For the last decade, my birthday has held more meaning than just another year. Each year, God will typically give me a “theme” for the year, a few months before my birthday. This year was different. This year, I didn’t get a theme at all.
My birthday came and went and I asked God, “What’s my theme?”. It was quiet. I heard no reply and continued on figuring it would hit me when it was supposed to.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen SO many blog posts, Instagram posts, Facebook posts, you name it, on this idea of comparison and perfection. I’d read these posts and think, “Well duh, who doesn’t struggle with this?” And I’d go on my merry way.
What’s my theme this year, Lord? No reply.
I began thinking back to past years and remembered the words that became themes. Trust. Abundance. Adventure. Expectancy.
What’s my theme this year, Lord? And still, no reply.
Today as I was shopping, I saw a shirt that had a very simple, yet very poignant message.
Live for passion, not perfection.
I froze in my tracks. My, oh my, do I struggle with perfection. I struggle with it something fierce. Most don’t know this about me, but sometimes the perfection struggle is so bad that I can’t even make a decision for fear that it’ll be the wrong one. I check my teeth three times before I leave the house, heaven forbid someone knows what I ate for lunch by looking at my smile.
At the first sign of a breakout, I get frustrated. When the scale goes up a couple pounds, I get angry at myself for that donut that I clearly didn’t need to eat last night. I take forever to decide which flights to book or what Airbnb is just right. I read reviews like it’s my full time job before buying a new product or buying tickets to a show. I just want to be perfect.
I pride myself on being a person of excellence, but maybe I’ve taken it too far. I want to be the girl that is okay leaving the house without makeup. So what if there’s a blemish on my face somewhere? Yes, I’m human. Surprise! It’s not like you didn’t already know.
Honestly, I’m not sure where this need to be perfect came from. I live in this perpetual world in my mind that says I can’t screw up. And when I do, reader, I feel like a total failure. I worked my butt off in school to graduate with a 4.0 GPA because (and no joke), I told my parents it’s the only time in your life that you can be considered “perfect.”
So many things have crossed my path lately, reminding me that I shouldn’t compare and that perfection isn’t the goal. I can’t help but chuckle and wonder if God is changing things up on me. Maybe instead of my theme being handed to me, He’s allowing me to look inside and see what I need to work on. And in doing so, maybe I’ll realize how much I need Him even more.
I know I’m not perfect, and maybe that’s why I strive to be. I know perfection will never be attained, but I want to look more perfect than everyone else because then I’ll at least look “perfect” to the world around me. How ugly is that?
We blame comparison on the fact we’re women, but the truth is, we compare because we either want to feel better about ourselves by comparing down. Or, in the occasion we mistakenly compare up, we have a pity party that we’re not good enough. WHY DO WE DO THIS TO OURSELVES?
A flower doesn’t compete with the other flowers next to it, it just blooms. So girl, take it from someone who has played the comparison and perfection game for far too long. Just bloom. Be you and own it.
In just a few days, I’m about to jet off to another state and I have high hopes for this trip. I’m breaking out of my comfort zone in many ways. Heck, I might even walk around town with no makeup on.
Okay, you and I both know that will probably not happen…BUT! baby steps, right?
Instead of comparing, how about we compliment? Instead of perfecting, how about we embrace what makes us unique?
In order to accurately compare, there needs to be a standard of perfection to compare to. I’ve got news for you, friend, the only perfect person who ever lived was Jesus. And if we stop comparing ourselves to the world’s superficial definition of perfect, we might find a much deeper meaning of who we’re meant to be, instead of being distracted by all the things that fade away in time.
Instead of focusing on hiding every blemish on our face, how about we spend that time being there for a friend who’s hurting. Instead of panicking at the thought of not selecting the perfect product, how about we invest that time into cultivating meaningful relationships that go deeper than conversation about the weather.
I’ve become so tired of superficial relationships, yet I work so hard to hide my own imperfections. Even as I type this I’m chuckling at myself, because I also absolutely LOVE when people take the time to get to know me well enough to know my imperfections, especially when they stick with me through them.
We all have our quirks and things that make us tick. That’s what makes us unique. Trying to hide that so we can blend in with everyone else would be doing the world a disservice. The people who disrupted history in the most glorious of ways were the ones that didn’t go with the flow. They were the ones who didn’t care about not fitting in, because they saw the bigger picture of the lives they would change.
Comparing and perfection have been constant struggles in my life. This year, I’m committing to changing my thoughts to compliment instead of compare. When I see that girl who looks “better” than I do, I’m going to compliment something about her instead of feel jealous. When someone else is praised for doing a good job, I’m going to genuinely celebrate with them instead of blame myself for not doing “enough”.
I’m going to chase passion, not perfection. I hope you’ll join me.