Will You Expose Your Imperfections?

July 13, 2017

Imperfections

Are you brave enough to expose your imperfections? To let others learn from your blunders? I used to think to teach and lead one needed to have the appearance of having it all together. Then one particular night I could no longer keep up the pretense.

It was the first class I had ever taught. I was super excited to have the opportunity to teach a course called,  Family Connections™. It was a class that had been a life-saver for our family, and I was excited to be given this opportunity to share it with other families.

Faith along with this class are what had helped me the most to embrace the unexpected of mental illness.

Before teaching, I had two significant reservations I couldn’t quite reconcile.

  1. How could I teach it perfectly? After all, I had not yet perfected the skills. The lessons in it were so valuable for others to learn and I didn’t want to blow it.
  2. How could I honor God through a class that was not faith based? He was the one that had given me the ability to change and implement the skills of the course. It just didn’t seem right to leave him out, and it was not appropriate to change the curriculum to match my Christian faith. Even though for me –  the two went hand in hand.

Then it dawned on me, the 4th week in our homework, we would be sharing what coping skills worked for us. Of course, it would be appropriate to share then without changing the curriculum at all. After all, my faith is my #1 coping skill. More specifically, it is the daily time I spend with God that keeps me grounded.

A little background –  if you ask me about God, I love to share, but I am usually a little reluctant just to start talking about him. But this moment in the class would be a tremendous opportunity to show how I merged the skills from the class and my faith. After all, God was the one who gave me strength, patience, a love for others, and the ability to learn the skills in the class.

So as the 4th week approached I knew this was my big opportunity to share with others what my #1 coping skill was. I couldn’t wait.

Have you ever anticipated an opportunity where you had just the right example to demonstrate your faith and then you blew it?

Yep, that was me. By week four everything had gone haywire. I was using practically “NO COPING SKILLS” that week and my time with God was non-existent.

As I headed into the class that night I fretted, here was my great opportunity to be an example and show everyone how the skills worked so well. BUT I HAD DESPERATELY FAILED at ALL COPING SKILLS.

The part that ached the most was feeling like I had failed GOD.

I so desperately wanted to point people to where I found my peace, strength, and love to keep going but I had nothing to show or so I thought.

God can use imperfections to tell a better story

As I approached the door, I kept hearing God’s whispers, “Teach from where you are at; not from where you shine.”

I ignored it at first. After all, I was the teacher, so I didn’t have to share – I could remain silent and just listen.

But God kept nudging….

So I did it. I took off my perfectionist persona and shared how I had been having a horrible week. My desire had been to come in and share what worked, but I hadn’t done any of it. Not only had I not used my #1 coping skill of time with God, I hadn’t validated, used radical acceptance, exercised, rested, or exhibited good self-care.  I stepped in frazzled, overwhelmed, worn out, and plain and simple – I was spent.

At this point I assumed not a soul would come back to our 12-week class. After all, why would anyone take a class where the instructor can’t even get it right?

But to my surprise, the exact opposite happened.

Not only did they return week after week, but we began to connect. Don’t you find it hard to connect with someone that appears as though they have it all together? Well, so did my students in the class. All of a sudden we were in it together.

Through my failure to implement what works and my willingness to show my imperfections, they began to see the real picture. Yes, the skills will work, but no one can do them 100% of the time. We are all human and will fall short.

Our imperfection can inspire others!

 

It was an awakening for me that people can learn a lot when we allow our imperfections to shine.  Begin today, give people a chance to be inspired by how you deal with not being perfect. The truth is we all are imperfect human beings in an imperfect world.

How have your imperfections inspired others?

Blog Series on Perfectionism:


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37 Comments

  1. Reply

    4 Key Steps to Defeat Perfection Paralysis - Faith Along the Way

    […] week’s feature, Maree Dee from Embracing the Unexpected, reminds us to take bold steps towards God’s plan for our lives.  Even when we don’t […]

  2. Reply

    Theresa Boedeker

    Maree, thanks for this. Because when we share our hard times, our imperfect times, others can then join in and let their guard down and share their hard times. And in the process we feel less alone in our imperfections and have more hope and can learn from each other.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Theresa –
      I completely agree with you! I love it when others let their imperfections shine; I don’t feel so alone. Maree

  3. Reply

    Donna Reidland

    That’s such a great truth! My husband and I frequently share our testimony in the course of counseling, both the big picture of the great things God has done in our lives, but the day to day where we stumble and get up and where the things we’re teaching them aren’t always easy or didn’t happen. People tell us over and over how that made what we were teaching them real and believable. Blessings!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      I love that you and your husband share your testimony in your counseling. Sometimes we can appear so superior in our different roles, and when we show a little of the stumbling, we become relatable. I bet people appreciate your transparency.

  4. Reply

    Sheila Qualls

    Maree,
    Such a great example. I, too, want to work from a position of strength, but people respond to weakness. It is hard to gather the courage to show our flaws, but it’s a classic example of “you show me yours, and I’ll show you mine.” If we keep our imperfections to ourselves, God doesn’t get the glory. Love this post!!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Sheila,

      I love what you said about, “you show me yours, and I’ll show you mine.” I never quite thought of it like that, but it is true. Wise words! Thank you for stopping by. I miss you in our writing group. Hope all is well with you. Maree

  5. Reply

    Robinality

    I loved your post. I’m a believer in transparency and authenticity. As you shared, it’s not always easy telling our stories and showing our vulnerability. But, when we share our authentic self, we create opportunities for transformation and empowerment. And, we realize we are not alone in our journey. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Robin,
      You are so right it is not always easy being transparent, but usually, I find it so rewarding once it’s done. I do find it leads to deeper connections and don ‘t you just love it when you get to nod your head and say, “me too.” Thank you for stopping by; I always look forward to a comment from you. Maree

  6. Reply

    Alice

    Transparency is a challenge for me, no doubt about it. What I’ve finally started learning is that my imperfections can provide a venue for someone else’s ministry of service or outreach. Admitting our imperfections and asking for help can strengthen the bonds of God’s children. Thanks for the reminder, Maree Dee!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Alice, I love that you are letting your imperfections provide a venue. What a gift. I agree it is challenging to be transparent. Maree

  7. Reply

    Joanne Viola (@JViola79)

    Wonderful and encouraging post. All that we go through is for His glory and somehow, our imperfections point to a perfect God who does all things well. I am most grateful to have stopped here this morning! Blessings!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Joanne, I agree it is all for God’s glory, even our imperfections. I am so glad you stopped by. Maree

  8. Reply

    Michele Morin

    Yes! We honor God greatly when we trust Him with our real selves and then make that offering to others so that they can see God at work in a real person. Thanks for being willing to take off the mask and to listen to His prompting!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Michele, I love the words you used. Yes, it is so honoring to God when we allow ourselves to be real. Thank you for stopping by. Hope you had a great start to your week. Maree

  9. Reply

    gogathergrow

    One of the beautiful things about community is when we remove our facade and be authentic, others will be drawn to us. Not because we are perfect but because we are willing to be truthful with them about ourselves. Thank you for sharing this with us.
    Visiting from Counting My Blessings.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      I couldn’t agree with you more. Thank you for adding to the conversation. Your words speak truth. Hope your weekend is spectacular. Maree

  10. Reply

    Liz Giertz

    Amen!!! Our failures and shortcomings create connection like perfection never could because so few can actually relate to that standard. But we all know the sting of falling short…it’s the one thing we ALL have in common! So glad you were strong enough to be vulnerable. Blessings!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Liz, You are so right, we all have in common the sting of coming up short. I never really thought about it like that. Great point. Thank you for stopping by. Maree

  11. Reply

    bluecottonmemory

    It’s a dangerous thing, assuming people have it all together – dangerous because it leads to judgementalism, exclusion, possibly a “grass is greener” attitude.Nobody has it all together. Mostly it’s not that their fooling us; it’s that we’re not looking deep enough. I’m so glad you took God’s nudging and stepped through the door he opened. What a beautiful testimony about how God grows us!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      You are so correct it does lead to judgments, exclusion, and attitudes. I am so glad you stopped by to leave your wise words in the comments. Thank you also for your encouragement. Maree

  12. Reply

    Josephine

    I love this. Yes, It is so tempting to be what we think others expect, or to appear ‘normal.’ There really isn’t a such thing as ‘normal’ though. We are all weak and Christ is strong. This topic is something I struggle with in every friendship. Well, up until I end up just telling all like you did. Then they tell all and we are fine ha. Thanks for your post!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Josephine – I agree there is no such thing as “normal.” When I think I hit normal it all changes and I have a “new normal.” Thank goodness we have God who is strong. Maree

  13. Reply

    Rosanna@ExtraordinaryEverydayMom

    I too have a lot of imperfections and for some reason, God often asks me to share them. My entire blog is dedicated to being raw and open about my struggles. When I lead worship at church, I also have the opportunity to open the service. God routinely asks me to share from the depths of my heart. It isn’t easy, but I believe that God can truly work through.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Rosanna – What a gift you must be to others through your blog and worship. I look forward to reading more of your blog. Thank you for being who God made you to be and your willingness to be vulnerable. Blessings, Maree

  14. Reply

    vann54

    The church has also done a pretty good job of being polished without discussing the struggles, and we need to have examples of struggles, and overcoming with God’s help and relying on God so that other will see how real God is working in our lives. It requires being vulnerable and showing that we don’t have it all together

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Yes, the church can sometimes appear so polished and not discuss problems. Sometimes I just think it is because they don’t understand. I do find it just takes a few willing people to help that change. I co-created and lead a ministry at our church for families that have a loved one with mental illness. It is so rewarding to be able to teach and share how God has helped. It did, however, take me making the first step and being vulnerable. It has been a huge stretch for me and a very rewarding one. I hope your church is open to discussing struggles. Blessings, Maree

  15. Reply

    Leslie

    Maree, I love this series on perfectionism. This post is so well expressed. I can relate to every bit of it. I’ve found in my own life too that sharing more openly with others about my imperfections and struggles in life has had lasting rewards that reaps closer relationships and new connections with others going through the same thing. Our daily walk through life’s difficulties can bring such hope to others if we open up and share with the proper timing and in a spirit of love. You have certainly done that here, Maree. You blog is a blessing to me!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Leslie, Wow, what a beautiful comment. Your words are such an encouragement to me. I too am so glad I found your blog. I like your style and look forward to reading more from you in the future. I agree with what you said about close relationships. When I have dared to be open and vulnerable blessings, have been bountiful. I like that you added about proper timing, so important. Blessings, Maree

  16. Reply

    Ronja

    I love this! So often we feel the need to strive for perfection. Yet we all know the we are not perfect, and that is where it’s easy to connect, knowing how we feel.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Ronja – Thank you for stopping by and leaving your words of wisdom. Yes, I agree that is where we connect. Maree

  17. Reply

    Naomi Fata (@NaomiFata)

    Love this! I am like that too and often feel like I blow my opportunities but know that God is faithful even in my imperfections

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Naomi, I love holding on to that very truth that you mentioned, “God is faithful even in our imperfections.” Thank you for sharing with us. Maree

  18. Reply

    Susan Shipe

    I am so imperfect and God uses those imperfections for His glory and my good! Neighbors at Debbie K’s today.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Susan – Amen! I am so glad you allow God to use your imperfections for His glory. When people are real, it sure makes them more approachable. Blessings, Maree

  19. Reply

    Stephanie ReadsWell

    Great thoughts. It is true that our imperfections may sometimes help others. We must focus on giving 100% in each task we do. Being perfect is not something we should chase for.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Stephanie – Wise words! Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. I agree we still need to give it our best effort. The problem for me is determining when enough is enough. Maree

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