Changing Messy Thinking (imperfectly perfect)

I literally laboured to change my thinking of messiness. Instead of shaking my head with repeating “you are so st….d” thoughts, I began to laugh at my messy. I learned that breaking perfection leads to more connection and joy.

It wasn’t easy, letting go of perfection. When a teenager, I remember admiring the vacuum marks at a peer’s out-of-bounds living room. My own home included spreads of magazines and newspapers on coffee-tables. I’d rearrange them by colour and size, just to look less messy (at least to my own eyes).

I wanted to look like I had it as together as that award-winning honour student peer with the perfect make-up, matching clothed, and manicured nails whose mother never let us in her beautiful living room.

Her living room said she had it together. I was messy.

Messy with thoughts that decided one non-sugar seltzer a day was enough. Messy with thoughts that decided even swollen, over-extended ankles would not stop me from 90 minutes aerobic classes. Messy with thoughts that needed the scale to show the ‘perfect’ weight to be beautiful.

Messy thoughts that wanted connection at any cost—only to lead to disconnection, more broken from the beautiful than the other way around. More disconnection from the real me.

The other day, I came back to a wide open car door in the store parking lot. I’d forgotten to shut it when retrieving shopping bags from my trunk before walking into Safeway.

It was raining.

Sitting on the rain-soaked drivers seat, pattering rain on the windshield, tears streamed down my face. Tears of laughter. And gratitude that all my items were still in place.

This is me. The gotta-look-behind-me gal to check if I left behind my glasses (again) on the restaurant table. The gal that friends rush out of their houses to my car holding my phone, keys, books—you name it—just before I pull out of their driveways.

This is me. The cake and cookie-loving gal who takes a bite of dessert before dinner begins (almost always).

This is me. The gal who leaves her home before the mascara is on, or the one her friends need to tell her about the poppy seed in her teeth, or sees the stain on her white blouse just before the show begins.

And she laughs.

And you know what is even better?

The ones she is with laugh too, in that good way. That good laugh that is joyful and fun. That good laugh that says “I’m with you. Life is messy fun.” The stories she tells of her mishaps, her forgetfulness and her this-is-life moments brings them into her messy living.

This is what I learned when perfection broke me—it is the real imperfect perfection that brings connection. Connection with real self and real others comes from acceptance of self.

Connections come when we let others into our messy.

Beauty shines through when we break open to our uniquely designed selves.

“Your life is like a lovely silk dress, free to embroider the way you choose. You don’t have to look or act like anyone else or fit into any mold to make a beautiful life. Your loving Creator made you an original.” Bonnie Grey, author Whispers of Rest and the soon-to-be released Sweet Like Jasmine

Find more about Bonnie’s book here and how to be part of her exclusive Book Club.

Tell me your perfect imperfections….

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Breathing Space

Kamloops, British Columbia

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  1. Oh, I am so thankful Jesus comes right in to the messy of our lives! It’s where I need Him the most. He broke that perfect-church-girl mode in me too. What freedom He brought! Thank you for the real life living and encouragement you share here. Blessings to you!

  2. Lynn, I so enjoyed this post as I have always considered myself “imperfect”. Maybe we need to call ourselves the “perfectly imperfect”. Thinking this way frees us to not only be ourselves and make mistakes, but to learn and grow from them as well. It sure makes life way easier and lighter too.

  3. “Connections come when we let others into our messy.” I loved this, Lynn! Of course, I could relate to so many of the same imperfections you touched on. I’m working hard to learn to say no. It’s taken a long time, but I finally realized my health needs to be my top priority and that means saying no when my calendar is already full.

    1. I’m glad to hear that your health is a top priority, Jill! Boundaries in life are not restricting, they are life-giving and even can build better relationships as we have the energy then for the right ‘yeses.’

  4. Lynn, I love this post, I am one who runs and hides from my messy, thinking it makes me “less’ than, when it actually makes me who I am. It is so amazing the way God redeems our brokenness when we are willing to let others into that messy place. Oh to be done with the comparison game and just be my messy self and find beauty there!

    1. There is beauty in your messy, Donna-for sure! The comparison game is hard to shake and I have to write about it often to help get out of it’s grip! Thanks for reminding me too, the amazing ways God redeems our brokenness. When our identity is rooted in Him, we are free.

  5. This is so good, Lynn. I truly needed to hear this. I am too much of a people pleaser yet. “Beauty shines through when we break open to our uniquely designed selves.” Beautifully said and true. Thank you for this encouragement to open up to our messy selves. Love and blessings to you!

  6. This is so true, Lynn, “It is the real imperfect perfection that brings connection. Connection with real self and real others comes from acceptance of self. Beauty shines through when we break open to our uniquely designed selves.”

  7. I am still very much a work in progress. Trying to break free from the comparisons and glaring imperfections. Wishing I could laugh at myself! That would be a sight!! Your post was encouraging….I’m staying in the battle:)

  8. This is so good. It took me a number of years, but I learned to laugh at myself. To quit trying to be so perfect. To appreciate my imperfectness. It is true, “I began to laugh at my messy. I learned that breaking perfection leads to more connection and joy.” When we do this, we can really connect with ourselves and others. We can be real. And I don’t have to look far to get a laugh. Because my imperfections are many. My latest post talks about one.

    Your picture looks very much like the Lake Okanagan area in British Columbia. We went there on vacations as a child.

    1. That picture is from the interior of British Columbia on the Shuswap Lake area, instead of the Okanagan Lake (that is near by). I am glad you got to visit the area when a child and maybe you will be able to again, Theresa! I love how you say you “don’t have to look for to get a laugh” because of accepting your own imperfections. Laughter is a wonderful medicine for our minds and hearts!

  9. I’ve grown at least a little bit in this area: I cooked a pecan pie for my in-laws Thursday night and it was so runny we had to eat it with a spoon. And I was able to laugh about it instead of be totally embarrassed. lol.

  10. Lynn, I love this piece. I love how we get to morph and change over time so the things we end up valuing most are the issues of the heart and mind, not our vacuum cleaner marks.

    If they ever did.

    Freely and lightly. That’s the life I want to continue to grow into. Therein lies freedom to be who God’s shaped us to be. Maybe that’s one of the benefits of growing older.

    I’ll take it.