In Others’ Words: Give Up

Work of becoming yourself. Quindlen. 2014

Oh, how I love this quote.

The beautiful, breathe it in, breathe it out freedom in these words.

Give up perfection.

Become yourself.

And the implied truth is: You are not perfect.

And guess what: You are still a worthwhile person with all your imperfections. Yes, all of them. You have value. You are needed. You are loved. You have a reason for being here.

We live in a world where we learn that love is conditional. Where the bar is set at perfect–or sometimes higher than that. We learn to look at others and examine their talents and think “I have to be better than them” rather than saying, “Wow. That was impressive.”

Because if they’re so impressive … well, what does that say about us?

Perfection is impossible–unless you’re God. And you’re not. And neither am I. And let’s all be thankful for that. God’s grace is new every morning–and mine has its limits, although I hate to admit it.

Maybe we should start each day by lowering the bar. By saying out loud: I am not perfect. Just get that little lie, that pressure, out of the way. Then maybe we can begin the work of becoming ourselves — our imperfect, truest selves. And as we become ourselves, we will discover the beauty hidden behind the lie of perfection.

In Your Words: What helps you give up on perfection–lower the bar, step away from the lie? When do you feel most truly, most amazingly, yourself? 

 

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You’re invited! Want to help me plan Bellamy’s wedding for my novella, Can’t Buy Me Love? The novella releases next May and I’m writing it this month. Visit this blog post for more details.

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8 Comments

  1. October 15, 2014, 7:14 am   /  Reply

    Good post!

    I can’t say there are ANY times in which I feel like myself – at the best times, the sense of self vanishes, replaced by a sensation of total engagement. The joke often used in movies is about a rider ‘becoming one’ with the horse (and then the horse panic on seeing a trash bag).

    But every equestrian or equestrienne knows the truth of the statement.

    Our hearts become infinite when ego contracts to the vanishing point.

    On perfection – artisans in Bali deliberately introduce aror into their work, lest it – and they – challenge God. Not a bad idea.

    And here’s your riddle for the day- who was England’s dearest poet?

    • October 15, 2014, 3:22 pm   /  Reply

      Oh, Andrew,
      So many profound answers to ponder … and then a riddle?
      I don’t know! Who was England’s dearest poet?

      And I do like the idea of the best of times being those moments when I disappear into what I’m doing, whether it is writing or being with a person …

      • October 15, 2014, 3:33 pm   /  Reply

        Alfred, Lord Venison. He’s really a moosed-read. Let the groaning commence.

        One thing I have learned is that it works for pain, as well, letting myself disappear. It can be so overwhelming (as it is as I write this) that the only way to keep going is to effect a disconnect, and pass my soul, as it were, into some small place, allowing what I still can do, with a heart of compassion, flood and drown the discomfort.

  2. October 15, 2014, 8:46 am   /  Reply

    I think I gave up trying to be perfect the day I decided to pursue two careers at once. LOL! Perfectly put together Melissa? It just ain’t happening.

    But on a serious note, the thing with pursuing perfection is that it erodes our dependence on God. Which is kinda the worst place to get to in life. I think I feel most myself when I’m around people I love, doing what I love, but with a bit of a loose, flexible grip on life…it’s such a freeing feeling versus that tight grip, must do ALL the stuff and do it ALL well just like So-and-So.

    • October 15, 2014, 3:23 pm   /  Reply

      Love this answer, Melissa, for the freeing truth of it:
      … pursuing perfection … erodes our dependence on God.
      That is perhaps the scariest thing of all.

  3. October 15, 2014, 12:33 pm   /  Reply

    Beth, this article goes right along with where I was at yesterday. Your wisdom and advice doesn’t end, does it? 🙂

    I feel most honestly true to myself when I’m using the gifts and talents God’s given me. Tutoring children and writing stories. So maybe I won’t give up on writing. Maybe I’ll hold on to the fact that God gave me talent for storytelling. Maybe I’ll hold on to the fact that one dream is too few. Maybe I’ll smile from deep in my heart because God is so good to me and brings just the right words at the right time to push me past trepidation to determination. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll find (and hold onto) contentment along the way. Not only that, but I might also find that the dream that’s been in my heart so long is even more special and unique than I first thought. I hope so.

    Blessings and hugs, my friend.
    Andrea

    • October 15, 2014, 3:24 pm   /  Reply

      🙂
      Who knew, Andrea? Who knew?
      And yes, I do believe God gave us hearts big enough for more than one dream. I do. I do.

      • October 17, 2014, 9:00 am   /  Reply

        Well, I think you’re right, and I’m glad my brain is catching up with that thought.

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