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Are You Waiting for Perfection?

How perfectionism gets in the way of life.

Don't wait for the perfect moment to make family memories.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

While on a family vacation with our sons and their families recently, we’d planned on doing photos on the beach. My son, Tim, is a gifted photographer, and he’d taken some awesome pictures during previous vacations.

But this year, one of my little grandsons took a tumble going down the stairs outside our beach house. He landed on his face on the sidewalk and now sported a scrape on his cheek and a big pump-knot on his forehead. He’s an active boy, and bless his heart, seems he’s keeping his guardian angels on constant duty. 

We all hovered around, trying to comfort him as he cried, his mama gently cleaning the raw place on his face. I scurried to the kitchen for a bag of ice for his forehead. We were all relieved when it seemed he was okay.

Then my daughter-in-law sighed, “Well, there go our family pictures on the beach.” 

I looked at her and said, “Just go ahead and do them. They’ll still be cute.” I half-laughed, shaking my head. “He gets hurt a lot, so it will look normal. That’s real life. You won’t ever have any photos if you wait for perfection.”

Read More: The Gratitude Challenge

And then I heard a little voice whisper in my heart, “Isn’t that exactly what you do?”

Ouch. Yes, guilty as charged—and I suspect I’m not the only one waiting for perfection. 

I stay out of the camera range because I’m having a bad hair day or I’m in my old around-the-house clothes. “Wait until I look a little nicer.”

I put off going to lunch with an old friend from school days because I’ve gained some pounds. “I’ll get together with her one day soon . . . after I’ve lost some weight.” I could go on and on with excuses.

I realized something important that day–I was missing important moments with my loved ones while waiting on perfection. So on this vacation when we paused for photos on the bike trail, I stopped and smiled for the photo even though my hair was wind-blown, and I wasn’t wearing makeup. Now my grandchildren will always have this memory of Grandmama riding bikes with them. 

They’ll also have a photo of a slightly sunburned Grandmama in her nightshirt with a grandbaby snuggled close, sleeping on her lap. I hope they’ll focus on the sweetness of the moment or the smile on my face, but it doesn’t matter, because I’m no longer waiting on perfection. I’m going to celebrate these times that are such sweet gifts from God, precious moments that are irreplaceable.

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