There are an endless number of times in a day when I have the chance to get it right, or get it wrong! They’re everywhere from the challenging, “Was I patient with my teen?” to the basics, “Did I floss before bed?” I mean, really, it’s crazy when you think of all the areas we strive to be our best at taking care of ourselves and our family – and the times that we fall short.
That’s why I’m convinced that being the best mom or wife or friend or anything is not about always getting it right….it’s more about accepting that I won’t. And, ya know, now that my children are nearly all grown up, I hope their memories of me aren’t so much about what I did right or wrong, but that I did my best.
I’m working on my next Hearts at Home book which is currently titled No More Perfect Moms. It will take a look at the “perfection infection” that keeps us loaded with judgment and guilt we heap on ourselves and others. I hope to help us learn to be moms of grace, love, and forgiveness who do our best without expecting perfection.
As I’m writing this book, I’m going to need your input!
Today’s question is this: What do you think is the opposite of perfection?
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I think that the opposite of perfection would have to brokeness. From all of my study of the Bible, it is apparent to me that God values the understanding that you don’t have it all together; if you were perfect on your own, you think that you don’t need God (but in reality you REALLY DO!) Over a long period of time, I have become comfortable in being far less organized and “perfect” than all of my friends; it is OK, God is not concerned if my toilets are all spotless; He wants me to walk with Him, so that is my priority.
I’m stuck on “humility” as my answer to your question.
Perhaps the opposite of perfection is Acceptance.
Acceptance in that I am not nor will I ever be perfect. I do the best I can everyday to be the best ME I can be…Knowing the Lord is in charge of my life. He has given me gifts in this life and expects be to accept them with His grace. He doesn’t expect me to be perfect why should I expect it from myself? but that has taken me years to get to this point in my life, I must say….
the opposite of perfection is – still growing, still learning, still practicing
I’m not saying this is the “right” answer….but its what came to mind. “Missing the Mark”
The opposite of perfection is “imperfection”…. We are all imperfect, regardless of what we think, which is why we can be thankful for the forgiveness of sins and sanctification of our lives in Christ. We are that “diamond in the rough”… constantly going through the purification process until Christ calls us Home. Now….. to remember that daily is another important thing! Being willing to take the hammer out of our own hands (quit beating ourselves up: mentally, emotionally, physically ans spiritually) and let Christ rule over us (even the mundane) and KNOW who we are in HIM! (preaching to myself here! lol)
The words that came to my mind are “relaxed comfort.” Perfection is unattainable. I’ve spent too many years trying to get there. It’s stressful and self-defeating. I have learned to relax by giving up the illusion of control. I am comforted knowing that I am not in control, God is. Whatever mess-ups I make or terrible things that come my way, I know that He can turn it around and use it for my good. His strength is perfected in my weakness. If we could achieve whatever we deem as “perfection” on this Earth, there would be no need to rely on God or trust His provision. I think perfection is found in Heaven and I’m sure looking forward to spending eternity there!
I think the opposite of perfection is being human. The only perfect person to walk this earth was Jesus as I am certainly not Him. Therefore, I am just as God knew I would be when He created this earth. I am fallen, sinful and human. I hope through my mistakes and missed opportunities my family sees me not as some superMom, but as someone who is striving to be more like Jesus each day.
Mercy and Grace – acceptance of flaws, forgiveness of mistakes, and the ability to learn from them (yours or others).
Criticism and Sitting Idle
As a perfectionist intentionalist — having every intention of being a perfectionist … 🙂 — the opposite of perfection seems to me to be chaos. Not that perfectionism is perfect. 😉 But, as daughters of God, we do need to strive to be our best, which is somewhere between not chaotic and not always perfect (because we aren’t). Happy medium fluctuates depending on the day!
🙂 (Loved the question — can’t wait for the book!)
I think the opposite of perfection is…FLEXIBILITY! 🙂
Perfection is rigid. It is strict. It is a “do it this way only” mentality. It is enslaving. It is bondage. It is overwhelming. It sucks joy. It steals presence. It is a dark cloud of unattainable expectations. It gives the illusion that it will bring great happiness but in truth, it only brings disappointment & loads of false guilt. Perfection is a rigid task master.
I say all of that because I’ve lived under it for Y-E-A-R-S as a person and especially as a mother. Then I had my 2nd child, my son who was born with a rare combination of lower spinal deformities (there’s no exact name for what he has). We are in the midst of recovering right now from the 3rd spinal surgery he just had after Thanksgiving. Actually, just this week he got out of his body cast and moved to his body brace that he will wear for the next 3-4 months. We now begin the process of helping him learn how to stand & bear weight and eventually we will progress to walking with a walker and so on with lots of physical therapy. It’s about a year long process for all of us. My son is 4 years old.
I share all this because, God is graciously and lovingly extracting perfection from my life and I’m SO thankful! My son’s health challenges have been (and continue to be) a tool in God’s hand that has changed me for the better. I’ve learned to roll with things. Have realistic expectations. Go with the flow. Be willing to change directions right in the moment – change plans, ideas, expectations, wants, etc. Let go of everything being done my way. Let other people help, even if they do things differently. Be thankful for the smallest of good things instead of miserable until it was all perfect. And most importantly, I’ve learned to BE PRESENT with my husband and children, which is priceless!
I missed so much when I obeyed perfections call. I missed hilarious bath times because I was worried about the water on the floor. I missed extra kisses & hugs from my kids because their hands & faces were dirty. I missed giggling & singing in the car together because I was so upset by the time we got in the car that they had taken so long to get ready or didn’t want to wear the “perfect outfit” I picked out for them. I missed reading times together after dinner because of the pressure to make the kitchen look perfect after dinner & the living room perfectly picked up. I missed playing outside because of course there was something that HAD to be done to make our home look perfect. I missed SO much. It grieves me now to think about it.
My new FLEXIBILITY is worth far more to me than I could have ever imagined! I learned in this process that what drove me to perfection is my deep need to feel loved. I thought I would be accepted & praised & loved because I was amazing and could do it all- perfect house, perfect kids, perfect life. God has shown me that I’m loved just because of who I am. That even if my house is a mess, I make sandwiches again for dinner, I forgot someones birthday, the kids are sick, one of us has a rough day, there’s still laundry in the baskets at the end of the week, or I don’t get to take a shower until 5pm…I’m still loved. There’s not a measuring stick saying that if I cross this line then I’m loved. I’m just plain LOVED, messy life and all. With that understanding, now I’m free to love my kids for who they are and not allow perfection to hover over them every day and make them feel like failures because they make a mess, do things too slow or just want to play & enjoy life instead of always be presentable. God has freed me and as a result my kids are free too. Perfection is a rigid task master and I think the opposite of perfection is flexibility which truly brings about great joy!
I know this is the longest comment but I couldn’t help myself when I read your post & heard about your new book. I can’t wait because I know your book will have more insights that will continue to bring my life freedom from perfection. Thank you Jill for tackling this topic, you are going to bring freedom & encouragement to so many moms! Blessings as you write! 🙂
In my life the opposite of “perfection” is “doing my best”–and accepting that it is my best and OK. I will never prepare a “perfect” meal OK maybe one meal occasionally but the right number of servings of fruits and veggies, meat, etc. won’t happen on a regular basis–but I’ll do my best and not stress out about it. My house will never be perfectly clean, but it will be good enough for our family–and I’d rather spend time on things that are more important than dusting, and have the time to spend with my family. A “perfect” mom never bribes her kids…but a “doing my best” mom does at least once in awhile–and accepts that sometimes that IS the answer to getting a sick toddler to take his medicine.
I’ve never been–and never will be–a perfect mom. But I’ve ALWAYS done my best as a mom. And I pray every day that God will guide me to try to get closer to “perfect”–although that will never happen on earth!
My kids are now 18 and 20 years old. I have precious few months before our daughter leaves for college. I’m going to spend little time trying to be “perfect”…and a lot of time striving to teach her what she needs to know to live as a successful adult.
I totally agree with “Reality”. There is no such thing in this world as perfection and I think it is something that women/moms really let get to them. They always try to measure up to others and then think they fall short without realizing that they are not measuring themselves against the complete picture.