I still find myself afraid to make a mistake. I don’t like looking foolish or weak in the eyes of others and in the end I find myself lost in a forest of perfection, feeling small, insignificant and unworthy as I look at people who have their act together.
For so long the message of the world has been that doing everything right will make you happy and that true happiness lies in doing and saying the right thing all the time. As Koren Motekaitis says, “Chasing perfection is exhausting” because we think the approval of others will make us feel better about ourselves.
It won’t, because we can never be perfect.
The opposite is what happens though, shame shows up when we make a mistake and fall short of our hopes to be truly loved and accepted. It puts us under pressure to be someone we are not. We work so hard at not being judged by others and end up feeling worse instead of better as we fall short again and again. We use the armor of perfection to protect us from rejection and disappointment and it is a mistake.
As we fail, the “hammer” of shame puts dents into the armor of perfection that we use to hide our true selves, our weaknesses, and mistakes. The truth is that making mistakes is how we learn, grow and change. Making mistakes helps correct and adjust our course through life. It takes true humility and true courage to admit our shortcomings and imperfections.
Imperfection is part of our journey and thankfully God sees us in a different light than we do. The good news is that as a child of God when I admit my mistakes and imperfections I am forgiven. The slate is wiped clean. Our failure is not only forgiven but it is forgotten.
At any given time we can wipe the slate clean and move on. We must forgive ourselves and forget as God forgives and forgets our mistakes.
Over these past few days I have struggled with insecurity wondering if I messed up in a particular area of my life. And, maybe I did, but after cowering in a corner for a few days, I decided to own it and dusted the dirt of shame off my face. The helmet of shame rested heavily on my head and I had fallen headfirst into the pit of shame.
It takes humility to admit your mistakes and it takes courage to pick yourself back up, dust the dirt off, put your helmet back on and move forward in your imperfection. Forgiving yourself even as you are forgiven by One who knows all and gave everything so that you could keep fighting your battles, learn from them and carry on.
We need to be wearing God’s armor, not the world’s. We need to put on God’s armor of forgiveness and righteousness. We will never reach perfection on our own.
Onward! Be brave and don’t hide. Put your helmet back on and get out there and return to the battle! The world needs you!
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Ephesians 6:10)