering shame all over our mistakes; rather than setting the standard at perfection for ourselves and our people, may we lather one another with grace upon grace declaring the truth—that we are all imperfect, and we get the opportunity to love one another through the brokenness that is found in every nook and cranny of this world that we call home. May we break free from the bonds of feeling frozen in our insecurity.