"And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good." - East of Eden
Recently, I read the tragic story of Madison Holleran, a wonderful and vibrant 19-year-old girl who took her own life last year. She was an excellent student and athlete, described as a wonderful friend and daughter, and attended the University of Pennsylvania. She struggled with depression, and her family recounts how greatly she felt the pressure to be perfect - to be a perfect athlete, to get perfect grades, to be the perfect girl. The pressure to be perfect weighed very heavily on her heart - as I know it does with some of you reading this now.
I see all too much of this relentless pursuit as I speak to women of all ages. There are many of us who put pressure on ourselves or receive pressure from parents or family members to be the best, to get the best grades, to be the top of our class, to be the best Christian, to come in first place, to be the perfect mother, or to simply look like we have it all together.
We are in constant pursuit of perfection because we often fall into the trap of believing that our best is not enough.
We strive to reach a career we think will make us look perfect or attain the body we think is perfect or achieve the grade point average we think is satisfactory enough for our résumé and for getting into college. It is a vicious and exhausting cycle, this quest for flawlessness, this idea that it must be possible to do better than our best, this idea that if I fail - I must be a failure.
Today I want to remind you of this - perhaps an evident reminder but something we forget all too often - the good news of Christ says this... You do not have to be perfect. You do not have to have it all together. I certainly do not, nor have I ever met a woman who did. The lie that we must achieve perfection in some form in our lives is simply that - a lie. The book of Genesis states it in black and white...
God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him. Genesis 1:27
We are each perfectly created by our perfect Creator. We cannot obtain more perfection that was given to each of us when we were conceived. You and I each have our strengths and weaknesses (I, admittedly, have many of the latter), and we must recall more often that this is perfectly okay. It is okay to struggle, it is okay to be vulnerable, it is okay to have weakness. God does not expect perfection out of you. Do not be harder on yourself than God is on you.
Today and every day, if ever you find yourself on this road, do not make it your goal to be perfect, simply make every effort to be your greatest self. Whether you are a student, mother, friend, sister, career woman - whatever roles you hold in your life - our good God is cheering you on, expecting that you do your best and only your best - because your best is what He created you to do. Your best is enough. Everything you are is and always will be enough.