When I started this blog, it wasn’t with the intention of sharing it with the world. It was a place where I came to write out things that were happening in my world and I invited just a few close friends and family members to read. The honest truth: I battle with anxiety. It’s an ongoing struggle. Some days I feel confident in my own skin, as though I could take on any challenge. There are other days that my insides scream at me.
Fears and doubts and worries run rampant. Not measuring up to the expectations of others plague my mind. Insecurities about the way that I process thoughts and often stutter over normal conversation cause me to freeze up or want bolt in the opposite direction when faced with one-on-one contact.
Anxieties and fears that others will view me as “too different” and come to the conclusion that I am unlovable haunt me daily. I’ve done the therapy route. I’ve done the medication. I’ve even done Buddhist meditation. Nothing has provided the quick fix. So I’m sure you’re wondering how I came to be a recovering perfectionist.
When I made the scary decision to open up the blog to others, my anxieties went from this pesky shadow, to a perpetual cloud that followed me. I suddenly found that I needed to hide my imperfections, my flaws. As a voice that I felt was called to inspire others to become the best versions of themselves (the original mission of this blog) I felt trapped in a monster of my own making.I felt like, if I was to inspire others to be their best versions, then I needed to show the best version of me, and so my writing changed. I changed. The content I shared was very surface level and didn’t dig deeper into who I am, other than sharing stories of my singleness. And it surely did not accurately represent the person that God made in me.
A conversation, completely unrelated to blogging opened something up inside of me. I was unhappy with how my life was shaping up, having to put on a display, a front, an act for others, as I tried to squash any existence of the fact that I’m flawed and I’m human. It was a constant evaluation of what I said and did. It was exhausting. But it was the words of my brother, that made me see just what I am and what I’m meant to be.
On a car ride home from church I was complaining about the encounter I had had with a colleague in interpreting for the church. Andy told me that interpreting shouldn’t cause so much stress.
He said, “You’re an empty vessel for God, to be used for His calling. You are to empty yourself in order to be filled by His message.”
He also reminded me that our pastors are not perfect, their sermons and their words choices are not perfect, and therefore, I am permitted to be imperfect myself.
Light bulb! The façade, like a smokescreen, suddenly dissipated and I was permitted to see life as what it is, full of flaws, but made beautiful because of Christ.
My life didn’t need to be a giant game of charades, acting out what others needed to see in order to understand the answers. My life, my interpretation, and my relay of message, both in interpreting and blogging, did not need to be 100% accurate.
Yes, it’s important to deliver the message with the same intent as the one that originally delivered it, but there is room for interpretation. And should an error occur, or a flaw be displayed publicly, I should own up to it and accept it as a badge of honor, one that I wear proudly that says, “I made a mistake and I will learn from this. I will be stronger and more capable of handling the future with more grace and confidence.”
So through the ashes and smoke I stumbled out, bewildered and temporarily blind to the brilliance of that light and truth. It’s not a 1000 watt light bulb blazing, but the light of the Son shining down and through me.
Out of those ashes, bursting forth with new strength, like a phoenix from flames, strode forth a new philosophy, a new approach to my delivery of words and through my hands.
And a new name and mission was born through The Imperfect Vessel.
And suddenly as I was freed from the chains of the constant upkeep and act of perfection, and my story was easier to tell.
It isn’t as anxiety-inducing as I once thought. It opened up new opportunities of connecting with my readers and my God. I don’t have to live in fear of someone finding out my flaws; I’m sharing them voluntarily and it’s been so liberating.
Sure there are still days that anxieties grips me round the throat and threatens to strangle the life and tear away the story from my grasp. It’s a battle that I’m sure I will war against for my entire life. But it’s a battle that I know that I don’t have to fight alone. Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ is with me, and Christ within me.
A simple conversation with a kid, who is not really much of a kid anymore, made all the difference and taught me a very valuable lesson. My story is important. And so is yours. But what is even more important and is the taking that leap of faith and initiate the act of sharing that story. And just to one up that, there is importance in the manner in which you deliver it.
Do it with transparency, with an ounce (or two, or ten) of humility, and own up to the fact that you are not perfect. You are riddled with flaws. And that’s okay. Everyone is.
Through your transparency and sharing of the real you, others will see that imperfection can be transforming and even beautiful. No one is perfect. No one except Jesus. And that’s quite alright because He’s on our side, shining His perfection and beauty on us and through us.