A Guide to Perfection [Does Not Exist]

It was this past Saturday, thirteen days into our marriage. I stood in the bathroom attempting to fix my makeup while tears streamed down my eyes [obviously trying to perfect my mascara was a futile attempt]. Cody walked in and asked what was wrong, and I proceeded to list all of the ways I was already failing as his wife. The unfolded laundry sitting on the bed, the unmovable dirt in the corners of our 70-something year old home, the boxes and bags that still needed unpacking, my ugly chapped lips (thank you ten hours of dry airplane air on the way home from the honeymoon resort), and finally the sad fact that I had not yet been able to make my new husband a big, fancy dinner. Based on my nonsensical rambling and sticky tear-stained face I expected him to implode or explode or just not know what to do. Instead he held my face in his hands and said, I love you. I am not looking for perfection.

This was definitely my husband standing in front of me. But it was also one of those rare [but beautiful] moments that God chose to speak to me through another’s words.

In an instant I was reminded of my foolishness and selfishness. More than that I was reminded of my value, my worth, my identity, my beauty. There is this constant lie in my head, and I think it is in the heads of many women; we must be better, try harder, do more. More charity, more work, more fitness, more health plans, more cooking, more cleaning, more activities. In an instant, I was reminded that this is a crafty lie.

God promises so much more for us. More truth. More peace. More Jesus. More freedom. He wants us to pause and receive. He wants us to release our burdens to Him and carry His easy yoke instead.

And so I am choosing to receive. I am choosing to take His yoke and learning to refute the lies:

1. Grow in thankfulness. Maybe this one popped in my head because we are a mere two days from Thanksgiving, but either way, its value does not fade. When I start getting down about (probably silly) “failures,” the best distraction is to choose to be thankful.

2. Root myself in the truth. Lies and anxiety are festering things. Let them sit and they can wreak havoc on my perception of reality. So for each lie or overindulgent anxiety, I am learning to have a truth memorized and handy in a little corner of my brain.

3. Stay in relationship. My standing with God is not based on my success and achievements and being the perfect Christian. It is based on relationship with Jesus and a life of acknowledgment & reflection of what He has already done for me. Likewise, our marriage is not based on duties. While love can and certainly should be translated into actions, at the end of the day Cody cares more for a wife who spends time with him than a wife who dusts every corner perfectly.

And the funny thing is, today boasts both the culmination and conclusion to this narrative. Our honeymoon is over and it’s time for real life to begin again, with its grocery lists and bills. Yet today I’m almost confined to the bed with a head cold, achy sinuses, and a finicky asthma cough. I am accepting that today I can not physically cook a big meal or clean the whole house. I am also accepting that this does not make me any less capable, cherished or loved. It does not make me any less feminine or any less of a wife.

It does make me imperfect, but beautifully so.

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