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Perfection Not Required

Perfection Not Required

We women are stellar jugglers. The balls of kids, husbands, jobs, chores, classes, friendships and extended family go round and round and never stop. To this endlessly rotating act, we toss up even more balls: helping at our kids’ schools and our churches, cooking meals for sick neighbors and friends with new babies, grocery and clothing and home shopping, managing bills and birthday parties and play dates and hair appointments and laundry and… and… and…

To top it off, we try to be perfect ourselves while we perfectly juggle our balls. We want to be the ideal moms and wives and friends and volunteers and budgeters and employees and business owners. We work to make our homes and wardrobes match the most popular photos on Pinterest. We plan and control so our children will be conflict-free and excel at school and sports, and our work-stressed husbands will relax and adore us.

And, oh, how weary we are. Our perfection-seeking is exhausting! Worse, we know deep down inside that we will never succeed at perfection—yet instead of letting go, we intensify our striving. And that, in turn, only magnifies our failures. And the cycle continues.

But… what if our conception of perfection is completely wrong? What if there is a type of perfection that is ours to have—one that is healthy and actually designed specifically for us?

There is. It is the Biblical definition of perfection: Completeness.

And the Biblical definition of complete is this: to fill to the full, or cause to abound.

Oh, which of us would ever say she doesn’t want to abound?! The word sounds ripe and lush, a picture of a life that is teeming with loving people and shared joy and endless arms reaching out to hold us during the tough times.

Worse, we know deep down inside that we will never succeed at perfection—yet instead of letting go, we intensify our striving. And that, in turn, only magnifies our failures. And the cycle continues.

What makes each of us complete—what fills us to the full—is never going to be attained through desiring and seeking perfection. Quite the opposite; the quest for perfection is always going to fall short and leave us frustrated, critical of ourselves, and working even harder for something we just can’t have.

Instead, what if we just let whatever we do, whatever we have, fill us to the full? And wherever we come up short (for me this is an endless and daily list), we look to God, our Creator who loves us just as we are, to do just that—love us just as we are. With all our faults and messy houses and unwashed hair and sadness and anger and loneliness. What if we let Him love us there so that He can walk us forward—not toward perfection, but toward abounding where we are? Abounding with His help and in His grace, which forgives, dusts us off and helps us get back up.

“You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything” (Colossians 2:10 MSG).

Completeness is inside of us. Right now, right here in the messy and frustrating and weighty and hard and crazy. Perfection—our culture’s view—is a fantasy. Perfection—God’s design—is yours for the taking. No one wants you to be perfect, but I bet everyone who loves you wants you to feel complete today. So give yourself some grace.


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Clare: obsessive watcher of shore birds who loves spending hours shopping online for things she’ll never buy

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