Three Perks to Choosing Peace over Perfection

Have you ever walked into someone’s home and immediately felt welcomed? There’s nothing like that kind of peace, is there? When we moved into our log house ten years ago, I wanted our home to be a comfy cozy place that welcomed people.

A home that offered peace and healing.

But I have a confession.

At times, I’ve focused on the negatives in myself, my surroundings, and in others.

The chip in the dinner plate. Scuff marks on the kitchen cabinets. My insecurities about writing.

When I seek perfection, poof, my peace vanishes.

How can I offer peace when I’ve lost mine?

But something inside me began to shift in 2012 when I chose the word SURRENDER.

When I made a choice to let go and let God do His will in me.

It’s a process, for sure, and sometimes I struggle to let go, but not last Saturday. 🙂

We had a birthday party for our son Thomas and my father-in-law Richard. During the party I kept thinking …

This is amazing! I can’t wait to tell my bloggy friends!

Pulling the potato casserole from the oven, I glanced at everyone gathered in our home.

I spotted my father-in-law looking at his son, my husband, who was grilling hamburgers, people laughing, having a good time.

So was I!

Thomas’s girlfriend Brittany took pictures.

 

Looking at Brittany’s pictures something occurred to me.

When I stop demanding perfection, awesome things happen.

1. I slow down long enough to see beauty.

2. My gratitude soars.

3. I smile a lot more.

A surrendered heart brings peace and welcomes the gift of hospitality.

“…live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:11 NIV

What makes you feel welcomed in someone’s home? Has striving for perfection ever stolen your peace?

 

Love,

Julie

 

Comments

  1. Great message and pictures-thank you! I have come to realize that I am a procrastinator because I am a “perfectionator”. I have found attempting perfection on my own robs me of peace and joy. Surrendering to God’s perfection is…well, perfect. Perfect peace and perfect joy. Blessings as you rest in His perfection.

  2. Thank you, Tom. I wondered if anyone would understand this one. 🙂 You’re absolutely right!!! a peace a joy stealer for sure.

    Resting in His perfection~~~~!

  3. So true, Julie. Striving for perfection always steals my peace. It’s strange that if family just pops in, I’m totally relaxed, even if the house is messy. But if I have to plan a gathering … total stress. House has to be cleaned … food ready. But I am getting easier on myself as the years progress.

    I think taking off my shoes makes me feel more comfortable … and when I’m shown where everything is in the kitchen and told to help myself … and they really mean it. I can go get a drink when I need to, etc. And I like to see people feel the freedom to do the same at my house. Make yourself at home.

    • Hey, Shelli. I can tell–you and I would get along beautifully. And if you came to my house, I’d be totally relaxed. 🙂

      I totally agree. I’m barefooted now. I don’t wear shoes inside. Love that point!!!

      Love your thoughts~~~

  4. Anna Haney says:

    Beautiful! As usual, I needed to hear this. The next to last week in August is usually my busiest here at work in higher ed. This year it has been nothing at all like I wanted. A change in the standard routine, which at first seemed like a great idea, ended up not letting advisors get to attend faculty inservice, one “perk” that we had and that made us feel welcome. Add to that my mother’s hospitalization and transfer to the rehab center and the whole week has been thrown off kilter. What it mainly boils down to is I wasn’t getting my way. The change in routine allowed me the ability to be with my mom for three days. I did not have to sit through boring meetings that really didn’t apply to my work setting. Finally, I got to see students for who they are and focus more on meeting their needs rather than rushing them through the system.
    Thank you, sweet friend, for this post, and for your prayers.
    Love ya!

    • Anna, I’m sensing this deep peace in your comments. There’s something wonderful taking place in your heart. I can tell!!

      I was talking to Mother yesterday about this blog post. She said, “Julie, no matter how long we live, how hard we try, everything won’t always be perfect.”

      So true, isn’t it?

      Love you right back. Am keeping up with your mama on FB.

  5. I have struggled immensely with this. With my husband’s office in our home and two teens, its not the clean and cozy feel I would normally go for. But I have to keep reminding myself, in a few years those boys will leave, and then I will long for the hockey gear cluttering my entryway and the athletic shoes lining the steps, etc. I pray others are able to look past our mess, and see ME and my family just trying to be that- a family despite the mess going on around us at times. Beautiful post! What a lovely gathering and such great photos to go with it as well!

    • This is EXACTLY what I’m saying Vicky. Yes, yes, yes, yes!!

      We don’t have hockey equipment, but for the party, our gravel driveway was torn up b/c we had phone/internet work going on. And only half of the underneath of our porch is fixed. But it was SO FREEING to smile and let it go.

      And don’t you just love going in someone’s home where things aren’t so stinkin’ perfect?!

      Hugs to you, my friend.

  6. Mary Wilkins says:

    This has always been an issue for me. I think I got my perfection complex from my Mom. Just yesterday I was welcomed into a friend’s home that was in total chaos as they had gotten home from a vacation only a day or so before. I instantly realized I needed to continue to work on my need to have a neat, clean home before inviting anyone inside. Thanks!

    • Love, it Mary. Love it, love it, love it. Love that my bloggy friends know exactly what I’m talking about and I’m not the only one.

      XOXOXOXOXOXOXXOXO !!

  7. Eileen says:

    Julie, you hit the nail on the head for me! I have always not felt comfortable unless every thing is neat and in it’s place. I tend to look at all the imperfections in my home. But, I have come to realize that it’s the warmth that radiates from me to my family and those who come to visit, that makes my home warm and cozy, not the objects. This is something that I have to work on daily.

    Thank you for another post that really speaks to me! xxoo

    • Eileen, I’m sitting here smiling reading your thoughts. Isn’t it such a waste of time, joy, energy–when we focus on what’s not perfect? We don’t even have to say a word about it, but it changes our attitudes.

      But now we know. We’re aware of what we’re doing. And we’re all going to stop doing it! 🙂 🙂

  8. Yes, I have trouble maintaining the peace that’s available to me, simply because I stress over responsibilities and meeting the expectations of others. It’s easy to say, “Don’t stress, it’ll all get done in its own time.” But reality is, we’re in a season of life where many depend on our commitment to our responsibilities. Some, actually many, things just have to be done.

    More and more I’m having to remind myself, force myself to focus on the blessings around me. And when I do, peace abounds, even if for a short time.

    Just long enough for me to remember that I’m not in control. And yes, it will get done it its own time. 🙂

    Thank you for the reminder, my friend!

    • Yes, yes, Vonda. I’m right there with you–and even entering peace for a few minutes, we know it’s possible. Living in peace recharges us.

      XOXOX

  9. Striving for perfection can stop me cold. Especially when it comes to starting a new writing project. Will it be good enough? Am I good enough? What makes me think I can compete with the thousands (maybe millions) of people out there who really are good writers? What do I have to say and will anybody want to hear it?

    Your post brought me back to reality. I need to stop demanding perfection of myself. I am slowing down. Enjoying the moments. My gratitude and healthy attitude will carry me along the road. And I’m grinning as I think of you, Julie, and your big, wide, welcome smile.

    • B.J. Surely you’re reading my mind?! 🙂 Amenning you right now!

      Love you, friend. And you have those pretty blue smiling eyes.

  10. I have found that an uncluttered house/schedule makes me less uncluttered. Me less uncluttered = me more peaceful.. It all started with my word this year, “Still.” “Be still and know that I am God.” Getting rid of “stuff” that was cluttering up my life and home has helped so much. In addition, instead of turning on the tv to hear the news each day when I come in, I’m now turning on instrumental praise music on Pandora. I’m amazed at how different my attitude is when my husband comes in from work, when we sit down for dinner, etc. My husband is now joining me in the kitchen instead of sitting down in front of the tv when he comes in. Fill your home with praise. “Be still and know that I am God.”

    • Felicia, your words are wonderful. Soooo true! I work at home and I agree–just not turning on the TV and listening to music changes our thought process, for sure. I have Pandora too!

      Beautiful suggestions, my friend. I love the uncluttering idea.

      Thank you. So powerful.

  11. Sorry for the typo. Should have said “makes me less cluttered.” Yikes!

  12. Lovely post, Julie. If you’re like me, you only demand perfectionism from yourself–not from others. Why do we do that? Crazy. Thanks for the reminder to surrender it all.

    The photos are gorgeous. I especially love your multicolored pitcher/vase. Beautiful!

    • Thank you, Marie. With others–I didn’t always say things like, “I can’t believe you did that!” But in my heart, I’d judge. Not very nice of me. And it took the focus off of my own behavior leaving room to inwardly criticize.

      I love the pitcher too! A beautiful gift from my sister. 🙂

  13. As I read this, I thought how I don’t look at a friend’s home with eyes that see things out of place or dust or dirty dishes. Rather, I look at my friend and enjoy her company. I quit worrying about the state of my house (normally in a state of confusion or looking like we’re moving in or out). If people come to see if my dishes are chipped, they aren’t friends. ;o) Besides, a chipped dish has character.

  14. Oh yes, perfection has stolen from me. I love hosting. And I have been reading about women who make the mistake to ‘perfectionize’ everything. Wanting people over only when the house looks sparkly and toys are put away. I always wondered about me… would I be the same? And yes, I have fallen into the trap of perfectionism too. And all it does is make people uncomfortable. For now when we visit people, they feel they have to live up to our standards. Last night we visited friends who we happen to have had over a lot lately. They kept apologizing for the meal, the drinks, the way things looked. That is not what I want… let’s invite people into our here and now and be okay with that. I want people to feel they can always just show up, regardless our state of mind or house.

    • Great point, Hope. The apologizing–so true. It’s NOT why we visit someone, hoping to walk into a magazine. Being afraid to sit down. Not wanting to move pillows off of someone’s sofa afraid we’ll mess things up.:)

      You’re absolutely right. Thank you.

  15. Judi says:

    Julie, thank you! That was just what I needed to hear today. Your home is beautiful & welcoming. We’re getting ready to sell our home of 38 years & I am completely overwhelmed–complete state of confusion!! Spending lots of time praying for peace again.

    • Judi, wow–I can’t even imagine. Right now, I’m praying for you. Sometimes I’ll see how fast I’m moving, hurrying trying to get too much done, and I’ll just tell myself, “Slow down. God’s in charge.” It helps me. And I’ve only been doing it a few months–:) Should’ve started years ago.

      Let me know how it goes….

      Love to you and yours.

  16. marci says:

    Oh, my did your words speak to me, and all the comments that your writing imspired. I so needed that- all of it. This last week left me frazzled, and also made me evaluate, so your post fit right in. I think also Tom worded it well- I think perfection and procrastination can be close cousins. I will have to remember his word, ““perfectionator”. It was good to hear that I am far from alone in this challenge. If there is anything I beat myself up about — at the end of the day, it’s the state of the house, and feeling I have failed.. no matter how many other things I did in the day.
    A friend calls, and needs a shoulder– I would never say, sorry I have to scrub the floor. I feel the Lord would rather me get a glass of tea, sit, and give her my full attention.. and I feel blessed, .. I admit I’ve had times when I fretted over not having things done as much as I hoped, and knowing that it would not be humanly possible to do everything I wanted to in the house. How I relate to your writing! Things will come up, and the next thing, time is gone. I have even wanted to get under a cover! For some time I would fret (big time) before my daughter would come for an over night visit. .. Finally one day recently, I surrendered..and prayed- God, you can help me do what I need to do– and what ever is not done, I am not going to worry about… I was tired of this robbing me of peace and by the time Miranda gets here- being worn out. .” And the big surprise… as you can guess, Once I surrendered, I no longer stressed … When she got here, we had a nice visit.

    …The pictures were beautiful. Your home looks so cozy. I love the look of log homes. Thank you for all your lessons, and for helping us as we are all on this journey, to learn from them also. Your writings are very inspiring and for me- helps me face challenges and move forward.

    PS. Last week we not only had the fire that burnt the church on Monday, then Tuesday a brother in law passed away, so it was a full week. There is nothing like as Zig Ziglar use to say, a couple of “suddenly(s)” to make a person think about what is important, and what to value

    God Bless you,
    Marci’a

    • Hey Marci,

      Your precious thoughts keep me writing. It SO touches a place in my heart to know we are all on the journey together. And none of us is perfect. And we all struggle.

      And the thing about surrender…the beautiful thing, we can decide to do it in an instant, and when we do, God is right there beside us, helping us. Look how He blessed you with your time with Miranda. I believe blessings follow obedience, and surely surrender is being obedient.

      Praying for you, my friend. Where is your church meeting now?

      • marci says:

        Wow, you gave me a light bulb moment! Yes, I had not thought of that- surrendering is being obedient. Thank you!

        Last week a light bulb moment came for me about Chatty Cathy, .. and it so helped me with dealing with someone in my life. It was just a simple sentence you wrote in reply to another comment. ‘ Chatty Cathy starts our as our best friend…. but how many times can we tell her her dress is pretty?”

        Even as heart breaking as the fire was, I could walk around and feel blessed at what remained. I credit God for that. I know this journey will be a long one, as we come back from the ashes.

        We were blessed to still have the Parish Hall which did not burn, and only had minor water damage. A crew came in and had it where we could use it Sunday for a service. That also was a big blessing. Another church had offered us the use of their church for services, so we were blessed with that kindness had we needed it..

        I am so grateful for your site, for your blog, for this fellowship, and especially now. Thank you for your prayers.
        God Bless,

        • Ohhh, yeah, for sure, Marci. Surrender = obedience. So glad you still have the Parrish Hall!!! Sounds like it will be more than Enough (My word for the year). 🙂

          I’m grateful for you too–we’ve connected!

          Blessings.

  17. I totally get this Julie. Beautiful. Thanks so much♥

    • Thank you, Shawnelle. I’m smiling, wishing you were here or I was there. We could have so much fun, couldn’t we!

  18. Patricia Martin says:

    Happy birthday Thomas and Richard!!!!!!!(; Perfectionism can steal joy right from any occasion and sometimes make you wish that you had spent the day in bed! I love the way you decorated your living room and I think it makes your whole house look just like Better Home and Gardens. my family has always loved log cabins and my parents have loooong dreamed of owning their own.(: Happy August season.
    Love,
    Patricia (:

    • You’re so kind, Patricia. When we got married 35 years ago, we both wanted a log cabin. It took a LONG time before it happened. My husband did a lot of it himself (and he’s not a builder!)

      Read some comments up above, and you’ll see things that are in disarray. But it’s okay with me. It’s wonderfully, PERFECTLY okay. 🙂 🙂 And definitely not worth losing my peace over.

  19. Kathryn Richardson says:

    True, true, true! I’ve let go a lot comparing to how I used to be. Just can’t be perfect all the time.

    • Oh, Kathryn, comparing is the worst, isn’t it? In anything. In everything. That’s a big no-no for me.

      Thank you for letting me know you’re reading. xoxoxo

  20. Love this Julie! I cherish all the memories made in our home. With our “bigger” sized family (24 of us now counting grandchildren) I think I’ve laid to rest the illusive perfection bug. 🙂 The thing that can “stress” me out is trying to touch base with everyone. We’re just too big to do that now, so Jeff and I try to plan one on one times with each family separately- as well as the big hoop de la’s for birthdays and holidays. It’s really about enjoying and entering into their lives, isn’t it? I am flooded with a beautiful mother heart peace when all my “chicks” are back at our nest- even when it’s crazy! 😉

    • I love that, Cindy–just too big to stress out. 🙂

      You’re absolutely right–it’s about “enjoying and entering into their lives.” I love it. So agree!!

      Much love to you–all 24 of you!

  21. Sandra Walker says:

    Thanks for the reminder! Used to be that way and can slip back into if not careful. Enjoyed all the comments, too! Totally get it and say “ditto”! Loved the pictures!

  22. Good post, Julie. I just found your blog yesterday while doing a search.
    I have walked into someone’s home and felt that welcoming warmth, but I often feel uncomfortable about people arriving at my home. It’s always lacking. There are times I have expressed my apologies, but they have replied, “I don’t come to look at your house, I come to visit you!”
    Now I am just tired of housework. Life does that sometimes, shifts things around. My husband and I brought up our four daughters, now I’m a caregiver for my dad, and on my every other week in my own home I just don’t want to be doing cleaning and such. I want to be writing or reading or … anything other than housework, even though taking care of my home and making things look nice are a blessing and – I believe – an expression of appreciation to the Lord for what we have. I’m just weary, distracted, but I hope not ungrateful. And I do sound selfish. I guess I need an attitude adjustment, don’t I?

    • Hey, Lynn. I think you just sound a bit tired and totally honest.

      Housework. I’d MUCH rather cook than clean. 🙂

      Can you work while you’re taking care of your dad? Take a laptop with you?

      So glad we connected! We writers gotta stick together! xoxo

  23. ohhhh this is good! When I try to make everything perfect I don’t live in the moment. My mind is somewhere else…usually frantically trying to control something–love these photos Julie. They show everyone enjoying every moment ox

  24. And doesn’t it seem so crucial when we’re striving to create perfection? Like we can’t just say, “Whoa. Time out. Enough.”

    Love you, Robin.

Trackbacks

  1. […] don’t you surrender this bad […]

  2. […] This weekend, I’m flying to Massachusetts to lead a ladies retreat on Surrender. […]

  3. […] though I’m a recovering perfectionist, this past Sunday, everything had to go according to schedule. I’m talking, split-second […]

Leave a Reply to A Thanksgiving Miracle–Inside My Heart and Fridge! Cancel reply

*