In the midst of one of the crazier seasons of our lives, we are moving. For years we have been praying that at the right time and in the right way, God would provide a way for us to rent our current home to some of our beloved San Diego State students and settle into one with a little more space. In His timing, He has provided.
I waiver between elation at God’s provision of a new home for us with a tree that is not of the palm variety and extreme anxiety regarding an impending move. I love structure, stability, everything with a place and everything in its place. I am raising similar little souls in my three boys. We are all kinds of discombobulated.
In an effort to to set realistic expectations about the next few weeks before we move mid-March, I said to my husband, “You just need to prepare for me to not be my best Aimee,” to which I received back a chuckle.
Curious as to the cause of the smirk on his face, I asked what he found so funny. His reply: “You are assuming in that statement that you are often your best Aimee.”
I am pretty certain he meant it in jest, but the statement jarred and jostled me this week. With one playful statement, my husband had me (or rather, God had me pegged through my husband).
The scary reality is that most days my goal is to present my best self forward. I am a recovering perfectionist though neither my house nor the state of my abs (that state being missing altogether, lost, AWOL, etc…) seem to say so.
God has been doing a long work on loosening an overly-tight and tense soul. Marriage has helped this work along, but, truth be told, the main catalyst has been parenting three boys. With each child, God has been expertly and effectively chipping away at my perfectionism and need for control.
Yet, with every major life change or transition, God graciously reminds me that rugged remnants of my perfectionism remain, lying latent in my soul. Plastic bins packed with pictures, toiletries, but mostly books, balk at my perfectionistic tendencies.
As we pull away beds and dressers, exposing hidden haunts of dust colonies, God is simultaneously pulling away my soul’s cover of a patchwork perfectionism. Because I cannot compete with true perfection, I have created my own standards of mothering, wifing, discipling and human-ing to which I daily strive to adhere.
With a room full of moving boxes and a few bare walls, God has laid bare my soul once again. With the move, I have had to ask for more apologies, more grace and more help than feels comfortable for my perfectionism-plagued soul.
My middle son and I went on a dreaming date to the ulterior universe called Ikea last week to get ideas for his new room. As we were walking through the showrooms of sensory overload, a poster caught our attention (and not because of its strange name… RIBBA).
We had a precious conversation about both of our tendencies to want to get everything right, to do all things well, to avoid mistakes like the plague. We talked about how the gospel pierces our carefully-built armors of perfectionism, about how Jesus welcomes our limitations and failures as opportunities to press our deepest identities more deeply into us, about how Jesus is THE PERFECT one to whom our mistakes are meant to point us.
Later, my sweet little buddy made me his own far-better version of the poster. I plan to treasure it for the rest of my life. More than that, I pray that God would continue to pursue me and order my life in such a way that what remains of my perfectionism would be pierced through with gospel freedom.
For freedom Christ has set us free, stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1.
In Christ, we are free to risk, free to fail, free to rejoice in our limitations because we serve the unlimited One who was limited to the Cross on our behalf. In Christ, I do not need the armor of perfectionism to protect my image, for I am hidden in the visible image of the Invisible God.
With these timeless truths shoring up my struggling soul, it is back to the boxes for me and mine. See you on the other side.