Last month I launched this blog with a "corny" little post about gifts that take work. This month, I thought I'd back up a bit and explain why I decided to call this blog "Perfectly Me." Now, let's get one thing straight as we begin. I am not perfect. I am far from it. As the years go by, it seems I am getting even farther from it as my eyesight, memory, and various body parts begin to fail.
Over the course of the last 47 years, I'm afraid I have chased that idea of perfection and I've put myself through all kinds of misery when I just couldn't measure up. I've made mistakes, hurt people's feelings without meaning to, let people down, and just plain sinned many, many times. Each failure reminds me that I'm not perfect and for way too long I just didn't want to admit that.
When I went through old photos to find some for our daughters' high school graduations a couple of years ago, I burst into tears because it seemed like every picture I found of myself had a terrible hairdo. In case you don't believe me, I'll show you a couple of them:
Here I am with my sisters at a friend's wedding in 1992.
Gary's 30th birthday party in 1997.
I could have posted many more examples, but we'll leave it at that. Picture after picture seemed to scream, "You look like a fool!" and I believed them. In some of them I even chose to look like a fool:
Holy Hawaiian Luau, Batman! (Chandler, MN 2006)
That one was actually very fun. Gary and I had a blast doing one of the skits for our youth group supper. But many of the photos just reminded me that I don't look like I want to look, I don't act like I want to act, I'm not as perfect as I'd like to be.
That's not a healthy way to think. Not at all. That kind of thinking stunts your emotional and spiritual growth. That kind of thinking keeps you stuck in safe little ruts that don't expose the imperfections you see in yourself. That kind of thinking turns your focus back on yourself instead of looking out to see where God wants you to help and be an influence in the world around you.
At almost fifty years old, I'm finally seeing some growth and maturity in my life. I'm learning to look around and notice how others are feeling. I'm content to be myself and not expect everyone else in the room to notice me, let alone like me.
When I went to my photo boxes today to dig out some of those awful photos, I realized that not all of them were bad. I found quite a few nice pictures of myself, and even in the ones where my hair was sticking out in every direction I had a smile on my face and it looked like I was enjoying time with my family or friends. I don't look that bad most of the time:
Here I am at my parents' house in Michigan in 1993.
Enjoying fresh flowers in 1996.
I even found some that I really liked of myself, like this one:
Tan and relaxed with my sister (Jill) and cousins (Tim and Brian) in about 1985.
I've gone through lots of changes over the years as I've matured physically, and I've also gone through lots of changes emotionally and spiritually as I've slowly matured in those areas.
I'm finally mature enough to realize that everyone else is busy living their own life and they don't spend nearly as much time thinking about me as I used to assume. I'm blessed when someone takes the time to send me a card or letter, write me a message on facebook, or call me on the phone, but I don't have to collapse in despair when those things don't happen.
I'm learning that I don't have to retreat and go lie in the fetal position when someone criticizes me or points out something I've done wrong. I can learn from my mistakes, ask forgiveness if necessary, and move on as the woman God has created me to be. I don't have to be perfect, I just have to be perfectly me!
Not perfect...but that's okay!
So, as you visit this blog once in a while in the months ahead, I hope you'll gain insights to help you in many different ways. The ideas you'll find here won't be perfect, but together I pray that we can all grow into the perfect person God has made us to be.
"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me." (Philippians 3:12 NIV)