I never would say that I am a perfectionist. I never strived for perfect grades or was overwhelmed by wanting things to be just so. Heck, I probably should be a little more careful with my edits on this thing. (Lucky for me I have a truly supportive husband who goes back through and quietly corrects my spelling errors.) I thought I didn’t really deal with that.
Thought is the operative word there. When Rooster was still in the hospital we got some pictures of her done that were simply too perfect not to buy. I was sure I wouldn’t want them, but then I saw them. I know why some religions think a still image can capture a person’s soul. Then I looked back at Peanut’s new-born photos. I found the picture there that speaks to the fact that there are simply some things, beautiful things, that God creates in us from the very beginning. And these photos compliment each other in a way that I did not plan, just like those sisters that are in those photos.
So I bought frames and printed out these pictures. I had every intention of hanging them on the wall. But then, I just couldn’t find the perfect spot. I didn’t know the perfect place to hang these photos. So I waited, and bought another picture to hang with them, and waited some more. Until two weekends ago a half hour before people started coming to our house, I pulled the trigger and had Christian put them up. Even though the third thing I want hanging up is still in need of being printed out (but I did buy frames, so there is something). And you know what, it isn’t perfect, but I am glad it is up. It looks good, my wall in progress.
This past weekend was a pants-less weekend at our house. Not for me, just for the Peanut (Aside: If I ever have a band full of mom’s and dad’s I am naming it “Pants-less Weekend” like many aspects of parenting it sounds like more fun than it really is.) She has been talking about potties for a while now, and likes to watch other people go to the bathroom and give her commentary. Mostly “eeewww, yuck. all done. shut it, flush.” People always say that you have to potty train while the window of interest is open or else it is a nightmare. I have been worried that the Peanut is losing interest, so we spent Friday and Saturday hanging out watching movies and sitting on the potty in the living room while drinking juice. She did a good job for the most part, and even the accidents happened almost exclusively on places that are not carpeted.
But I was wanting perfection. I was hoping that we would remove her pants and she would immediately figure out how the whole thing worked and bam, my not yet two-year old is potty trained. It didn’t work out like that, and once Jill pointed out to me that perhaps my sights were set too high, it all got a whole lot easier.
Teaching is like that too. You will never be a perfect teacher; you can always do better. I am reminded of that every day as I teach ninth grade for the first time. It isn’t going to be perfect, it isn’t going to be as good as the tenth grade stuff I am teaching for the fifth time. But that doesn’t mean we should just sit in class and do nothing. We try it out; we work it out. Next year it will be better, but that doesn’t mean the kids now aren’t learning anything valuable.
I think we don’t come to Christ sometimes because we aren’t doing something perfectly. We are ashamed and frustrated that it isn’t perfect yet. Sometimes we won’t give him our writing, our school work, our prayer because we don’t think what we’ve got is perfect. But that isn’t what Christ is asking from us. He is asking us for what we have, and in Him our good enough is made perfect, what we were hoping for by withholding it.