Be Imperfect, Be Inspiring

Be Imperfect Be Inspiring

A girlfriend and I accompanied our daughters, Julie and Amanda, on an eighth grade class trip to Universal Studios a few years ago. We had a blast, giggling together late into the night and bravely tackling every roller coaster with the girls. On our last day, we took a final wild ride on Fire & Ice, where we had been instructed to sit on our flip-flops so we wouldn’t lose them when we went upside down.

As we tumbled dizzily out of our seats with our comfy rubber sandals in hand, Julie suddenly proclaimed, “Everybody has shoes!” She had looked around and discovered most of the other riders also had been sitting on their footwear. However, her mom and I thought she said, “Everybody has issues!” and we responded accordingly, launching into a mommy-style discourse on the trials of life. Julie and Amanda looked at us like the truly off-kilter parents that we were in that moment. We all dissolved into hysterics when the girls rolled their eyes and corrected our misinterpretation of Julie’s words.

That story came to mind recently after I saw a quote making the rounds on Instagram:

“You do not need to be perfect to inspire others. Let people get inspired by how you deal with your imperfections.”

Julie didn’t say it, but it’s true: we all have issues. And it’s our approach, attitude and handling of our issues, or our “imperfections,” that allow us to comfort or embolden others. The challenges we’ve had – and the way we’ve faced them – give other people courage and hope in the midst of their own battles. Boasting about how great we are turns people off; it’s humility, patience and hope in the fires and deserts of life that make people want to move toward us, learn more, and share their own challenges.

We may view our imperfections superficially; a good example of this is women’s chronic critique of our own bodies. But most of us understand that our imperfections are mostly internal … our weaknesses, fears, confusion, questions and failures.

Being vulnerable enough to share those types of imperfections with others demonstrates that:

  • We struggle, just like everyone else does.
  • We don’t think we’re better than others.
  • We do not live under shame or guilt. We don’t place those upon ourselves, nor allow others to condemn us.
  • We understand that sharing our problems and solutions with another person can make both of us stronger.
  • We’re willing to walk alongside and encourage someone else who is feeling week or afraid.

I have been inspired to the depth of my soul by people I’m close to who have had to navigate the deepest heartaches and challenges life can throw at us: the loss of a child, the sudden and unexpected departure of a spouse, suicide, and cancer claiming both parents. In the midst, each was willing to share their imperfections –their fears, difficulty navigating the rocky trail, their sorrow. They’ve allowed others to minister to their spirits, to hold their hands and hearts, to encourage and pray for them and allow them to grieve.

“You do not need to be perfect to inspire others. Let people get inspired by how you deal with your imperfections.”

Their imperfections have been inspiration to those walking with them, providing memories to draw on when we’re feeling weak or challenged and reminding us to share our imperfections and let someone walk with and teach us when our road is winding.

Instead of denying or hiding the less-than-ideal parts of our lives, we need to let them be an open door to receiving and giving mercy. Let’s use our imperfections to inspire others, and allow others to do the same for us.

You’ll also like The Plight of the Perfect Mama and True Beauty is Found in a Woman’s Strength

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