Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Perfection Infection

Do you ever wonder what God will say to you when you get to heaven?  I was thinking about this question when I was running this morning.  I would hope that He would say, "Well done good and faithful servant."

I was at bible study last Tuesday evening and we were talking about a book called No More Perfect Moms by Jill Savage. She has this concept called the Perfection Infection.  Moms, especially, tend to join in on the comparison game and in the process lose self-esteem and worth.  We look to the wrong thing to give us comfort and confidence.  Comparison breeds insecurity.  And suddenly we don't like what we look like in the mirror.  One of the culprits of this is social media.  The author said that years ago we might see the Jones Family (you know, the one that looks and seems perfect) maybe once a week.  But with social media we see that family multiple times a day.  Facebook is one avenue that we discussed.  We put our best pictures and comments on Facebook.  So when one insecure mom gets on Facebook that day, she goes off feeling completely defeated.  By no means do I think that posting great pictures and comments is a bad thing.  By no means do I think that getting your hair done or wearing make up is a bad thing.  But as moms we have to develop that inner confidence so social media doesn't cause us to stumble.  Wouldn't it be great to get on Facebook and see those "perfect" pictures and know deep inside that that isn't true reality every day for that family?  And know that the life that we have is enough and good.  We unfairly compare ourselves to others, but we all struggle with similar challenges in life one way or another.  We have to change our expectations and love the "imperfect" lives that we live along with everyone else.

Our bible study leader came up with this great suggestion that we were certain she wouldn't actually do.  She challenged us to take a picture of ourselves when we wake up in the hair do and no makeup.....just our "real" selves.  And she took it a step further and challenged us to post it on Facebook.  So the next morning I woke up and checked my email.  I had a post on my page and it was a morning picture of our leader.  What!!  I might be calm, cool and collective, but I never turn down a challenge.  I am secretly kind of competitive.  I know, I didn't show on the tennis court, but it does show when I play card games or board games or at my boot camp class.  I couldn't let her be the only one who posted her picture.  So I got my camera and started shooting selfies of my morning look.  I have to be totally honest and say that it took multiple shots before I was comfortable with one of them.  But looking back at those shots....they all looked the same.  I finally settled on a picture and put it on Facebook.  Again, it took me some more time before I could actually hit the "post" button to make my picture go "live."  Through this experience I realized how uncomfortable I am with outward appearance before doing my hair and putting on makeup.  And actually following through with posting a picture started to tear some of those walls down for me.  I couldn't escape it and I couldn't control who was looking at it.  I posted the "real" me and I had to be okay with it.  I looked at myself and saw the wrinkles around my eyes and crooked teeth.  But as I read everyone's comments about my picture, I realized that the word "beautiful" was used over and over again.  Most of who looked at my picture knew the real me.  They knew my heart.  They didn't look at the picture the same way that I did.  Over time I became comfortable with the picture.  It is now my profile picture....another challenge for us!  I found myself saying, "It is what it is."  If we are all honest with ourselves, we would share that we all struggle with things.  We all fall short of our own standard of excellence.  We compare our insides to others' outsides.  Or our outsides to others outsides.  But our expectations and reality should be that God has given us grace and beauty in an imperfect life.  I wake up each morning looking like the "real" picture below.....and Dan rolls over and calls me beautiful.  I can't help but think and know that God calls me that and so much more!

It is fun to feel pretty and make myself up for Dan on date nights.  It is great to show the kids that I care about my outsides too.  They need to see me taking care of myself and having confidence in my looks.  But they also need to grow up seeing how imperfect I am as their mom.  And knowing that it is completely okay.  As Jill Savage puts it so eloquently in her book, "Take off insecurity, tell yourself that you are enough, and put on confidence by embracing your strengths and your weaknesses."  I might have some wrinkles around my eyes, but there is wisdom that came from getting those wrinkles!

Two different pictures below......but the same heart.

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