Saturday, December 14, 2013

A New Trick

I've given a talk called The Pursuit of Perfection at two different conferences now. In it, I talk about this incessant need we have to be better, be more, and fit into a societal standard of perfection. I discuss what biblical perfection means and how the only expectation we have to meet is the one God has for us--not what the rest of the world wants us to be...or do. Still, we try to be Superwoman. We try to take the good aspects of every woman we know and possess them all. It's impossible. It's exhausting. It's devastating.

In the opening minutes of the talk, I reference things that my friends are doing. Many of them are taken directly from things I've seen on Facebook. When I rattle off all the great accomplishments my friends are, well, accomplishing, it sounds ridiculously overwhelming. Of course, each of them is only doing one or two things, not all of them.

But, in any case, it sounds something like this...

In this age of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other forms of social media, we are confronted daily with all the areas we might be failing. I have friends who feed their families all organic, others who are getting promotions, having babies, writing books, writing plays, running marathons, buying new cars, starting ministries, buying homes, tweeting about their immaculately clean homes, working full time, raising kids full time. I have friends who have four year olds that are READING! I feel like I'm barely keeping my head above water. Isn't it enough that my four year old knows his letters? Isn't it enough that my first grader remembers his backpack? No! It's not enough for me. Because I'm a recovering perfectionist and I fall off the wagon a lot.

Later, I discuss that it's okay for us to settle for a degree of mediocrity. We just can't be the very best at everything we do. So believe me when I tell you that I don't honestly know how this happened.

(He seems sad because he is not loving the fact that the camera is on him. He's the opposite of his brother.)

I mean, I meant it when I said, "Isn't it enough that my four year old knows his letters?" Truth is, it IS enough. I didn't really mean for this to happen. His brother learned to read (after a lot of work and hair pulling) just before he turned six and just before he started kindergarten. Once he put it together he flew through books and he's reading at an end-of-second-grade reading level, but the road was long and filled with tears--only some of them were mine. So I was hopeful that a year or so from now, my youngest would learn to read. Then, six months ago he shocked me by moving letter magnets around on the refrigerator and reading two letter words. A couple of months ago I realized he could also read three letter words. In the last month or so he's started recognizing some sight words and willingly sitting down with books. Of course, he's at the very beginning of his journey with reading. He's a work in progress.

But, yeah, he's still four.

I really had very little to do with this.

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