I didn’t make my bed this morning! Does that make me a bad person? It’s not really a big deal. I can live with it. I’ll go back in there and make it when I’m ready but it can stay that way for awhile – even all day if I feel like it. This was NOT the case a few years ago. I never would have left the bed unmade! Back then I was busy “perfecting” everything. I didn’t really call it that but looking back I can see that was the aim. I was trying to be the perfect wife, mom, homemaker and church lady and then one day it ALL fell apart miserably!
Making the bed was just the tip of the iceberg. Of course, when you make the bed the covers must be exactly the same length on each side, the pillows must be plumped and smoothed and the matching sheets and coverlet folded back just so. Then I would go to the closet where my clothes were hung (hangers all facing the same direction of course) and color coordinated. The rotating cleaning schedule for the day was written down, my “to-do” list was posted on the fridge, the living room clean and decorated just in case a visitor might pop over, the laundry was done, the grocery shopping planned and after school cookies ready to be baked.
It doesn’t really sound all that bad does it? it’s good to make the bed and be organized right? None of these things are inherently wrong. But what was wrong was that I thought I HAD to be perfect to be loved. There was no room for error. I was pouring all of my energy into appearances. I was more concerned with what people thought of me than how I felt about myself. I was juggling so many balls in the air and trying to maintain a “martha stewart” like existence that I forgot to “perfect” one thing. I forgot to take care of myself.
I was gaining weight. I was constantly unhappy. My relationship with my husband was crumbling. my kids were getting into trouble….and then I started dropping balls. I won’t go into details here but it was a big ball to drop and it made me stop and look at myself in a “Who the hell ARE you?” way. I was so stunned and lost that I went away with a girlfriend for a weekend to a conference hoping to figure things out. At that conference the message finally got through…..HELLO DAWN! WAKE UP! IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO BE PERFECT!
I cried for about three days and felt a huge weight fall off of my shoulders. I finally realized…striving for perfection is not going to make your husband reconnect with you. Your kids need to see that it’s ok to be imperfect because they are going to make mistakes and they need to know you will still love them. Your friends do not want to compete with your “martha stewart” perfectionism. They want a REAL friend. Someone who struggles, gets frustrated, makes mistakes and laughs about it! Be real, be you, stop trying to live up to some impossible standard that you can never achieve!
So now I don’t make my bed if I’m in a hurry to get to the coffee pot. I don’t live in a pristine, sterile house waiting for guests. I live in a big old RV that is comfy and tidy but nowhere near perfect. I admit my clothes are still color coordinated – it makes it easier to find what I’m looking for! My kids have seen my imperfection and they still say the love me – Yay! I take better care of myself. I’m less judgemental of others – you can’t help but be more accepting after falling off the “perfection” pedastal. I try to live in love – choosing to see the good in everything. I make LOTS of mistakes but when I do I laugh about it.
Life is messy. It’s not perfect and neither am I. We are all broken and chipped a little bit around the edges – some of us more than others. But those cracks and chips are what make us unique and beautiful. They teach us lessons about how to live our lives. How to be real, open and forgiving toward others. NO ONE is perfect so if you are struggling with perfection it’s time to let go. From one recovering perfectionist to another….it will never happen my dear friend. Let go now before everything falls apart. People will love you even if you are imperfect – in fact, they may even love you MORE!