“Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up.” James 4:10
I am so thankful that banks began fraud protection features on credit cards and bank accounts. I love how they notify me right away of suspicious behavior. During one December, I received a phone call asking if I was at a department store charging hundreds of dollars on my credit card. I was at home which was about 40 miles away from that particular store . Thankfully, they flagged the card as stolen and I was not responsible for any charges. But I still felt violated that my personal information was stolen and used for their frivolous activity. I wish I could receive a fraud alert every time the enemy tries its fraudulent ways against me.
I grew up in a home where everything was neat and tidy. If my room was messy, I could not do anything else until it was back in order. I began to not just tidy my room, but my friends’ rooms too. While I was shopping, I would be at a store and would put the messy display back in order. (Yes, that is ridiculous.) It would be pointed out to me that if someone had a messy home, something was wrong with them. I wasn’t allowed to be a messy kid. What kid is not messy?
Fast forward almost 25 years when our child was 3 years old. My husband doesn’t care about a tidy home nor did our then 3-year-old child. I would kill myself tidying up and putting things away because ironically, it gave me peace to see a clean home. One evening, we were invited to go meet some friends for dinner at a nearby restaurant. The house was a disaster because of toys scattered and laundry everywhere. My husband pleaded for me to leave it for later. I did not want to leave it for later but we were meeting our friends in 10 minutes. As the dinner ended, one of my friends said, I want to see your new home. Usually, I don’t mind having people over, because the house is usually clean. I forgot about the mess and agreed. When we walked to the parking lot, I realized the disaster our home was in and screamed, “start the car and go home NOW!!!” When my husband was about to pull into the garage, I jumped out of the car and ran into the house to start cleaning. You would have thought the Queen of England or The President was coming with the way I was running around. It reminded me of “I Love Lucy” in the chocolate factory when she was trying to wrap the chocolate. I was throwing stuff into closets and throwing trash away. When those friends arrived, I began apologizing for the messy home. They didn’t seem to care, they said, it was better than their house on a good day.
I couldn’t believe that I was so afraid of what they would have thought. I want to be at my best at all times and when I am not, I feel like a big failure. The enemy uses patterns in our lives and creates a lie we believe. These are some of the things I have believed about myself:
“I don’t feel I am good at anything.”
“I won’t try new things because I don’t want to fail at it.”
“No one will love you when you are overweight.”
“You are invisible.”
My beautiful, dear friend’s daughter, who is my daughter’s best friend, told me how her mommy was going to talk about Perfectionism at her MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. I asked if I could come to it. I thought how could my friend, who looks like Princess Kate, has a beautiful home, dresses cute and has a great family be suffering from this. I went to the tea and there she stood talking about her life. She talked about how her mom made she and her sister vacuum so it made straight lines and how she didn’t want to try hard things because she didn’t want to fail. I cried and cried. I realized how I was passing this ridiculousness on to my daughter. I want my daughter to remember me as loving, kind and encouraging mom, then a mom that wanted a spotless home. Somehow, we see photo shopped Instagram posts, cooking shows where there is no mess, and Martha Stewart uses glitter and it all remains glued on the Christmas ornament. This is not real life.
Recently, pop star Meghan Trainor had her music video photo shopped by the production company that made her video. She thought it was a joke and realized it was from her staff. She couldn’t believe that someone decided she would be okay with that. She wants the message clear, she is okay that she is not a size 2 and that she can still be beautiful being herself. Our confidence should be in Christ, but He wants us to have a confidence that we are valuable and beautiful.
God wants me to see how valuable I am to Him. He wants me to use my gifts to advance His Kingdom. I cannot have this fear of failing or waiting for everything to be perfect to be used by Him.
Lesson Learned: Perfectionism has no place when I am serving the Lord well.
“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for believing the lies of the enemy that I am not good enough. I thank you that you will use me when you believe that I am ready than when I am in a perfect place. Help me to give grace to myself and to others and to recognize the lies of the enemy. In Jesus’ Name., AMEN!”