Suzanne's Second Estate

A web log of my thoughts, activities, life....

Thursday, August 20, 2015


Cross-stitched family by the talented Heather Bauers.

A few days ago, I was trying to get the "perfect" photo of my girls in their matching PJs. I must have taken twelve or more shots. The 3-year-old was either making a contorted face with eyes scrunched closed, or the baby's hands were a total blur because she was clapping. The best photo I got had both girls looking at the camera and mostly smiling, but wisps of hair hung over the 3-year-old's eyes.


I've been a pseudo-perfectionist my whole life. I say "pseudo," because there are definitely things I let go. (My laundry pile is a perfect example.) But something about being the oldest child, I think, has always driven me to be excellent in what I do. More precisely, I crave to be recognized for excellence in what I do. 

I'm not a person who would intentionally broadcast to others that I'm perfect or have a perfect family, despite what the Facebook "highlights reel" may convey, but I still probably aim for "pseudo-perfect." Imperfect is one thing; sub-standard is another. The season of raising young children is an especially difficult one in which to maintain any level of perfection. Messy house. Messy kids. Messy car. I try to have the right expectations, but sometimes the imperfection gets to me.

The concept of beauty in the imperfection is a well-worn theme. But sometimes you don't see the beauty in the moment—or maybe you never see it. Forget about the beauty for a minute (it is there); most days I ask God what He's trying to teach me through this assault on my perfectionism. And you know what I think it is? Dependence. The less I can do on my own, the more I am forced to turn to Him—the One in whom I live and breathe and have my being (Acts 17:28). He's big enough to handle my frustrations. More than that, He loves me. He loves my husband. And He especially loves the little people who are wreaking havoc on my carpet (SO imperfect).  

God's been teaching me dependence throughout my life. Because it seems perfectionists have hard heads when it comes to things like this. This is just His newest strategy. On the flip side, the enemy is very good at knowing my weak points, and one of them is my pride in my pseudo-perfection. It could also be called self-reliance. That's exactly it. I am a chronic self-relier. And I think God is trying to break me of that ... in a big way. It may be painful, but I'm OK with that. Because I trust the end result will be worth it. It always is. 

Cute in imperfection.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
James 1:2-4


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