The Perception Of Perfection Is An Illusion

“The thing that is really hard and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”    ~~~ Anna Quindlen

I have learned that perfection does not exist. It is a cruel, unattainable word, only a word! Wasting anymore time on trying to be perfect, in this imperfect world, is like a hamster on a wheel. Spinning around, running faster in circles, looking over your shoulder and never progressing, never getting closer to the “perception of perfection”. That “perfect life” is all an illusion. It does not exist.

I lived the majority of my life trying to be perfect. I believed, that I in my own doing, could live a life of perfection; that I was somehow stronger and superior to others that fell short. I lived in deception every moment of every day for many years.  The bar set before me was placed there in concrete by my parents and the religion I was raised; there was a long list of do’s and don’ts(mainly don’ts) and very high “unattainable” standards and morals strictly enforced by our church‘s doctrine. These beliefs were pounded into my head from a very early age. My parents disapproving look would break my heart, hurt my feelings and move me to tears, even more so than a spanking for misbehaving. Even the occasional less than perfect “A” on a report card brought disapproval and grounding. Being  “The Preacher’s Kid“, I always had to be the “good example” for other people’s children, so not behaving perfectly in church or school or public was not an option. I was told someone was always watching every move I make and living under that scrutiny was beyond stressful.  However, I knew better than to not be perfect and excel in everything I did.  That is a huge responsibility for a child to undertake. But I tried!

As life goes in this imperfect world, I could not keep up the facade; wearing a mask to hide the pain forever, pretending perfection. When I did fall, I beat myself up and cursed myself for being weak and stupid and lazy and not trying hard enough and being good enough. I hid behind the veil of shyness, insecurity, shame and guilt; all along putting a smile on my face and wrapping myself in the “filthy rags of my own self-righteousness” and standing up before people pretending everything was perfect, just as I was pretending to be perfect. I hid my mistakes well, I learned to hide and cover up my imperfections with lies; I did not want to disappoint anyone, I could not live with being rejected. When I did something that would hurt or disappoint someone, I literally felt as if I were dying on the inside, like I was suffocating to death. So I lied to get by! The lies kept people from being hurt and bringing reproach upon God and the church while I was miserable inside, but at least nobody else was having to hurt, I thought I was protecting people. Bringing shame and disappointment to my parents, the church or God, would be more than I could bear, so I continued down my own path of self-destruction. I became my own worst enemy; sacrificing, martyrdom, the one giving my life for someone else. This is so sad and such a sick way of thinking, I rationalized my sacrifices as that of like Jesus! Crazy and distorted isn’t it?

“If you live your life for other people’s approval~~~~You will surely die by their rejection! 

~~~~Pastor Rick Warren 

That is exactly how I lived my life, addicted to people’s  approval because I feared rejection. I could not function without my daily “fix” of their approval.  What I really failed to understand was that God already knew, He saw what I was doing and not doing, nothing was hidden from Him. I was disappointing Him with my cover-up’s and lies. He loved me, even the liar I was, and He was not rejecting me. He wanted me, He wanted to free me from the addiction of being a “people pleaser” and surviving only on their approval. What I needed most was a wake up call, my whole life’s focus had been on people, what they would think of me if they knew the truth that I wasn’t perfect, my focus was not on God, I was very far from God even though my whole life revolved around the church and church functions and ministries.

BUT…..  Papa GOD in His amazing saving grace through Jesus Christ, made all the difference in me. I have come to realize; through a painful, much heartache, lots of disappointments to others, plenty of self-examination, a whole lot of embarrassment, much humility and some times of true confessions:  I am imperfect, broken, flawed, sinful in nature, made plenty of stupid decisions and carries deep scars from the choices made in my life. In my deepest, darkest, loneliest hour of despair; struggling with the decision to live or die, God reached out to me and revealed Himself to me. I found that aside from Him, nothing in me is perfect or good, no matter how hard I try, I can never be perfect or good enough. This was a turning point for me in my life and I accepted Him anew into my heart, allowing His forgiveness to enable me to forgive myself and wash me clean and cleanse my mind of all the old thoughts and mindsets. I began seeking His will and His path for me to follow; I opened my heart, my arms, my life to Him in complete surrender. Just as being scrubbed head to toe from a hot, steamy shower, the rags of self-righteousness of my shame, guilt, regrets and bad memories are gone forever. I remember certain things and events as pertinent to my sharing with others, (I am writing a book about my journey; because I believe there are many, many people struggling with the same issues I have in my past).

I now confess that:

I will NEVER be perfect enough for anyone, I WILL NOT please everyone and I WILL disappoint someone the majority of the time. I choose to live my life pleasing to God and in doing so; I live with real life expectations for myself and for others I love. Nothing and no one is perfect! In fact, the imperfections are what makes each of us unique individuals and I appreciate the imperfections, they are truly Beautiful!
  
Today, I am still not perfect and never will be, that is so totally OK. I can live with that, because I have the assurance that I am loved and I am forgiven and I accepted by my Father God and there is nothing I can do to separate, divorce or dis in franchise myself from His love. You may feel the same way, heading down the same road I was on; you are struggling with the illusion of being perfect and pleasing people. The two go hand in hand. The one true satisfaction, contentment, acceptance and peace with one’s self is achievable; it is attained “only” with God. You will experience a complete paradigm shift when you realize you are nothing in and of yourself without God on in the inside.
Please Stop It Now; the vicious cycle of striving to be perfect. Just be yourself! You are special, you are loved, you are accepted just the way you are now, right where you are at this moment.
May I remind you:
You Are A Work In Progress, His Masterpiece!
You Are A Work In Progress, His Masterpiece!
” You are beautifully, wonderfully and amazingly hand crafted, hand fashioned by Father God. All that you need is already available to you. By accepting Him and allowing Him to draw those special gifts and talents from within you to the surface, you will be the “perfect”  you He created. We are all a work in progress, He is the “Master Potter“, we are the clay. He will mold, shape and put us in the fire to make us into a beautiful vessel for His collection to be used for His purpose, which is ultimately our destiny, our calling, what we were predestined and conceived to be before the foundations of this world were laid.”
YOU ARE HIS MASTERPIECE! 
Tonya F. Henshaw
March 2013
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