I didn’t fully appreciate the phrase “picture perfect” until I started blogging and vlogging. When I am taking photos and videos, the space is always chaotic. There are props, lights, people and many other things. Despite the mess around me, the lens only catches what I want others to see. The process of creating a “picture perfect” set is fun, but I learned the hard way that there is no such thing as a “picture perfect” life. Let me explain…
As a child, my life was not ideal. Many of my adult family members waited (maybe even prayed) for me to fail. I can recall one of them taunting, “You’ll be next to get pregnant!” At the time, I was only 15 years old. I wasn’t even sexually active. And although my mother, who had me as a teenager, has always been my inspiration, I did not want to be a teenaged mother. The harsh, unwarranted prediction was hurtful. Some of my other adult relatives went even further and lied about me saying that I had been pregnant and had an abortion. These lies were equally hurtful.
Those kinds of attacks toward me were common. In an attempt to prove my attackers wrong, I grew into a child who tried desperately to avoid failure or even the appearance of failure. By the time I reached adulthood, I was a full blown perfectionist. My life had to be “picture perfect” at all times and in all areas.
The pressure was overwhelming. I didn’t give myself permission to make mistakes. In other words, I didn’t give myself permission to be human. The pursuit of perfection not only caused me to have unrealistic expectations of myself but of others as well. I was overly critical of those around me, especially my loved ones. I pressured them to be flawless.
It was a huge relief for me to learn that Jesus accepts us as we are. I don’t have to show up as a perfect person. I don’t have to have every hair in place. I don’t have to pretend that everything in my life is great when it isn’t. I don’t have to say, “all is well” when my world is falling apart. I don’t have to smile when I want to cry. I don’t have to hold it all together. I get to be my imperfect self.
I like the phrase, “Be the best version of yourself”. But I have to tell you that even the best version of myself is imperfect. And I’m okay with that.
These days when I feel pressured to be “picture perfect”, I remind myself that God does not require perfection from me. He already knows that would be unattainable for me, and He never sets me up to fail. Yes, He wants my best, but even more He wants a relationship with his imperfect daughter. Messy hair, messy life—He doesn’t mind. He just wants me.