If you had to ask me what I wrestle with most in my life,the answer would simply be: ‘the desire to be perfect.’
I have spent years of my life striving desperately to somehow be flawless in all things. I’d drawn up an imaginary criteria for myself of acceptable ways to think, to speak, to act and to look and then worked frantically to adhere to these unrealistic, exhausting expectations. I would compare myself to others who somehow managed to tick more imaginary boxes than I ever dreamed possible, and it would leaving me feeling frantic and horribly inferior.
I’d feel paralysing guilt if my body didn’t measure up to the image in my mind, or if my response to a conflict situation lacked serenity, spilling over into anger. I’d lie awake obsessing over every imagined ‘infringement’ vowing to do better, and failing spectacularly, only to restart the entire process the next day. It was in this space of ‘perfect’ brokenness that Jesus met me. He knelt down in the dust and dirt of my shame, and whispered one of the most profound truths I’ve had the pleasure to learn. ‘My daughter,’ he tenderly said ‘you are enough. Just as you are – you are enough’
Since that day, having learned that truth, my thinking has been transformed. I have since realised that the only way that I can keep this character defect at bay is by bravely allowing myself to make mistakes. Every time, I do something I perceive as ‘wrong’, I give myself a mental high five. Some days I really nail that perfectionist streak by making tons of mistakes, other days, not so much.
But I’ve learnt that as long as I’m trying my best; as long as I’m not making the same mistakes habitually and as long as I’m remembering to say ‘I’m sorry’. It really is okay. The sun will still rise, Jesus will still love me and I’ll still be a more whole, more real, more beautiful version of me.