How Letting Go of Perfection Leads to Contentment

“We don’t have mango salsa anymore. It was seasonal.”

Sure, it’s just a topping for my three-cheese nachos at Qdoba, but my perfected combination of flavors was disrupted.

“OK, give me the mild pico de gallo.” I settled for my next favorite.

But sometimes we build something after some trial and error that seems so perfect.

That’s how the nachos with queso, black beans, grilled veggies, shredded cheese, and mild mango salsa were for me this summer. One afternoon not long before the kids returned to school, we met my husband for lunch. When I sat down with the not-quite-favorite nachos, mourning the disappearance of the mango salsa, I realized perfection is fleeting.

There are moments when perfection seems attainable, but that’s a trap. Every time.

Over the nachos that really did taste good, my husband reminded me about how pitchers can throw a perfect game, but the next time on the mound a runner gets to base. Nobody throws back-to-back perfect games because perfection is just an illusion.

Unless you’re Jesus.

He’s perfect and he’s perfecting us.

I'm not perfect, but I'm being perfected by a perfect God. <<Click to Tweet

Notice the drastic difference when perfect is an unattainable adjective and when it's an on-going verb? It’s a process that won’t be complete until we’re spending an eternity with Jesus in the place he went to prepare for us.

Y’all, it’s going to be perfect. Maybe there will even be some mango salsa.

But until then, I’m reminded we live in world full of imperfections. The people we love aren’t perfect. Consequences of poor choices fill our days – sometimes they are our own poor choices and other times the consequences are the ripples from other people around us. Sadly, conflict weaves its way into relationships, people don’t seek Jesus, and bad things happen to good people.

 My house and family are imperfect. My boy is messy and noisy. And my girl talks so fast I have to ask her to slow down and repeat herself. They argue and disobey. I yell when I should speak softly and hold grudges when I should forgive. I worry about people’s approval when I know God already calls me His. There are dirty dishes, piles of laundry, and sticky spots on the floor.

For a long time, I thought if I were content with this real life of mine, then I'd be settling. It's really quite the opposite. When I'm content, I'm free to take risks because I'm not worried about perfection. I realize I’m not in charge.

Far too often I have parented and lived burdened by perfection instead of striving for excellence.

 I've squashed my son's joy because his noise level interfered with my task-oriented focus. I've nagged my daughter with correction. I've argued with my husband who didn't read my mind.

I want to embrace my son's joy. I want to show my daughter the freedom that comes with doing her best and learning as she goes. I want to love my husband well.

I want us all to stand firmly on the secure foundation that comes only from God.

I want to strive for excellence, rest in contentment, and let go of perfection. <<Click to Tweet

And I really do want Qdoba to bring back the mango salsa before I get to heaven.

My favorite books on this topic are:

Love Idol by Jennifer Dukes Lee

No More Perfect Kids by Jill Savage and Dr. Kathy Koch

Chasing God by Angie Smith

Kristin believes in seeking God as the author of every story. You’ll quickly learn her favorite story to tell is how God created her family through adoption after a hard season of infertility. God continues to surprise her – in the best kind of way – with all the ways her life is nothing like she expected. She lives in Murray, Ky., with her husband, Greg, and two kids – Cate and Ben. She never leaves home without her iPhone, which reminds her where she’s supposed to be going, holds many notes documenting her ideas, and helps her document life. Connect with Kristin on

Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

photo credit: iStock - OJO_Images

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Circles of Faith. 

Enjoy what you read? Share it with others...