When I had my picture taken for the backs of my books for grown-up women (as opposed to mini-women) I tried to get my make-up just right and made sure every hair was in place and spent, like, an hour picking out the exact top to wear. But when I looked at the shots when they were done, yikes -- there were strands of hair sticking up, and my left eyebrow was doing something funky, and since when did my nose start taking a turn to the right? What happened to perfect?
Yeah, well, there is no perfect in people, and when we think perfection is possible and we start expecting it from ourselves -- we have just put up a major roadblock to being the true selves we were made by God to be.
Here's the deal: when you're just being yourself, you are GOING to make mistakes. I'm serious. No matter how hard you try, sooner or later you're going to accidentally hurt somebody's feelings, make a bad choice, grab the last cookie -- whatever. It WILL happen, and it will happen often, because you are a person. But -- here's a news flash: YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE EVEN MORE MISTAKES IF YOU ARE ALWAYS ASKING THINGS LIKE:
*What if I wear these leggings to school and people say my legs are too fat? Or too skinny? Or too long?
* What if I don't get a 100 on the test? What if I miss one? What if I spell something wrong? What if my handwriting is messy? What if I totally fail and then I don't get a scholarship and can't go to college and can't get a good job and I starve and I die?
* What if I make some weird noise when I'm laughing and people think I'm a moron? What if I don't laugh and that hurts somebody's feelings or people think I'm a snot and have no sense of humor?
* What if I ask too many questions? What if I don't ask enough? What if I ask the wrong ones?
Do you get the idea that you can pretty much drive yourself (and everybody else!) nuts with all that what-iffing? Instead, try focusing on What IS. Here's what IS true: (repeat after me!)
* You're not perfect, and you never will be. Never.
* Nobody else is perfect either. Nobody. Only God, who isn't a "body" anyway
* You can only be almost-perfectly yourself -- and even then, nobody is always exactly her true self 24/7.
* Trying to be perfect at absolutely everything doesn't make you perfect. It only makes you feel like you're never good enough.
* The closest you can get to perfect is to pour out the love -- on God, on other people, and on yourself
So does this mean you shouldn't try to be the best you can be? No -- that's not what I'm saying at all. What I'm saying is:
* concentrate on being the person God made you to be; that's enough to keep you busy for a lifetime
* do some things just for fun, not for how well you can do them
* when you fall short, go straight to God, confess, and start again, because God has already forgotten what you did
* apologize to people if you hurt them in anyway and then move on, learning from your mistake
* ignore it when people try to define you by your mistakes or weaknesses -- like saying, "Hey, math dummy," because you froze when you had to do fractions on the board or "You're a cheater," when you looked on somebody's paper one time back in third grade and got caught.
Just to help you get started, here's your ASSIGNMENT for today (and by the way, I'm loving your posts -- keep up the good work!): Think of one thing that isn't "perfect" about you, but that you actually kind of like. I, for example, snort sometimes when I laugh. Not terribly ladylike, but it's fun! I also let clean laundry pile up in mountains instead of folding it right away because I want to get back to the story I'm working on. And sometimes I stay in my pajamas all day, just because I can. Those are imperfections I can live with. What about you? I can't wait to hear!