The picture of perfection.....
Smack-dab center in the middle of my living room is a four-year-old picture of my children. The picture is obviously old and outdated, but I keep the picture on the wall to remind me to let go of my need to be perfect. I remember the day of the photo shoot very well. My small children were tired because the only appointment the studio had was in the middle of the day, and right in the middle of my youngest daughter's nap time. I booked the time anyway because I wanted the pictures taken and, because of my "getter done" personality, I wanted them taken now.
The photographer took individual and family photos and saved the group photo of the children for the very last. When the time came for the last photo, the children's patience were spent and so were mine. No matter what we did, we could not get everyone to cooperate and picture after picture was taken with no perfect photo as a result. Finally, with my children crying, me up in arms and my husband looking at me in desperation, I stopped myself. I realized what I was doing to my family. I was demanding perfection that my children did not have within themselves at the time to give me. They were tired, hungry, and miserable. The photographer kept trying to work with my crying miserable children to get them to smile and I stopped her. I told her that I am sure we would find the perfect picture in the photos that had already been taken.
As we looked through the pictures of the children, there was no picture of them sitting prim and proper in a perfect portrait like I wanted, but I did find the perfect picture that perfectly portrayed my children. In it, my youngest daughter was laughing hysterically while looking sideways, while my oldest son looked down at her with a big smile of love and admiration. My second oldest son was looking forward with the cheesiest smile on his face, just like he always does, while my oldest daughter was looking forward biting her lip nervously, which is a habit she has because she too worries when things are not going perfectly. My middle daughter was smiling her most beautiful smile staring off to the side, living in her own little world of laughter, where she likes to live the most. The picture captured each one of their personalities perfectly. Although people who come to my house and see the picture do not see picture perfect children, it is a picture of perfect children to me.
We are perfect in our imperfections....
According to the Mirriam online dictionary, perfection means: "having all the required or desired elements, qualities or characteristics, as good as it is possible to be."
I think about that definition and have finally come to the realization that I will never fit that definition in this life. My body alone has a whole slew of imperfections and we won't even talk about my bad habits, improper thoughts, poor choices or countless mistakes. There is no way I will ever be as good as it is possible to be and it is time I learn to be ok with that and stop searching for and expecting perfection in myself and everyone around me. I think we all need to recognize that trying to attain that definition is impossible in this life and only attainable through the Atonement and with the help of the Savior.
Linda Reeves said, "We may sometimes feel that we need to be part of a "perfect LDS family" in order to be accepted by the Lord. We often feel "less-than" or like misfits in the kingdom if we feel we do not fit that picture. Dear sisters, when all is said and done, what will matter to our Father in Heaven will be how well we have kept our covenants and how much we have tried to follow the example of our Savior, Jesus Christ."
God expects us to be imperfect. As a matter of fact, He knew that's the way it would be which is why He sent the Savior in the first place. So why do we beat ourselves up every time we make a mistake, every time we are less than perfect in our calling, or any time we show that we are anything less than the perfect Mormon family.
The promises we make.....
If the thing that matters most to our Heavenly Father is how well we have kept our covenants and how much we have tried to follow the Savior, then from here on out. let's make those things our focus. Just for fun, let's talk about the things we do and do not promise when we covenant with the Lord.