Wednesday, April 1, 2015

perfection

When my husband and I moved into our first new home, I took great care to decorate every square inch to match the photos of a Home and Garden magazine. I was full of passion and determination to make our new home, well, perfect. Yes, I was sure that I needed everything to be just so - like a model home.  Idyllic.

I envisioned that in this idyllic house, people would gather together - eating 5-star dinners that I would naturally whip up in my always-clean kitchen. We’d all play games, enjoy homemade pie and cookies, and laugh together without any disagreements or confrontations. Here, I planned for me and mine to live out our perfect, happy lives as we all dressed and looked like Calvin Klein models and excelled neatly and orderly in every endeavor faced. We would sip after-dinner espressos and enjoy intellectual conversations about world peace as we reclined on the latest Pottery Barn leather furniture pieces - all organized in such a way that Martha Stewart would give an approving nod in my direction.  Ah, the dream.

Now, you might think I am exaggerating – but sadly this is a true story. I was crazy-obsessed about our stuff.  So much so, that once we moved into that first little house, I had convinced myself that if my family REALLY loved me, they too would adopt my perfection standards - making sure that everything in our world was “just so” (which really translated to mean “my way”).  Yup... Whether my family liked it or not, I had plans for us to be the Jones family... to be admired by all of Stepford. In our home, everything would appear effortless and natural…. everything would be just PERFECT!

Sigh.

Of course, you don't have to be Captain Obvious to realize that a model home is really just empty space with staged, un-lived in square footage.  It has no heart.  It has no life.  But real homes... real life for that matter... well, that entails something much messier and active, doesn't it?

Needless to say, it didn’t take me very long to realize my magazine-looking bubble-life was about to abruptly burst. Soon there were marks on the walls, scuffs on the floor, dings in the furniture, and piles of laundry tossed about.  Real life... real living had happened!  My gourmet cooking turned out to be, well, as appealing as toxic waste. Our designer sales socks started sprouting holes in their toes and required ugly mending. And the fancy-schmancy furniture I had eyed at lustfully always proved to be just a little too expensive for our budget.  But no worries, we settled for cheaply made plywood furniture instead.  You know, the kind that starts bowing and splitting almost immediately after purchase. Ugh. Worst of all, with every imperfection, everyone in my life began to irritate me with their "human error" excuses... EVERYONE! You see, this uncontrolled atmosphere was not what I signed up for!  No, this imperfect version of my planned out, just-so life was not the one I wanted.  Slowly, I felt my dreams deflate and my soul sour into angry isolation and ungratefulness.  So much so, that nobody in my world could breathe easy for fear that I'd have a hissy fit over a toothpaste cap left atop the counter.  (Can somebody say CRAZY WOMAN?)

By the grace of God, I am so thankful for the day I finally hit rock bottom after something petty threw me over the edge. That day I started to wonder why “my way” wasn’t working as planned. I got on my knees and pleaded with God to change everyone in my life - - fix everything to meet my expectations, Lord! No more huge disappointments... no more broken, dirty, soiled, misplaced and unrepairable messes. Please work in everyone's hearts so that they would care enough about my feeling and keep things my way.... to meet my needs! I prayed and prayed and prayed to the Lord about my plans and me, me, me, me, me, me. Wait a sec…. am I focusing too much on ME again?

Ahem.

Then the Holy Spirit asked, "Victoria, do you care more about this home and these things than you do your own husband, mother, family, friends? Do you care more about the condition of walls, cabinets, and furniture than the hearts of those who claim My kingdom? Are you focused more on your own busyness instead of encouraging the salvation of those who don't know Me (Jesus)?  Really? Why are you putting all this time and effort into obsessing over temporary things that will unquestionably end up as rubble? Why aren’t you focusing more on living in My Name and loving others like I have shown you to love - sacrificially, wholeheartedly, holy!!?"

Yup.  God was right.  Jesus never obsessed over a chair being pushed in after it was used. Instead he invited us to come sit with Him... to be close and know Him. When challenged by disappointing circumstance and those who did not love Him, Jesus humbly stuck to His Father's plan and continued to love and uplift and heal.  His Way was a good way... a perfect Master plan from the Savior who offers mankind everlasting LIFE!

You are right, Lord... this is not about me. This is about YOU. My time here is to live for YOU… to mirror YOU… to be close to YOU... to love others the same way YOU love me.   To be part of the solution... part of your healing.  What a wonderful way to live... in God's LOVE!  Yes, this realization changed everything in my life.  Suddenly I was looking through eternal eyes where scuffed walls and kicked off shoes didn't even come close to the important nail-marred hands of my King.

So, today I encourage you who might find yourself struggling over your own selfish version of "the perfect life" to really consider WHO is perfect? There is only one answer: JESUS CHRIST!  And His Way is always, always about love and community.  So, let the rest go, Ladies.  Leave the details all to Him.  Instead of obsess over tomorrow's trash, love the Lord and make His Way your only treasure - your heart's desire!!!  Make Him the focus of your life, friend.  For He is the only standard to seek... the only model worth copying. Yes, love and stay close to the Master.  For His plan is perfect and available for you to enjoy and follow right now.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

4 comments:

  1. This could have been me.... I am so thankfull for honesty in day to day efforts that collapse into bundles of nothing.Yes, it has nothing to do with the fancy furniture and stuff in the most beautiful home. It is a pleasure to be surrounded by beauty, but a change of attitude and a change of heart and a focus on Christ like needs.The journey to seek His Kingdom and His righteousness and all will be added onto you, changed from fleshly adds-ons to spiritual adds-ons. I think God laughs at our "perfect" options we use to make.

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  2. Boy, this hit home! Have I been there! hehehe........You have a wonderful way of articulating it! Praise the Lord that our eyes have been open!

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  3. Thank you for posting this. Made me think really think about what's important in my life.

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  4. As a recovering perfectionist, I needed this message. I don't care if Martha Stewart is happy, but I do like my projects to look good. And although I can rationalize and say my projects are usually to be given as gifts, I still have to remind myself not to let perfectionism pack those projects out of sight instead of giving them away.

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