I gazed inquisitively at the waves as they crashed one after another on the solid, sandy shore. In front of the place where I was sitting, two young girls were laughing, screaming and jumping in the water. Their playful screams echoed through the roar of the ocean as each wave came crashing at their feet. I giggled to myself at their innocence and thought for a second, when did growing up become so hard?
I observed the two young girls laugh and enjoy life without a care in the world and it brought me back to memories when my sister and I stood in their shoes. I remember sitting on these very beaches in North Carolina at their age, running, jumping, dancing in the sun with my sister. We were so little and so innocent. The world did not touch us with pain, hurt, and the realities of life just yet.
I remember pretending we were queens of the ocean, and mermaids who explored the deep sea to find hidden underwater cities. We had ambitions and dreams to be leaders, actors, teachers, and world changers. We pretended to be wonderful beings with a wonderful life, living out our biggest dreams, goals and ambitions. We had the world at our fingertips imagining anything and everything we have ever wanted. That was when life was good, easy. It was innocent, with no hurt, no pain, no people influencing you to be who they want you to be. It just was. And it was good.
When we were all children we played, we explored, we laughed, and we enjoyed life to its fullest. We had a childlike faith that was unshakable. We all believed in ourselves, our abilities, and our aspirations.
When did the world take those beliefs away? When did life become the daily to-do lists, or the anxieties, the worries, or the pressures of measuring up to the world’s standards and the opinions of others?
I think in some aspect or another everyone has confronted this loss of innocence as we grow up and face the realities, disappointments and pain that life may inflict upon us. We each have these images of the person we want to be in our heads. That “ideal” being and “ideal” life we wish to live. We strive to be that perfect person that is good enough, smart enough, and CAN do everything that our real selves lack. We each strive to become that person, to do what it takes to change ourselves into this perfect version of who we are.
The reality is we will never measure up to that “ideal” version of ourselves. We will never be perfect. When we think we finally have one part of ourselves mastered, there will be another area to perfect, to work on, to strive towards, and this is OKAY.
I am not sure what path of life you may be on right now or the struggles you may be facing. Maybe you are struggling to find that perfect, suiting job. You are trying to change yourself to fit into the mold of the career path you chose; attempting to perfect each quality to match the ideal job resume for the career you have chosen to pursue .
Maybe you are trying to live up to the perfect standards of parenthood, competing with all other parents around you, listening to the type of parent you should be, or what you should not do for your child.
Or maybe, you are listening to the opinions of others way too much, pleasing people rather than honoring yourself or your own choices. Maybe you are listening too much to the voices of those who tell you who you are, who you are not, and who you should be. You try to measure up to their worth, their standard, and come to find you let them down or fail every time you try to mold yourself to their ideals of who you are.
In actuality, we are imperfect beings trying to live in a society that pushes its standards of perfection on each one of us.
The truth is we are all unfinished, and imperfect.
But let me tell you a little secret, by God’s grace, and perfection, our imperfections are made whole. What this means, is through our creator’s perfect eyes and love for us, he choose to create us as imperfect beings. It is through our imperfections we reflect what it really means to be human, to be flawed, to need a God who is loving and perfect in His entirety and covers our imperfections with His forgiveness, and His love. Thus, we do not have to live up to this standard of perfection we place on ourselves. We do not have to struggle, or try to be this “ideal” “perfect” version of who we want to be. Our worth is not measured on what others think of us, the amount of items we check off on our to-do list, our accomplishments, our failures, our struggles, or even our flaws.
Our worth is measured by who we are IN our IMPERFECTIONS. The unfinished versions of ourselves.
I have this sweatshirt from one of my favorite Christian bloggers, Jordan Dooley, it says “your brokenness is welcome here.” Every time I wear it I remember I do not have to live up to these ideals of perfection. I do not have to continue to expend my energy trying to fix every little thing that is wrong with myself and my life. Instead, I can focus on God’s grace and love that covers my imperfections and my brokenness. I can focus on being the kind of woman God wanted me to be- kind, caring, passionate, loving, happy, excited for life. I can live a life of joy, happiness, and have that child-like faith and innocence like I had when I was younger. Life will still have its struggles, and its pain, but I know I don’t have to try so hard to be perfect, to be accepted, or to be who others want me to be, because I am already accepted, I am already loved, by a God who embraces me for the imperfect mess that I am.
Whether you believe in God or not, trying to live up to the standards of society and the daily stresses of trying to be perfect, or enough for this world can weigh on you.
So instead of trying to focus on perfecting every aspect of who you are, or what you want your life to look like, love yourself in your imperfections, and the places where you are at in this moment of time. Go back to that little child inside of you, find him or her, the innocence, the happiness, the childlike faith and focus on living a life that brings out joy, happiness and love. Live in the imperfect moments, and accept the flaws you have, while striving not for perfection of those flaws, but of being a work in progress. Work hard to accomplish your dreams and goals, but know the imperfections and flaws do not define who you are.
You are unfinished and imperfect, a work in progress, and this is okay.