Perfect is a bad friend. No matter what we do or say … we feel like it’s never enough. Perfect always demands more and wants better, but it’s never satisfied. Never! Have you been there? I know I have, especially with my Type A personality.
That’s why I love my friend Amy Carroll’s new book, “Breaking Up with Perfect!” God has called her to help us all break up once and for all with our unfaithful friend: Perfection! And today she stopped by to share her heart and her book with us – plus she’s giving away a copy too.
As I rummaged through the damaged store, I hurried toward a colorful decoration that caught my eye. A hurricane had ravaged the seaside store’s merchandise, but there were a few treasures left.
My prize that day was a papier-mâché figure of Santa Clause directing a band of animal musicians. Since my husband was a band director, seeing Jolly Old Saint Nick with his conductor’s baton poised made my heart sing even though it was a balmy North Carolina summer outside.
I carefully carried the figurines to the cash register and made them mine.
Nearly skipping with joy down the sidewalk, suddenly I tripped and dropped my fragile treasures. My face fell with dismay as I peeked inside the bag only to see pieces of Santa and his friends lying jagged and free-floating at the bottom.
When I got home, I gently removed the pieces and lay them out on a table. One by one, I drew a thin line of glue on the narrow edges and began to put them back together.
The results weren’t altogether terrible.
Santa’s pedestal is webbed with cracks and the beaver is missing a leg, but unless guests get too close, they’ll never know the trauma Kris Kringle endured. He’s broken but still beautiful, and a smile stretches across my face each Christmas as I unpack him from his protective box.
Why do I struggle to believe that others could see me the same way?
All of us have a level of brokenness from our own sin nature or from sin leveled against us. We all have cracks of insecurity, shards of sin, and flaws of failure, but for most of my life I’ve wanted to hide mine. I’ve wanted to glaze over my brokenness with a façade of perfection.
If I had found only a perfect Santa acceptable, I would have either tossed him after his fall, or I would have hidden him away in the box with the other outdated, worn-out ornaments.
That’s ok with an object, but we’d never do that to an imperfect person. We’re all in the same boat! So why are we afraid others will do it to us? That maybe God will too?
So we keep others at arm’s length, never allowing anyone to get too close, or we hide behind our walls of shame or false perfection. We try to earn acceptance and love with our just-right words and our thought-out actions, feeling more and more lonely all the time, when in truth…
Authenticity is the antidote for isolation.
Jesus doesn’t despise us in our brokenness, tossing us away or hiding the fact that He loves us. He gently takes our pieces and glues them back together with His grace, compassion, and forgiveness. If we’ll only lay down our masks of perfection and surrender to His perfecting work, Jesus lovingly sets us out for the world to see and claims us as His own.
I’ve been on a journey to break up with perfect, and I’m finding that my relationships with others are deeper than ever when I’m real about my flaws. In the process, I’m able to point to Jesus as the Perfect One, our ultimate hero, and I’m resting in the lavish love I’m finding in Him.
Amy Carroll wants to celebrate the release of her new book Breaking Up with Perfect with you! Please leave a comment about your struggle with perfection to enter to win a free copy. If you’re living life at warp-speed today, just say “I’m breaking up with perfect!” in the comments to enter. I will announce the winner on Thursday in a new post with a prayer for our children as they head back to school! If you want to get to know Amy better, visit her blog by clicking here.