Last night, my husband brought in the mail with 4 holiday catalogs, two of them were as thick as phonebooks. He said, “Do you want to look at these, or should I toss them?” I didn’t know how to answer, I was like a deer in headlights! I have a love/hate relationship with these catalogs! I love them because they feel like such an escape, like a vacation, and then I hate them because it’s just a whole bunch of LIES! LIES! LIES!
I have an embarrassing confession to make. For a long time, those catalogs where what I thought my reality could look like. If I could just work hard enough, my life would look like that. My house would have Christmas sheets on every bed, and it would be picked up and matching. I think back on it now and laugh. I must’ve had a few screws loose. Who did I think put all those sheets on the beds? How did I think that life could actually look like a perfect staged picture all the time? I do have to say, my quest for perfection drove me in life, and for that reason, it was good. It just drove me toward the wrong goal, which inevitably drove me crazy. I learned that those things will not make me happy.
I do believe perfection is deeply rooted in me. But, I now know that I will not see perfection this side of heaven, no matter what Instagram and Pinterest say. It’s only in heaven that I will see that kind of perfection (and I can’t wait!). Now, I’m learning to appreciate the more meaningful moments in life. I’m not going to stay up crazy late making presents look perfect with precise creases, or force my boys to decorate Christmas cookies perfectly, the way I see it in my head. Instead, I will enjoy a movie on the couch with my family and go to bed early. Or get in bed and read a good book, knowing that I could pick up every last thing off the floor in my house, but it will look that same way within 5 minutes the next morning.
I think the saying goes something like, “disappointment comes from unmet expectations”. Well, when you’re expecting everything and everyone to look perfect in order to be happy, you can imagine how disappointing my days were and how much beauty I missed in the everyday moments that aren’t picture perfect but have such great substance to them. Let’s just say, I’ve had to adjust my expectations in life. I no longer wait for my life to be perfect, and I no longer expect it to be perfect. I don’t walk around disappointed all the time -ha! Instead, I sit knowing I will see perfection in all its glory in heaven, but here on earth, I live with a peace knowing there’s no point spinning my wheels trying to create a fantasy. It will not be perfect, and I’m learning to live in the moment.
And can I just say, I still revel in the 5 minutes of clean house before my kids come home, or a window washer who is so precise that there is not a speck of dirt left on the window, or getting a piece of art hung perfectly straight. Oh, I just love it. I really do. It’s crazy how much I do, but it’s no longer at the expense of my sanity and happiness. I guess you could say, I’m embracing my want of perfection in a world that is imperfect by choosing to see the perfectly good things that are already in front of my face. Yay! I’m growing up! ha!
If any of this resonated with you, check out the book Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist!