“Oh, no, I’m not perfect!”
I mean, I think most people these days could try to humbly tell you, “Oh no, I’m not perfect”, but do they really operate this way?
The "perfect" blogger in me is worried what people are going to think about this post, so if I'm being honest, I'm afraid to share it. But so much for being perfect.
You may not consider yourself the perfect photographer, perfect mother, perfect artist, perfect friend, perfect football player or perfect blogger, but what if you unknowingly are striving to be?
Last fall, I had a dream that someone was sweetly telling me, “honey, you know you don’t have to be perfect.” To which I quickly responded, “Oh, yes I know! I am not perfect!”
And because I’m not one to have dreams that mean much of anything, I was stumped on this one. I couldn’t shake it. Why the heck would I have such a weird dream, and why did it leave me with an unsettling feeling? There's gotta be more to this.
At the time, I had been so busy with photography, being pregnant (that’s busy, right?) and helping with our house renovation (finally unpacking boxes from when we moved several months prior). Part of me was feeling guilty for the lack of intentional time I was actually putting into a class at church that I was taking, and I feared that I actually wouldn’t get much out of it because of my busyness. You know, typical Lindsay--busy.
Side note, I'm so done with over-glorifying "busy", y'all. But that's another blog post for another day.
Well, not to be too creepy, but I knew this dream I had meant something more. I knew it was from the Lord. So I wrestled with it for the following couple days and was able to piece together what I feel like I was supposed to learn.
I think my husband can tell you that I’m not much of a perfectionist. I’m more of a let’s-get-it-done-quickly-so-we-can-do-a-million-other-things kind of person. Get R done! So when I had this dream, my initial reaction in the dream was spot on: I know I’m not a perfectionist, so of course, I don’t struggle with trying to be perfect! Ha. Silly you. I’m so humble.
But then my eyes started to open to the smallest of things in my life that I actually, maybe do strive to be “perfect” in. Except for the adjective "perfect" was used to describe different things in my life. They were burdens only I had placed on myself with rules that only I formed over the years.
I carried so much weight over the amount of time I made to call my girlfriends and catch up;
I felt guilty if my times with the Lord weren’t meaningful;
I stressed if I didn’t answer all my emails, edit a wedding in the time I had planned or even post a blog I felt might repel readers (ahem).
Looking back, I even felt guilty in college if I made a good grade on a test that I knew I didn’t study hard for.
I felt (and still feel) nervous to be in a group of new people, because I want them to “like” me.
I felt guilty when I missed study time with my speech pathology girlfriends in grad school, because I was editing, editing, editing.
Yet at the same time, I felt guilty studying, because I felt like I wasn’t giving my photography clients the service I wanted to.
I felt guilty for not printing, laminating and creating every piece of therapy material I used when I was a speech pathologist.
I felt guilty for so many things that were never meant to leave such burdens on me. They were actually all quite blessings in my life. And still are.
I had somehow over the course of several years created these self-made rules that were highly unattainable and actually none of them being from the Lord. I’d say there were good intentions behind some, which were meant to give me direction, but in short, they were holding me back from the freedom Christ wants us all to feel and know and share.
When I thought about it, there were actually many times a day that I struggled inwardly about what others would think about me, because X. Insert facial expression upon realizing what being a “people pleaser” is. I had been putting all this weight from seemingly “small” problems on my shoulders that it, in turn, just completely weighed me down. It made me anxious. It made me guilty and unhappy.
I mean, none of my friends were thinking, “Oh, that Lindsay, she hasn’t called to check on X, Y, Z”; and my girlfriends or brides weren’t keeping tabs on how present I was; and the Lord isn’t keeping track of the number of quiet times nor the quality of them. I started realizing all of these things and understanding grace in a whole new way. The same grace that God extends to me daily when I sin against Him because I’m simply broken and a human—that’s the same grace I can extend myself. DAILY. In all the little things. I can extend it to others. And receive it from others.
You guys, for some reason, this was just mind-blowing to me.
Grace. Heard it, accepted it, used it, but I hadn't fully known it until recently.
When I was able to catch these insecure, rule-based thoughts on the daily (because y’all, they were so crazily frequent), I was able to just shoot them up to the Lord in the moment and ask for forgiveness and grace. It’s literally amazing how faithful and freeing this habit became. And, ironically, I’m not saying I’m “perfect” at always catching these moments in time (you see how easy it is to set these rules!?!?), but on days that I do, I experience more joy.
It’s freeing, you guys. It’s freeing to know it’s okay to have a muffin top hanging over my jeans these days. It’s freeing to know there’s grace when the day gets away from me, and I miss working out. It’s freeing to know the emails will be there tomorrow, but the opportunity to talk with Jordan may not be. It’s freeing to know the world will keep going on without keeping tabs on the things I’ve put so much pressure on myself to obtain or do.
So if you're a photographer who thinks you have to just book one more wedding, edit just a little faster or be like that other local photographer--extend yourself grace.
If you're a mom who feels like you have to do it all, teach your child it all, fit all the molds or be like that other mom on Instagram--feel the grace.
If you're in graduate school or starting a new job and this season of life has its grip on you--extend yourself grace.
If you're hesitant to launch a new business idea because it's not "perfect", it never will be. Feel the grace and go for it.
Whatever situation you're in and trying to fit the "perfect" mold, it's really not that great.
Grace is so freeing.
This whole “grace” thing, y’all--it’s like there was a Divine Creator or something. It’s like He knew what he was doing. And this whole “perfect” thing—well, I’m not working on it. :)