Ditching the Pursuit of Perfection

** Post includes 2 book girls’ devotional giveaway

 pursuit of perfection

Initially….

Years ago, when I was a young single girl (don’t even try to figure out how long ago this was!), I kept my tiny apartment in mint condition. Every article of clothing hung gracefully on the hanger and all articles faced the same direction. Each item had a place and occupied that place routinely. One *might* say things were perfect.

Then…

Then I got married and though I worked full-time, things were still kept in order. Dishes were washed…papers were filed…I kept things neat and tidy and more.

A Bit Later…

When I had my first child, I noticed it was a tad more demanding to keep things as “perfect” as I used to, but continually cleaned and fussed over my home, doing my best to keep everything perfectly in order. I have a confession to make: I didn’t go to bed unless the toilet paper was hanging properly in the bathroom. That’s how serious it was. I stressed myself, very unnecessarily so, to keep everything absolutely clean, neat, and beautiful- to a fault.

Eventually…

Eventually I found myself in a hard place; I had made it such a habit of keeping up with things that I failed to keep up with people. I learned the hard way that:

Pursuing perfection is not a place in your home; it’s a space in your heart.

You see, when I look at myself in those early years, I see things in order, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all, except the priority I placed on having things in order consumed my heart. And when I take a peek back at that time of my life focused on the pursuit of perfection, I regret the emphasis I placed on having things perfectly in order.

Over the Years…

Over the years, God did a work in my heart that he continues to do to this day. While I still LOVE having things in order, if you came to my house, you would see that some of it is NOT in order. Learning to ditch the pursuit of perfection in my surroundings has been quite the battle for me.Below you will find the 4 lessons I’ve learned in the process.

4 Lessons I Learned in Ditching the Pursuit of Perfection

1. Routines are wonderful and order is a necessary part of life; but routines should not dictate every moment of the day.

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

2. Relationships should always supersede routines.

 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.Phil. 2:3-4

3. Pursuing a heart perfect towards God will enable choosing appropriate priorities in life.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33

4. God sees me as perfect through the blood of Jesus and he is continually perfecting my heart.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Phil. 1:6

Teaching My Children to Pursue the Right Kind of Perfection

Last week I had a conversation with the kids about why it’s okay if we pile the dishes up in the sink one night and play a board game instead of making sure every.single.dish is washed and put away before we go to bed. Now mind you, I love waking up to a clean kitchen. Love it! But, if I have to choose between making sure every.single.dish is dried and put away and having time to play a game with the kids, then a few dishes can wait.

Using the season of spring break to infuse our relationships was more important than a  few dirty dishes and I want my kids to remember seizing the moment of making memories.

Brave Girls Books Giveaway

I’m so thrilled to introduce these two 90 day devotionals for girls that will impress the lesson of pursuing the right kind of perfection straight on their hearts!


Brave Girls: Better Than Perfect: A 90-Day Devotional

This 90 day devotional for girls encourages the understand that though life may look like a bunch of messy puzzle pieces at times, God sees the bigger picture. He is the one who creates beautiful art from fragments. The truths covered in this devotional are timeless!


Brave Girls: Faithful Friends: A 90-Day Devotional

What does the Bible say about friends, both choosing and keeping? To have a friend, you have to be a friend! Pretty simple, but oh, so important, especially for ages 7-11.

The Brave Girls engaging devotionals nurture self-esteem and relationship skills- two of the traits that can prevent us from the pursuit of perfection without balance.

I’m excited to be giving away one copy of these two books to one winner. Giveaway closes at 12:00 am 4/2. Just leave a comment answering the question:

What thought have you discovered to encourage you or your child to be the best you can be without chasing perfection?

Rachel

 

 

Disclosure: Books provided by publisher; all opinions are my own. Post includes affiliate links; site may be compensated if purchase is made. See full disclosure policy here.

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14 Comments

  1. One thing is that the Christian life doesn’t really have anything to do with our own human ability. On the other hand, it’s entirely based on God’s ability to bring forth into our lives what Christ’s death was intended to accomplish. In this case, it should be all about Christ instead of us as well as what He’s willing to do within us. So, when we’re trying hard to achieve something that can only be found in God, we’re doing the exact opposite of what we’re supposed to be doing which is relying on God’s grace dispensed to us through Christ.

    It’s not about trying harder and harder in order to please God, it’s totally about submission to Christ.

  2. My two oldest daughters and I have obsessive/compulsive disorder. Talk about the need for teaching that life will be okay without everything in perfect order! God has really stepped in this past week and taken all sense of perfect order put of our lives. We just learned I am pregnant with the 5th baby even though I was supposed to have surgery. The girls and I talk about letting God be in charge and how His plans always perfect and how to trust Him in all things. The search for Perfection has given way to the searching out of God’s will.

  3. I have one daughter now. We visited the zoo, but took interest in the giraffe and the zebra. She manged to feed the giraffe. Both animals are comfortable being who God has made us to be. You don’t need to chase any perfection because just as these animals God has made you the right size for your dreams. You are unique in your own way and beautiful in God’s eyes.
    Thank you Rachael.

  4. My two children are the same age–one about 7 inches taller than the other. One is athletic, the other not. Each is very different from the other in personality and temperament. Two things I remind them–God makes no mistakes, and He made you just the way you are. This includes our looks, abilities, inabilities when compared to others, and everything else we think and throw in, including our desire to be perfect or to have our own way. (And this works well for them to remind mama with when she starts to stress over the above list too!) Thank you for the giveaway on these books. They look helpful.

  5. Amanda Fowler says:

    Oh how I want my children to learn to be lovers of Christ over everything else! I have found that they follow my example. If I stress out about housework, my hairdo, or our homeschooling it teaches them that those are the “important” things in life. Although they are indeed important, nothing is more important than pursuing Christ! I want to lead by example and love Christ intentionally!

  6. The struggle you had is similar to a struggle I have had. It is often an argument with my own mother that my house is not spotless. It is clean, but it is definitely “lived in”. I keep looking for ways to get on to a better track and I’ll continue to try and find what works for my family.
    What I know is that my daughter is learning the value of being together – at a parent teacher conference last week, they read me an entry from her journal (she is in first grade) –
    “My Mom is worth more than gold . She plays games with me.”

    This is the lesson I want my daughter to learn – we should value the time we spend with each other!

  7. My husband and I noticed when our daughters were VERY small (they are now 7 and 6) that they emulate just about everything I do. The older they get, the more they hang on to every word and action I say and do. I am so grateful we realized this early on, because I make a concerted effort daily to never discuss my weight, to comment on when I’ve missed something, and that its ok to mess up as long as you try your best, and if you learn from it. I also have some anxiety issues, so being aware of not seeking perfection for the sake of my kids has been a learning experience.

  8. God spoke to me LOTS about this topic in the past year and months… What spoke volumes to me was a verse I kept hearing from a Casting Crowns song that said “Stop trying so hard, your trying too hard”. And I was… Like you, I was struggling to keep everything in perfect order (perfect by my standard, not God’s)… God was telling me to bring it all back a notch and simply LOVE on all those around me. LOVE on them… Not try and impress them with my “having it all together facade”. Love is they key to all relationships… Not a tidy perfect home. Xx

  9. Perfection is based on each individual’s perception. While many agree that no-one is perfect, we are perfect in that God created us and the beautiful mess around us. We are perfectly imperfect.

  10. Andrea Stewart says:

    Realizing that only perfection belongs to God and because He knows that I am far from perfect I need not carry the burden of feeling the need to be.

  11. Children do not require a perfect mommy; rather children require a mommy who loves and adores a perfect God. When I’m not having the perfect morning or the perfect day, God is so gracious, He reminds me to stop, take a moment, reconnect with the children and encourage them with this very simple yet oh so powerful message: “there is only one perfect person in the world and they answer “JESUS”. It is such a great reminder of His strength in our weakness!

  12. this sang a song to me… I was the same way when I was younger and I still want a tidy home. I had to have God teach me through some really difficult times of what tidy is to look like with a family. I still get frustrated but I don’t voice my opinion about it i keep to my self and pray…. I love that you are teaching your children now. I think if I were taught as a child the different stages of cleanliness I wouldn’t be such a perfectionist. The brave Girls Less than Perfect looks like a great book. I have three girls of my own…. thanks for being so real…

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