10 Ways I Learned to Embrace Imperfection

Cake for breakfast. Last night’s dishes piled in the sink. Sleeping past the alarm. Allowing myself to say “no” before the health of my soul suffers quietly.

Not one of those things listed above is easy for me. I have personal expectations and priorities. I have people counting on me & waiting for me & loving me because of my service.

But friends? That message I just typed above? It’s from the devil.

Are you a perfectionist? Do you want to learn to embrace imperfection? Ask God to work in your heart. Here are 10 things He has taught me during my process.

He likes to whisper that perfection is good, even better. He likes it when we find our self-worth in things & accomplishments rather than love & grace. He savors the moments when our soul struggles under the weight of expectations and promises.

I am an imperfect person.

Would you repeat that with me?

I am an imperfect person.

There is abundant freedom when we allow ourselves to embrace imperfection. Below is my list of 10 heart changes I’ve experienced while allowing God to do gentle surgery on my hard heart. I’ve purposefully asked Him to enter in and change the rough standards of perfection into soft & glorious imperfection.

How I learned to Embrace Imperfection:

1. Messes are okay because it means real love is lived.

Dishes can be left. Laundry can sit. Floors can be sticky. These are okay, because it means that I feel freedom to love rather than clean. I feel able to spend time after dinner with my husband, because the dishes can wait when love needs giving.

2. The to-do list can wait because interruptions are from the Lord.

Those long lists of personal expectations? They can fall to the side, because sometimes life isn’t as we planned & sometimes we need to allow ourselves to be available for the Lord instead of available for our own agenda.

3. I can eat cake for breakfast & savor the moment, because sometimes the little things are actually the big things.

The little things are the small joys of life. I can & will enjoy these small joys, because it is in the small moments when I experience God and His goodness. Cake for breakfast? Okay. Pumpkin-smelling candles and a cup of afternoon coffee? Yes, please. God will minister in these moments when we invite & remember Him.

4. I can stay home & rest – I can say no – because the health of my soul is bigger than always saying “yes.”

If you’ve been around the blog before, you know that this is a message I love to scream from the rooftops – mostly because I am so horrible at practicing what I preach. “Yes” and “No” have more weight on our soul than we dare to ponder. Practice saying “no” so that the rest you need will actually happen.

Are you a perfectionist? Do you want to learn to embrace imperfection? Ask God to work in your heart. Here are 10 things He has taught me during my process.

5. Reaching out & being vulnerable will actually strengthen me, rather than weaken.

I can ask for help. I can have needs. I can need others. These things are not weakness – in fact, we were made for community! Being vulnerable shares the gospel in more mighty ways than pretending I have it all together. Because friends? I don’t.

6. I don’t have to make excuses, because sometimes life is just hard.

We live in a broken world with broken people. Sometimes, life is really just hard. Sickness, sadness, guilt, aches, pains, bitterness – these things make life feel just plain hard. So, I don’t have to make excuses about my failures & my brokenness, because life is hard and grace is greater.

7. Saving a piece of myself for my family is light years more meaningful than spending all of my energy during the day.

When I am spent before noon and needing a nap, my husband gets little of the best of me. It’s a conscious effort to choose to save myself for him – for our short time together at the end of each day. Other things can wait when I have a husband from the Lord.

8. There is abundant joy & freedom when the personal expectations are cut loose.

Personal expectations can quickly pile into guilt & shame & frustration. Have you felt that too? There is so much more freedom and fun when I allow my personal expectations to fall aside, even for a moment.

Are you a perfectionist? Do you want to learn to embrace imperfection? Ask God to work in your heart. Here are 10 things He has taught me during my process.

9. I will be loved – not for what I do, but for who I am.

Please hear this today. Please ponder this today. You are valued & loved not for what you do, but for who you are. You a child of the One True King. You are forgiven and redeemed. You have mighty purpose in the kingdom of God. Nothing you do can outweigh your identity as a beloved child of God.

10. Perfection is a grace killer – and I need constant grace.

Perfection kills grace. How can I live in grace when I am surrounded by expectations and limitations and busyness and frustration and fear of the opinions of others? Well, I can’t. There must be surrender. Surrender to grace and live freely in this amazing gift from God.

Don’t get me wrong. Just because I can eat cake for breakfast and leave the dishes for one night doesn’t mean that my perfectionism is gone. But praise be to the God who is choosing to work in my heart!

How is God working in your heart? Have you had some heart changes when it comes to perfectionism? Share below!

P.S. Grab my free 6-day email study about trusting God steadfastly when you enter your name & email address below! It’s be an honor to send encouragement straight to your inbox each week. Hope to see you there!

7 thoughts on “10 Ways I Learned to Embrace Imperfection

  1. Thanks for being so vulnerable and sharing your heart with us, Alison. It’s so hard to let go of perfectionism isn’t it? I feel like it’s always a work in progress, but we have a heavenly Father who loves us completely, just as we are. I hope that we can find peace in knowing that. And yes, relax and enjoy life more, dirty dishes and all. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Marva! What a sweet comment. 🙂 I am so thankful for grace & its resulting love and freedom. Goodness, we have a mighty God. I appreciate you!

  2. This is so good! Important reminders we all need. “Perfection is a grace killer,” and oh my do I need grace. Thanks for sharing your heart to help us see into our own deep places. Loved sharing this!

    1. Deb, thanks for commenting & encouraging me! I’ve battled the war between perfection and grace for a long time. And I’ve learned surrender is always better. 🙂 I appreciate you sharing this.

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