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.
- 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.
- 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:
- “Are You Exhausted Trying to Reach For Perfection?”
- “10 Clues You’re Striving For Perfection, Not Excellence”
- “Dispelling The Myths About Perfectionists”
- “How To Stop Striving For Perfection”
- “Will You Expose Your Imperfections?”
- Monthly Favorites
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