When I pulled two leaders into my office to work out their issues, I thought, “Really? Do other women’s ministry leaders have to do this?” When one of my kids threw a fit in the grocery store, I looked around and didn’t see anyone else dealing with a difficult child.
I’m less patient than I thought I’d be. I weigh more than I want to. My ministry is experiencing more challenges than I thought it would. At times, my marriage isn’t the “happily ever after” I dreamed it would be.
Inside I think thoughts like: I don’t measure up. I’m failing as a leader. My ministry doesn’t look like her ministry. My house doesn’t look like her house. My body doesn’t look like her body.
What is wrong with me?
Have you ever felt that way? Have you wondered what is wrong with you, with your family, with your kids, with your ministry?
The truth is that nothing is wrong. We are all normal. Our frustrations are normal. Our disappointments are normal. Our struggles are normal.
When we compare our insides to other women’s outsides, we always come out short. We’re comparing our struggles to their masks.
There are no perfect houses (just ones where the clutter is cleverly stored). There are no perfect bodies (just ones who know the beauty of Spanx). There are no perfect ministries (only one’s that keep their internal struggles invisible).
Perfection doesn’t exist…but unfortunately we waste a lot of time and energy pursuing the elusive mirage we’re sure can be found. While pursuing perfection, we’re missing out on the most precious parts of life: the laughter of silliness, the joy of spontaneity, the lessons found in failure and the freedom found in contentment and grace.
I’ve found God does His best work in our imperfections, if we let Him! We can’t be perfect but we can be perfected!
Isaiah 64:8 reminds us that God is the potter, and we are the clay. If our heart is open to His perfecting, He shapes us to be more like Christ each time we come in contact with imperfect: more forgiving, more compassionate, more kind, more grace-filled.
When I’m tempted to compare, I’m learning to tell myself, “She has a backstory I don’t know.” Doing that allows me to pull myself back from the ledge of comparison, planting myself on the firm foundation of reality.
Let’s work to break up with perfect. Let’s give ourselves the gift of grace to make mistakes. Let’s adjust our expectations to better match the reality of a less-than-perfect world. Let’s realize we can’t be perfect, but we can partner with a perfect God who will perfect us to be more like Him along the bumpy way.