present over perfect

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This is what our bedroom looks like when it’s really clean. I love it when it’s like this; it makes me feel focused and relaxed. But usually there’s a big stack of clothes on the floor, half empty Nyquil packets by the bed, and bobby pins (mine, not David’s) scattered throughout. We make the bed maybe twice a month.

It’s easy to capture perfect moments & write love letters & take pictures of the parts of your house you just cleaned. It’s the blogging world is especially seductive… people’s online lives are full of cute kids, perfect decor & lovely food. Over and over I have to remind myself: I want my life to be marked by vulnerability over perfection. But lately I’ve realized that the desire for perfection not only keeps us from vulnerability, but it also often keeps us from being present, from doing things that matter.

It’s no secret that I love Shauna Niequist… lately some of her stuff on being “present over perfect” has been really resonating with me.  You wouldn’t be able to tell I’m a perfectionist from my desk at school–it’s a wreck, papers everywhere. Why? Because if I’m going to clean my desk, I’m going to clean it perfectly. If I’m going to have them for dinner, I’m going to do it perfectly, etc. The problem is, I usually don’t have the time or mental fortitude to do it perfectly. So I just don’t do it.

Last week I found out the lady across the street from us died. Her son and daughter are living in her house. I thought, “Oh, it’s almost fall, I should find a pumpkin bread recipe and make it and then I can wrap it in fall themed packaging and…” but as I thought about it more, I realized, yeah, I’m probably never actually going to do that. So instead I took store bought cookie dough out of our fridge (not even slice and bake… or a mix… we’re talking the break apart stuff), made a batch while I did dishes, wrapped them in parchment paper and wrote a simple note. I dropped them off an hour later. It wasn’t perfect. It wasn’t like I imagined it. But I did it and that’s what matters. Present over perfect.

This is truth is needed in so many parts of my life… inviting people to stay the night even though the guest room still looks like wedding threw up in it. Having people for dinner even if it means pizza. Picking up the house for fifteen minutes even if there’s no time to vacuum and windex. That’s what I want to be… humble, present over perfect, trusting God’s grace to do the rest.

p.s. Shauna on why you should stop waiting for life to be perfect.

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2 Responses to present over perfect

  1. I love this post, Ruth Ann. I recent found a quote that really resonated with me and then I read this post and I couldn’t agree more. The quote is: “The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” We stop ourselves from doing so many things because they won’t be “grand” but, in reality, they mean just as much to the receiver whether they are extravagant or simple. Thanks for this reminder and I hope all is well with you and your new hubby!

    ps. I love the name of your blog :)

  2. Pingback: friday five | gathering moss

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