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On Perfectionism & Disappointing Readers

Can I just be really honest with you tonight? You know what one of the hardest parts about blogging has been for me?

It’s that some readers want me to be perfect.

I know they’d probably never say out loud, “I expect you to be perfect,” but if I admit that I failed at something or am struggling with something, they are disappointed and they voice that disappointment.

Here’s the thing: I understand that part of blogging in a public forum is the fact that I’m choosing to let people into my life. I’m choosing to open up myself and our family and our choices to other people’s really honest opinions.

I get that. And I own that.

But at the same time, in the past, it’s held me back from sharing candidly about certain topics that I’d really like to blog about. Why? Because I know that writing about certain topics means other people are going to voice their opinions over my decisions and or be disappointed in my short-comings.

More and more, though, I’m becoming okay with it. Because I realize that it’s exhausting to try to please everyone.

I don’t have it altogether.

I sometimes yell at my kids.

I get frustrated with my husband.

I don’t always want to make meals from scratch.

I sometimes (usually?) let my laundry pile up way too high.

I’m often running late.

I have many moments where I feel so very inadequate to be sharing anything in a blog post or a book or on a stage because I feel like I’m such a mess myself.

A few days ago, I wrote a post about quitting my cutting back on caffeine goal for this month. I know it was the right decision and most of you cheered me on in it or even expressed relief that I gave up my lofty goal.

A few people weren’t so thrilled with me. They wrote in annoyed that commentors would be supportive of me and a some even strongly chided me for not following through with my goal.

I’m sure these readers meant well, but in each case, they didn’t know me or my family personally. In addition, they didn’t know that the next few weeks are some of the fullest weeks I’ll probably have all year long (we have multiple trips + some big projects to complete) and I can’t be dragging or running on weird sleep patterns. I have to do what’s best for my family and myself and I have follow my own advice to give myself grace — even if it means that I disappoint a few readers.

What I’m learning, though, is that when I share my short-comings and struggles, I may disappoint a few people. But ultimately, I will encourage many, many more people.

It helps others know that they aren’t alone in their struggles. We’re in this together.

We’re learning right along with each other. We’re stumbling. We’re falling down. We’re making mistakes. And we’re here to encourage each other to get back up, keep pressing forward, keep doing the best you can do with the time and resources we have.

Progress Not Perfection

And here’s the truth: I’d rather disappoint a few people and be a completely honest and authentic blogger who shares my struggles and success than try to pretend like I have it altogether and make the majority of people feel like they can’t measure up.

None of us have it altogether. None of us are perfect. But we can all learn from each other, inspire each other, and cheer each other on — in both our struggles and successes.

When we are honest and authentic with each other, we are all stronger for it. Who’s with me? 🙂

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  • takeya dunca says:

    I just really adore you. You really help me feel more confident in starting a blog because you are real. You speak from your heart and you let people know that you are here to help but you aren’t perfect, which is great neither are we..Thank you so much

  • Guest says:

    Keep being real. 🙂 I am going to make a confession: In previous years, I used to resent some of the articles on here (I know–don’t hate me!) because they sometimes seemed “perfect.” I am much more comfortable accepting advice here now, seeing the real you. For example, I appreciated your honest grocery list the other week. Someone questioned you for buying $19.00 worth of deli turkey, and you just said, “My husband likes it, and it feeds us for a week.” That was an honest, real answer, and I appreciated it. If people want to live in Perfecto-land, go watch a Disney movie. The rest of us are here. So keep posting the honesty. 🙂

  • Laurie says:

    Everyone struggles. EVERYONE! There is not one perfect person in this world. Thank you for sharing your struggles and your victories. Readers need to know your not perfect. When I read your blog I often fill inadequate like I should be reading more, writing more love notes, spending more quality time with children, etc. These are all great goals and they need to be done but I don’t do them on a consistent basis and I feel horrible after reading your weekly goal list and seeing most of them crossed off. It’s nice to know your human too! I appreciate all you do for your readers and for KEEPING IT REAL!

  • Maria says:

    I find it very refreshing when you share your shortcomings! We have perfection and high standards bombarding us everywhere else. It’s nice to know you aren’t perfect and are ok with it. You are right- you would wear yourself out trying to be perfect, and so would we, thinking it can be done! Wisdom reassesses goals from time to time to make sure they are serving you and not the other way around. Love your blog!

  • says:

    I’m WITH YOU! You keep being you, and that will keep encouraging so many people. Thanks for your refreshing words today!

  • says:

    I feel like as an individual you should do what works for you. I always find it frustrating when people feel the need to make judgements, especially when they really hear/know the full story. Good on you for sticking to your guns, hey 🙂

  • says:

    Thank you for being honest! This post helped me tremendously, because I am just getting started blogging. I just signed up with bluehost and downloaded WordPress… I’m planning on going live in January after I have a good bit of content on there. I often feel like my shortcomings make me less-than-adequate for the job… But I know that it’s something I want to do. I pray that the Lord will give me the grace to be honest so others can be encouraged! 🙂

  • says:

    Can I be your neighbor? I seriously adore you, friend.

  • Kelsie says:

    I am waaaaaaay less likely to follow a blog where the blogger seems too perfect….that’s just me… 🙂 If I hear someone just say that “they struggle like everyone else,” I honestly don’t believe them. Until someone is at least a LITTLE open about what their struggles ARE, I will assume they are as “perfect” as they “pretend” to be. I read the following post today from a preacher I respect who recently admitted doing something FAR less than perfect. I think what he said IS perfect:

    What typically happens when a Christian leader falls is that they disappear and only reappear when they’re strong and shiny again. No one ever sees them in their broken and weakened condition. When we do this, we send the message that Christianity is only for good and strong and clean people. But believe it or not, Christianity is not about good people getting better. It is, rather, good news for bad people coping with their failure to be good. The message of the Christian faith is that because Jesus was strong for us we are free to be weak. The gospel of grace, in other words, frees us to let people see us at our worst so that they can see God at his most gracious best. After all, this whole thing is not about us and our reputation and status and strength and competence. It’s about Jesus, what he’s done, and who he continues to be for broken down ragamuffins like me.

    I hope we can extend the same grace to each other that Jesus extends to us.

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