The Worry Hidden in Perfection

Meet a dear friend of mine. Let’s call her Mandy.

Mandy has never called herself a perfectionist. In fact, she believes herself to be the exact opposite. You might say an imperfectionist…or as she says, “I’m more type ZZ than type A!”

Mandy’s dresser has been covered with clothes (outside the drawers) since she and her husband married.

pictures from graduation 078

Mandy’s dresser in her first apartment…note her husband’s (we’ll call him Tim) dresser which is perfectly clean. Not much has changed in 10 years!

When company comes, they can often find unpaired socks in the kitchen next to pizza crumbs under the table. But Mandy doesn’t mind. She believes it shows character.

Mandy also doesn’t give much thought to her clothes or hair (note the above picture). Sure she’s dressed (thank God!), but not in the current styles. She’s happy to make it out of her pajamas by the time breakfast rolls around. She still shudders with embarrassment at the time one of the men from church stopped by and she was still  in her plush purple bathrobe. Oops!

Mandy however recently had a revelation.

She actually is a perfectionist; not when it comes to her house or appearance…but as a mom. Mandy has four wonderful children that she does not want to mess up.

Mandy puts a ton of pressure on herself to be the perfect mom.

She didn’t consciously say, “I want to be perfect.” But everyday, she tries to be.

She tries to say the right thing when her Little Man calls his Big Sister stupid. To not lose her cool (again) when the Baby Sister clogs the toilet with gobs and gobs and gobs of toilet paper. To make sure all of the kids get tons of fruits and vegetables. To be patient when everyone is talking to her at the same time. To teach them about God and health and cross walk safety and fire drills and modesty and, and, and…

Sadly, Mandy is not the perfect mom. She yells. She gets impatient and angry. She can’t wait for bedtime when the house is quiet. And she worries that she is ruining her children. That they’ll grow up to remember only the times she shouted. Or that they’ll lack self-confidence. Or they really don’t love her.

So Mandy tries everyday to be the perfect mom so her fears don’t come true. And her fears double as she realizes she’s not perfect. It’s really an awful cycle for Mandy.

Poor Mandy has bought into a couple of lies.

1. She can be perfect. 
What a silly thing to think! Who can be perfect, but Jesus Himself? It is impossible to do everything correctly. Consider Ecclesiastes 7:20

Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins.

Paul echoes this in Romans 3:10-12

As it is written, “None is righteous, no, not one…no one does good, not even one.”

2. That her children will grow up without issues if she’s a perfect mom.
Everyone has issues. Some are more pronounced and obvious than others. Some are hidden and controlled. But everyone has issues. You know why? Because everyone is a sinner. Even Mandy’s beloved children. Sure there are things Mandy can do that will bless her children; but in the end, they will struggle with something because sin is in this world and in their hearts.

And her striving for perfection is actually influencing her oldest daughter. She is unintentionally teaching her 6-year-old that the goal is to be perfect. Her daughter is trying…and getting frustrated…

3. That she needs to be perfect.
Mandy doesn’t need to be perfect, because Jesus was perfect. He knew there was no way Mandy could be the perfect mom. He knew she needed redemption and forgiveness. So He did what no Mandy can do – lived a perfect life.

He even took it a step further and died an undeserved death and achieved a glorious resurrection. This resurrection was for us and will be ours.  Romans 6:4

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Mandy has restoration for when she yells, or is impatient, or doesn’t do everything just as she thinks she should.

In fact, if Mandy could be perfect, why would she need Jesus? She could just figure it all out herself! She would have no need for forgiveness or healing from her errors.

Mandy doesn’t need to be a perfect mom.

Mandy doesn’t need to raise perfect children.

Mandy needs a perfect and faithful God.

Mandy and I talk everyday. I try to remind her of the lies of perfection and the truth of God’s perfect love. She’s slowly starting to come around. But it’s a long haul process.

A couple of resources are helping her on the journey. Maybe they would bless you too if you’re ever tempted to perfection.

No More Perfect Moms by Jill Savage (CEO Hearts at Home)
She describes perfection as an infection that can only be cured with the truths of who God has made us to be. It’s an easy, fun read with lots of applicable truths.

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No More Perfect Moms 7 Day Devotional by Jill Savage (CEO Hearts at Home)
Don’t have time for a book? Sign up for an online 7 day devotional. It includes excerpts from the book No More Perfect Moms along with Bible verses to guide you into truth.

How has perfection influenced your life?

Happily linked with:
Raising Homemakers
A Wise Woman Builds Her Home
Grace and Truth
Simple Moments Stick
A Little R & R
Messy Marriage
3-D Lessons for Life
Woman to Woman Ministries
Mom’s Morning Coffee
Christian Mommy Bloggers

 

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9 thoughts on “The Worry Hidden in Perfection

  1. What a great reminder that perfection is over rated. The most important thing is that our kids know we love them and are behind them and everything else will fall in place. Thanks for sharing. Visiting from Simple Moments Link Up.

  2. I enjoyed this book as well! I participate in Hearts at Home’s Third Thursdays. Sadly I bought the book about a year before I read it (imperfect mom, yep, that’s me…). Enjoyed the refresher!

    • Thanks Angie for reading. I actually had the book for a while before I read it! Nice to know I’m not the only one! I’ll have to check out the Hearts at Home 3rd Thursdays. I just love their ministry. It has truly blessed me.

  3. Well, I already knew I was a perfectionist (but I’m learning not to be!) before reading this, haha. 🙂 However, I love this post. We mamas do put so much pressure on ourselves – unnecessarily, I might add. I especially like that you highlighted the third lie – that we “need” to be perfect. Thanks for sharing this with us at Grace and Truth last week!
    Jen @ Being Confident of This

  4. Fantastic post! I totally want to be friends with this Mandy. 🙂 Have you read the book, “The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You Are Supposed to Be and Impress Who You Are?” I highly recommend it! Could be a life changer!

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