Life is monumentally full, and there are innumerable justifications for my neglect of pen and paper. Life is shifting and balance has been disrupted by the equally winsome and loathsome attributes of adolescence that reign unfettered in my home. My pursuit of higher education, though edifying to my soul, requires of me a focus and regimen that is not organic to a creatively wired intellect. And then there is full time ministry, lavishly rewarding but uncontained by time and schedule. Life is monumentally full, but the origin of my neglect is not rooted in busyness. It is entrenched in the disabling pursuit of perfect.
Perfect is not informed by a conscientious attention to detail and order, it is instead the acquaintance of fear. Fear of misunderstanding. Fear of mediocracy. Fear of failure. And even fear of accomplishment. It is the whispered oppressor and an obstacle of growth. Perfectionism does not believe in first drafts or dress rehearsals. It quite simply measures our novice work against the completed symphonies of the maestro. Perfectionism is fed by competition and comparison and it appears indiscriminate in our carefully-edited, photo filtered world. It is the thief of creativity and becoming, and underneath an often glossy disguise, perfect is quite simply the crisis of enough. In our pursuit of the unattainable we have become anxiety driven, activity centric and calendar obsessed. We pride ourselves on our lack of sleep and overconsumption of caffeine, and we are clothed in courageous exhaustion and collapse. We serve as mediators and life sustainers, cultured and well informed. We are quick witted and punctual, and we mistake the idea that we can become anything for the idea that we must be everything. And while we acknowledge in others the beauty of imperfection, we are unforgiving and disparaging of ourselves.
And so in the shadow of perfection sat this dusty little blog. I have long been shackled by fickle perfectionism, rarely satisfied and often striving. But life does not allow for perfection. It is brittle and complex, and despite every attempt to avoid painful feelings of judgement, shame and condemnation, it is to be lived and not controlled. God’s desire is the cherished emptiness of imperfection because in those vacant spaces there is room for Him to work. I started writing as a means of expression. It began as an offering to the Creator, an invitation for the redemption of my story. But vulnerability is threatening to perfection and my fear became bigger than my faith. What I have learned in my quietude, however, is that our difficult moments are not meant to be hidden away in the silent pursuit of perfection. The dark things that we have conquered, the obstacles overcome, are the very tools meant for use in building bridges, for in reality there is no such thing as perfection, and there is only beauty in broken.
My desire for my children is that they never know the shackles of perfection. I would that they recognize their flaws as integral to their beings, and that they gracefully embrace the oft raw and unfiltered parts of their lives. I pray that they accept the invitation of an infinitely perfect God to cross the line of fear and unworthiness. And I long for them to learn from stumbling into the arms of a Creator who is divinely positioned to catch every fall, mastering the dance with little attention to clumsy feet.
And as for me, I intend to come away from the shadows and into the light, ceasing to focus on my flaws and limitations and choosing instead to own my story and to accept the invitation to dance.