You know her. You know the perfect gal who has it all together--she is the model wife and mother, intelligent & wise, witty & fun. She can whip up a wonderful home-cooked meal in her pristinely kept home and host guests at the drop of a hat. She does all of this while maintaining her toned figure and manicured nails. You know her--a crazy figment of our very overactive and distorted imaginations!
The perfect woman. What does this mean? Unfortunately, I believe that we have taken the Proverbs 31 woman and morphed her into something that is far from the goal to be striving for. The focus has become much more on being "perfect," than bringing glory to God and honoring Him.
In her new book co-written with Stacey MacDonald (Passionate Housewives Desperate for God), Jennie Chancey writes about he bondage of perfectionism.
Perfectionism is the false idea that a righteous man never falls- or when he does, he certainly doesn't admit it, lest he discourage everyone who is watching him run!
Where do we get this crazy idea? We are sinners, saved only by the grace of God. We are going to fall. We are not going to be perfect. While this realization is not an excuse to "embrace our inner slob," as Chancey states, we must not try to put on the perfect persona. We must be real and authentic is our pursuit of holiness, submitting humbly to the process of sanctification--which is sometimes a bumpy and painful process as He refines us.
Jennie also writes:
At its heart, perfectionism is sinful pride. We want others to think well of us, to admire us, and to desire to follow our example.
Too many times, we can rationalize all the efforts we put forth, saying we are seeking to honor Him. I know I must aways make sure my motives are focused on Him and not on what I may get out of it. I think it can be so tempting to present ourselves as "having it all together." This can be particularly easy on our blogs!
As we seek to encourage one another in our spiritual walks, may we remember that "His strength is made perfect in weakness (II Corinthians 12:9). He uses us to minister to others when our motives are pure and we are real with others. No one likes a "fake" person.
You know how we can encourage each other best? It's not by playing the role of Have-It All Hannah or Do-It All Doris. It's by loving others enough to meet them where they are while being what we are: fellow sinners in need.
Instead of worrying what others think about us, we need to care about what God thinks of us, measuring ourselves by the unchanging standard of God's word rather than comparing ourselves to others. Instead of looking to modern-day "experts" for answers, we need to return to the "old paths" of Scripture, where there is "rest for our souls" (Jeremiah 6:16). Instead of seeking to make a name for ourselves or be "important," we need to thankfully embrace the fact that God works through humble people, small steps, and what the world considers insignificant and often thankless work.
So as you go through your day, be real. While passionately pursuing Christ and holiness, don't fall into Satan's trap of pursuing perfectionism. Allow God to redeem our failures and weaknesses for His Glory. Submit your will and pride to Him--He can use you to minister and encourage others.
So many of you out there have ministered to me with your struggles and "realness." Let's keep it real!