Whatever you are doing, do it with all your heart—those were the words of the melody that started playing in my mind when I sat down at my computer to write this post. At first that little melody annoyed me; I did not feel excited and happy about the day—just grumpy and tired. But wholehearted living—like everything else—is a choice before it’s a feeling. It involves many daily and challenging choices. Among them is a willingness to accept imperfection.
Brené Brown, in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, goes beyond this; she says that wholehearted living means embracing imperfection. When I first read that statement, it did not make sense to me. I dislike being imperfect; nevertheless, it is reality. And refusing to accept myself in my imperfect state insures unhappiness. It means that I can only be satisfied with an accomplishment if it contains no flaws.
Last night my husband asked the members of his small group (of which I am a part) to share an accomplishment that they felt good about. When my turn came, I held up my book and said, “I published my book and here it is! I’m excited about sharing it.” I am excited, yet my excitement fluctuates. Putting my imperfect but growing self “out there” for others to see is exciting, but also scary. How do I overcome the scariness? By reminding myself of the truths reflected in the following poem, written before my hair started turning gray.
I would like to reach maturity without the graying hair.
I’d like to skip a step or two; instead I climb each stair.
I’d like to pass the tests of life without a failing score.
However, I have flunked a few; more will come, I’m sure.
I’d like to skate Olympic style—command performance sing.
But when it comes to exercise, no strength my muscles bring.
When I’m challenged by some task, I quickly volunteer—
Then emotions fade and flee, my knees give way in fear.
I’d like to boast in confidence—all my great exploits sell.
But most of them are fantasies—a lie I will not tell.
When I face reality, I know I’m simply dust.
To mold me in perfection’s plan, my Savior I will trust.
Our present reality–immaturity and imperfection is the topic I discuss in chapter 2 of Emotional Freedom. I point out that perfection is not about flawlessness, but about character change—the development of healthy love in our lives, which happens as we connect with Jesus Christ.