I’m Ditching Perfection Because My Best Is Enough
Once again, I grabbed a shopping cart to complete what seems to be my four-times-a-week run to Walmart. As I was rolling down the aisle, I passed one of those cardboard boxes that sits strategically in your path. You know—those big old things that you have to navigate your shopping cart around. The reason it’s placed there is so you will go slowly, pause, and purchase something that wasn’t on your list and that you didn’t know you needed until that very moment.
This particular brightly-painted bit of corrugation had wall art in it, the kind that’s there to inspire us. I’m pretty sure the piece that caught my attention was targeted at women. It stated this: “You don’t have to be perfect to be amazing.” Well, alright, that’s nice. But I didn’t need it—no wall space at home—so I left it out of my cart.
Perfection Is a Trap
But, as I rolled on, I thought, “When did women start feeling that they had to be perfect or amazing? When did we start calling ourselves queens and create images wearing capes?” It feels like by heading down this path, we’ve created another trap for ourselves. A trap that’s nearly invisible. We don’t realize it’s there until it’s almost too late. This inspiration we tout so freely on wall art, journals, and social media simply trade one adjective for another.
So, we don’t have to be perfect, but we can be amazing. Telling ourselves that we are still amazing feels so good. Patting ourselves on the back and rolling down the aisle to finish our shopping—we are amazing even then!
Until our child throws that inevitable tantrum the entire store hears because that unnecessary toy doesn’t make it to checkout. Or half of your list is out of stock, and you’re going to have to stop in three more stores, or it’s cereal for dinner once again. Or you got back into the car realizing you have less than 1/16 of a tank of gas, and you have to make one more stop that will make you late for that appointment.
We Don’t Need Another Bar to Meet
I think it’s time we step away from the well-meaning slogans we tell ourselves and each other. We all need encouragement and a confidence boost now and again, but what we don’t need is another bar to meet. We don’t need to be amazing, and we don’t need to be perfect. We simply need to live every day being okay that our best is good enough.
I think there’s an expectation of living life in the adjectives—amazing, beautiful, strong, brave—that leaves us wanting. These become our goals rather than the outgrowth of our life. Instead of waking up each morning saying to ourselves, “I will be strong today,” I think we need to say, “I will get out of bed and get the kids breakfast.” Then I will take them to school, get to work, be my best me, and try to end the day being able to say, “This turned out to be a pretty good day.”
In this world of slogans, it’s easy to miss that you cannot capture life in clever phrases. As insignificant as they appear, it’s the things we do for others that develop the descriptors we hope are used to define us.
There is a song entitled “When All Is Said and Done” by an artist I worked with. It was written while contemplating what he hoped would be remembered when his journey on this earth was over. I believe these simple words speak of what creates the amazing part of who we can be:
Will they say I loved my family?
That I was a faithful friend?
That I lived to tell of God’s own son?
When all is said and done.
Recognizing that these truths make life rich and complete is the healthiest and most peaceful way to walk this earth. But sometimes it seems complicated; we want to feel like we matter, that someone would look at us and say, “You are an amazing woman.” That’s not wrong or impossible, but clinging to phrases won’t fill the need we all have.
As insignificant as they appear, it’s the things we do for others that develop the descriptors we hope are used to define us.
Here are a few life guidelines I think would help us all find balance and contentment:
Understand that the ebb and flow of confidence and self-assurance is natural. Our highs will never be high enough to keep us from falling. And our lows are not as devastating or dire as we believe in the moment. Both are also temporary. It’s in the plodding middle that you will find contentment in life. It is also where our character is perfected.
Remove unrealistic expectations or demands. Whether it comes from well-meaning quotes, friends, social media, or even your mother-in-law, take these out of your life. No one can be amazing, strong, and brave all of the time. But being true to yourself, offering grace to yourself and others, and being faithful to do your best all the time is enough to show how amazing, strong, and brave you are.
If you care to do well, that’s enough. Life is more about our caring than our doing. Having the desire to be faithful in your relationships, to be a valuable employee, a good mom, a child of God who He can be proud of is really what matters. Actions will follow heart, so rest in that.
Stand for what you believe. Don’t compromise on your value, your worth, your principles. They will keep you on track to living a full and rich life. They will also protect you from the impact of others who can destroy your self-worth and take you away from the road you are to travel.
Live life to the fullest. Spending so much time pondering what we are, if we stack up, or where we fail robs us of what this life offers. Every day will bring both joy and challenges. Embrace them and treasure them all: the relationships, accomplishments, and glimmers of beauty around you.
Doing this will provide an incredible landscape in which to paint your life. Your view will shift from uncertainty to thankfulness for the life you’ve been given.
Our Best Is Enough
I don’t want us to feel we have to be perfect or amazing. My desire is like generations of women before us—that we live our best life.
There are countless women lauded before social media, and slogans are abundant on every wall, in every aisle. Mothers whose sons spoke of their impact at the celebration of their accomplishments, stating their mom helped shape them into the man they were. Tears shed at the passing of a woman treasured by her family. Lives saved by the selfless acts of caregivers. Homes filled with warmth because of the women who lived there.
It’s what we do each day that will create the adjectives that accompany our name. We don’t need to set a new bar to reach. We don’t need to wear a cape or say we are a queen. We need to live in the middle of life, loving our family, being a faithful friend, graciously telling of God’s Son. That’s what will create the accolades that are so much more than a sign on a wall—when all is said and done.
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