Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Perfection

No one really likes perfect people, do they? Most of us were secretly pleased to see Martha Stewart "get hers" for her investment snafu and go to prison. She seems like she can do it all--cook, cater, tend to chickens, maintain multiple homes, entertain, garden, craft, decorate, sew. . . . the list goes on. Because she's very rich, I doubt she even does much of this for herself anymore, other than what she does truly enjoy or must do for research for her new project to show off her perfection. The money goes a long way in ensuring that she seems like she has her act together. What we see isn't real. Even in reality TV, the perception that we get is orchestrated by situations set up by producers and enhanced by good editing.

Have you ever thought that your perception of my reality isn't real either? And neither is my perception of yours. My friend Amy had called me wanting to know my secret for doing it all--playing with my kids, controlling and disciplining them, reading my Bible daily, cleaning my house, and even blogging. I assured her that I didn't do it all. I don't usually watch TV during the day, but I am on this computer a lot, writing or reading blogs. I have chosen to get up earlier and/or stay up later to give myself some guilt-free time to do it. That aside, there are times when the lure of the computer causes me to neglect other relationships or responsibilities, and I know that (and try to admit it). We can't do it all, and we shouldn't pretend like we do.
"Remember, we all stumble, every one of us. That's why it's a comfort to go hand in hand."
~ Emily Kimbrough ~
On that phone call, Amy had shared some misadventures of her children that had discouraged her, and wondered if mine ever caused trouble. When I went upstairs the next morning after Kyle had been up in his room, I found a mess in the hallway. He had emptied out several boxes of cards, and several of Amanda's games--pulled from the shelf and played with in the best way a toddler knows how. I called her up the next day and told her that I wanted to share some of our recent misadventures. I told her about the mess in the hallway, and how I thought of her that morning when I found some colored sand behind my trashcan as I was sweeping the kitchen. The week before Kyle had found some of Amanda's sand art bottles that were stuffed in a random drawer. As I was cleaning up mess number one, he was walking through the kitchen with the second bottle, which I had not taken away, and was making his own sand art all over the kitchen floor.

She told me that she wasn't glad for me that there had been trouble, but yes it did make her feel a little better that she wasn't the only one who struggled. The kind of friends that I want to walk hand in hand with are the ones with whom I can share my excitement over a child's achievement, but also laugh (or cry) over a frustration as well. I want them to expect a certain standard and encourage me to do better, but not to judge me too harshly when I fail.

It's great to share the good things. I am inspired when I witness a friend changing her ways in response to God's leading. Hearing about sacrifices made remind me that it's not all about me. Hearing about fun projects encourage me to try new things with my own kids. But sometimes seeing or hearing about the stumbles is a great reminder that none of us is perfect. We can try, but there's only one person who was perfect, and His name wasn't Martha Stewart.

" " " " " " " " " " CWO " " " " " " " " " " CWO " " " " " " " " " " CWO " " " " " " " " " "

Click over to Christian Women Online to see what other bloggers had to say about this quote.

18 comments:

Beck said...

I have a friend who is perfect - she always looks pretty, slim and well-groomed, her house is always tidy and well-decorated with something nutritious cooking in the crock-pot and her spices alphabitized in the cupboard, her children are well-behaved, bright and creative, she has a challenging job AND a happy home life... and man, I'm so resentful of her, which says something just AWFUL about me.

eph2810 said...

Thank you Jennifer for this post. Yes, we sometimes see only all the 'perfect' stuff in peope, but sometimes even the perfect people need a hand to get them back up. Like you said, there is/was only One who is perfect :).
Thank you for your wonderful words.

Laurel Wreath said...

The kind of friends that I want to walk hand in hand with are the ones with whom I can share my excitement over a child's achievement, but also laugh (or cry) over a frustration as well


Oh I could not have said that any better. I had a girlfriend, whos life always seemed "perfect" her marriage was "perfect", her kids were "perfect". And I tried to make things more real by sharing problems I encounter, but my friend would not budge. And it is a friendship that has died. It is do difficult to be close to someone who always portrays "perfection". When you know in reality we all fall and struggle.

Blessings.

Jana said...

Wonderful post! We can only truly lift each other up when we admit we're not perfect.

Thank you for sharing this!

Amydeanne said...

lol I love the MS comment lol too funny.. "it's not about me" that's the same thing I blogged about.. it's so true, and yet so hard to swallow sometimes!

Heather said...

I agree with Jana. Sometimes we're so focused on ourselves and how others see us, that we forget that the rest of the world is doing the same thing.

Joy said...

Thanks for the wonderful post.

Katrina said...

Great post, Jennifer. None of us are perfect, and often the ones we "perceive" as perfect are struggling with deep pain. When we put them on a pedestal, we lose the opportunity to get to know the "real" them and possibly be a help or encouragement when they need it.

Sissy B. said...

I used to say in my workshops about the perfect mother myth..."always remember...you most likely are catching that Mom on a good day just when your day seems to be going down the toilet"...it is all a matter of perspective. Having a friend that you can say "I know what you mean...here's how it happened to me..." and then be able to laugh it all together is a blessing.

Darlene said...

I think that when we confess our faults to our friends, we begin to feel better about being the human that we are.

Karmyn R said...

It is always satisfying to know that other people are experiencing the same problems you are! It always gives me a sense of relief to know my children arn't the only ones misbehaving!!

And no, there isn't such a word as perfect!!

owlhaven said...

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Mary

Laura said...

loved this! and i totally agree - so many times i struggle because everyone else seems to have it together. it's only been recently that i've shook out of that thinking and thought that there is no way one woman can do all this mothering, marriage and housekeeping perfectly. no way. reminding myself of that from time to time has helped. knowing that i often try to put my best foot forward and that others are likely doing the same is also a good reminder. and sticking with honest, real people that can talk about when things aren't so perfect makes for some really great hand-in-hand friendships.

Michelle- This One's For The Girls said...

I totally agree. Excellent post, Jennifer.

Jane said...

Thanks for this post, too true...nobody is perfect!

Overwhelmed! said...

What a fantastic post. I agree with you, the best friends are the ones that you can share good and bad with. I find I relate to those types of friends so much better!

Loni said...

I am inspired when I witness a friend changing her ways in response to God's leading. Hearing about sacrifices made remind me that it's not all about me.

It's great encouragement for both, isn't it?!?!?!

Great post!

lori said...

what is so funny is that most people only see the "perfect" stuff in us as we do in them...Ha, only if they could see what the Good Lord sees when the perfectness is an absolute disaster!!
I loved the post tonight, it makes me think about all of those people I see as perfect and it stopped me, and I realized for the first time in awhile...NONE of us are perfect, thats why we LOVE the comfort of another hand!! nicely said