Thursday, September 15, 2016

Perfection: A Masquerade

How people view me has always been a priority.  Since total perfection in this life is impossible, my high school self did her best to create the next best thing: a facade so that others in my Christian school/church community would think I was perfect, or at least close to it.  Maintaining this facade of perfection has become less important to me as I've gotten older, but the drive is still there.

The Facade

A.J. is:
  • successful; a high performer who does things to an excellent standard
  • someone to be counted on
  • a faithful wife who submits to her husband
  • a mom who focuses on all of the right things
  • someone who has had an easy life
  • a dependable friend
  • a strong and involved Christian
  • a faithful daughter who is part of a respectable family 
  • a wise decision maker 
  • a vocally happy person who doesn't get frustrated easily
  • physically healthy
Is it bad for people to think that this is who I am?  No, I don't think so.  I want to be these things, and to an extent, I am.  But it isn't the whole truth.

Who Am I Really?

A.J. is:
  • insecure, especially when someone sees mistakes that have been made
  • terrified of disappointing people
  • not good at submitting to her husband
  • a sometimes failure 
  • someone who hides mental health struggles well (all the way back to childhood - lots of practice)
  • terrible at getting back with people 
  • a doubter who has focused on being good enough instead of on grace
  • a worrier that others will think poorly of her
  • a fisherman of compliments
  • a fake-it-until-you-make-it person
  • a lover of dessert twice a day

Truth Conclusions

Some things are impossible.
Perfection outside of God is an illusion, no matter how hard I try.  It's impossible in this life.  So is complete avoidance of disappointing others.  It's just going to happen.  Jesus is perfect, but I cannot be until I am in heaven with Him.

Jesus died for this.  
He died for my imperfection...every sin I've ever committed and will ever commit - my insecurities, my issues of pride and judging others, my difficulty with submitting to my husband.  All of the lies I've believed and the striving to maintain the facade of perfection.  He died for that.  He died for all of the messiness that is real life as a result of sin, and because of Him, I will be made perfect in heaven.

Gratitude, not Obligation.  It's okay to strive for excellence, but not for it to become an obsession. God shows us grace, and it's okay for us to give ourselves some grace, too.  Our goal should be to glorify God through our lives while understanding that He does not expect perfection.

Community matters.  On vacation this past week, my sister-in-law saved me from some pain.  We were talking while other family members were playing Frisbee on the beach behind me.  As we talked, she moved quickly and knocked the Frisbee away just seconds before it smacked me in the head.  This, my friends, is a true picture of community.  We are present in each other's lives, and we look out for one another.  We share authentically about our true selves and let go of the facade of perfection.  We are real with one another, not in a way that glorifies our weaknesses, but in a way that says, "I am human, and I need help."  We are able to show each other tangible grace and model with each other how God shows us grace.  We have to be okay with talking about the brokenness even while pursuing something whole.

What steps have you taken to throw off the facade of perfection?