Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Chasing Perfection

Some interesting things have been said to me in the last week.  Two of them have really stuck with me.  One was probably the greatest compliment I've ever been paid.  The other was honestly meant to a be a compliment, but it made me quite sad.

While praying with a friend after coffee last week, she thanked God that I was real. Just three days later another friend told me our family was perfect.  So which is it?

If I am real then I am certainly not perfect.  If I am perfect then I am certainly not real.

Instead of looking to and trying to be like the One who actually did live a perfect life, void of sin, I tend to hyper focus on one thing in my life I think I can fix, and in my delusional human mind I think that will make everything better, perfect.  Or I put some ordinary person I happen to think is amazing for some reason on a pedestal and analyze how I don't measure up.  I'm willing to bet I'm not the only one who's been down this road.

Here's the deal, when I finally got to that perfect number on the scale, the number wasn't so perfect any more.  When I finally earned a goal income, I didn't understand why I wasn't making more.  After I won every major world title possible in my sport, I wanted to repeat it with a better performance.  I got angry when the people I put on pedestals failed to measure up to my expectations once I got to know them.  Nothing was ever enough.

And nothing in this world will ever truly satisfy or live up to our ideas of perfection.  We will always be left thirsting for more.  The problem is that this world isn't perfect, it's broken, it's fallen and so are we.  I can't put a band aid of success on myself and stamp "fixed" on top.  Band aids don't heal gaping wounds.

There is only one way we can truly chase an unbroken, righteous, holy perfection, and in fact we are called to chase it:
"You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."  -Matthew 5:48
Mind you, this declaration to be perfect in love comes after verse 44, you know the real zinger people love to quote but not live out.  "...love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you..."  It's all great in the sermon but by the time we reach the parking lot all hope is lost as we cut each other off on the race to lunch.

It's tough for me to digest that this is the perfection I should be chasing, not the images I see in US Weekly or on TV.  Not the walls draped with numerous doctorates or the fancy cars, yachts and summer homes of the wealthy.  The perfection I should be chasing is often found in tear stained faces of people with upturned hands.  God, dare I ask you to teach me how to chase Your perfection?  Yes.

And just in case some of you have sweetly, yet mistakenly placed me on a perfection pedestal on which I do not belong, let me introduce you to my real side.
  • Sunday afternoon I became a toddler myself as I stomped my foot, clenched my fists, and screamed, "I AM SO FRUSTRATED!" In loving response my daughters completely ignored me, and my husband rolled his eyes and promptly followed them out of the room.
  • I am a retired world class athlete that has officially not worked out in a year and am kicking myself every day for it.  I see people with toned bodies in workout clothes every day around here and I get jealous and angry.  But I still don't do anything about it.
  • A few weeks back I was the woman with a toddler and three bags hanging from one arm while trying desperately with my other arm to get my other toddler to stop laying down flat on her face in the middle of a parking lot.
  • I am 5 minutes late for everything.  Kids are no excuse; I've always been like this.
  • I was the lady in the grocery store the other day with throw up covering the front of my shirt and two adorable little girls going MMA in the front of the cart over a snack cup of Goldfish crackers.
  • And just in case you need more ammo, let me load your gun.  I speak in public for a living, yet I absolutely despise having to pick up the phone and call someone.  I have no idea what it is, but I have dreaded it ever since I can remember.  I can hold a conversation once I'm on, and I'm okay about answering calls, but I'm terrible about returning calls and keeping in touch with friends because of this.  I'm a horrible communicator.
So real friends, there you have it.  Keep me off your pedestal and I'll keep you off mine.  Let's chase perfect love like Jesus instead.


  1. You are a great addition to my reading.A lot of folks have to go through this.Yes people pick and choose what they want from FATHERS WORD.

  2. Dear Laura, perfection might exist in the world of sports, after all for many years you competed against the best athletes in the world chasing the perfect score; in real life perfection does not exist, however happiness does and it comes in many flavors. One day it can be in the shape of your children giving you hug and smile, your spouse giving you a kiss, a delicious meal or a great book.

    Don’t' be so hard on yourself, being a mom is hard work, once you get the hang of it, you will find time to work out and find the balance in your life….just my two cents!!


  3. So well written with truth and authenticity - I think every Mama and woman can relate!

  4. We soooo need to do a play date! My big girl would love to help out! And I'm right there with you about the phone thing.

  5. Deal Laurie! The girls would love to follow Quinn around!

  6. Laura, I usually take off Friday afternoons, but the next few weekends are a little hectic. Quinn and I are going to Denver tomorrow to visit my soon to be 99 year old Grandmother for the weekend. The following weekend we are crewing for my husband. He is an ultra marathon cyclist and he is in training to do Race Across the West in June. Second time around for him. If you are around during Spring Break maybe we can meet at the park during lunch?

  7. Hey Laurie,
    Here's my email: diver@laurawilkinson.com
    Let's figure something out :)