By Lana Leigh Wilkens
Perfection: it’s what we long for, but it’s also the enemy of God’s best in our lives. Here’s how God can help you choose better.
The Ideal of Perfection
Being a mom and wife isn’t easy. Even though I knew this going in, I still had my set of ideals. I imagined my husband would come home from work and see my children all snuggled around me, quiet and content. They’d be riveted as I read classical literature and we’d all have hot beverages in our hands (no spills either). The house would be sparkling without any grimy fingerprints around the doorways. Can you picture it?
But no. When my husband comes home he rarely sees that scene. Well, actually never. I’m more likely to be flashing back and forth across the house, looking for ways to entertain and sustain the life of our 20-month-old while reminding everyone that dinner is coming soon and encouraging them to pick up their rooms. There’s a sweetness, but it’s a hectic sweetness these days.
The truth is, I do read books aloud to our kids. There are memorable moments when it seems all the world is in sync and liquids stay in their containers. We gather around in the mornings to read God’s Word together and eat breakfast. Generally speaking, we all get along and want to be together. I intensely love my family.
Yet I have a never-ending list of cyclical duties. Rarely do I get everything done that I wanted or hoped. There is little down time. The baby isn’t where she was a second ago, the toddler has another uncapped marker, my daughter needs help with math, and I’m supposed to call someone about a bill.
So you can see why, with that perfect image in my mind, I might feel like a failure when my husband comes home from work. It’s not him; it’s me. It’s my imaginary standards for myself.
But why? Where in the Bible does it command me to have a perfectly cleaned home and read classic literature to my children on the couch? News flash! God actually designed me to be a mom and a wife, knowing I would mess up and my kids would annoy me sometimes. He knew all the circumstances ahead of time and still made us a family. My weakness is part of his plan to train me.
Letting Go of Perfection
When life becomes chaotic, I can take a deep breath. I can remember this life I’m living is part of God’s plan. He sees all I’m going through and is involved in the details.
God saw this coming. He made me a wife and mother on purpose. The God of the universe knows all my weak spots and imperfections. He still chooses me to live this fantastically flawed life. Every day, he gives me opportunities to draw closer and learn more about him. Nothing about my circumstance surprises him.
Motherhood and wifehood are my discipleship program. So when I find that sweet spot of carefree time with my kids, and my husband walks into the house to see that Hallmark moment, I’m thankful. And, when the plates I try to keep spinning in the air crash down just as their dad walks in, I have another chance for thankfulness.
Thank you, God, for showing me my limits, for making sure I don’t get fooled into thinking I don’t need you.
Every hard moment is an opportunity for discipleship. Every failed attempt teaches me something. When I feel like I’ve messed up the day by raising my voice or criticizing my husband in front of the kids, I remember this: I’m committed to a God who is committed to teaching me, and I want to be teachable.
Philippians 1:6 says, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work among you will complete it by the day of Christ Jesus.” (NASB) How beautiful is that? God’s not giving up on me. He’s holding both me and my husband, not at all surprised by our neediness for his grace and love. And, he’s holding you too, embracing you despite imperfections.
Wife Step: Pray for a teachable heart. God will use it to help you let go of perfection.
Lana Leigh Wilkens, author of Knee-Jerk Mom, helps women discover their authentic family values and challenges them to ask the right questions so they can decide with confidence, not comparison.
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