I used to have a Flipboard app on my phone.
It was flooding me with articles like this:
7 Steps to a Perfect Morning Routine!
27 Ways to the BEST Marriage Now!
16 Ways You Are Drinking Water Wrong!
A Failure-Proof Bible Reading Plan!
12 Must-Read Books for September!
You get the point ...
After awhile my mind became toxic with the idea that my life was sub-par unless my wardrobe was perfect, my closet color-coded, and my workout plan was a perfectly balanced, never-ending rhythm of cardio, strength, balance, stretching and high-intensity intervals (did you know your muscles have been wasting away since you turned 30?).
I felt like a loser unless my home was minimalist, organized and toxin-free, I had the perfect work-life balance, whatever that is, and I developed a wind-down-to-bedtime routine that guaranteed an uninterrupted 8-hour sleep.
I felt life had passed me by unless I had read the classics, my career was on an upward trajectory, I devoted myself to multiple charities, volunteered endlessly, and ran triathlons.
I felt life wasn't worth living unless I had an organic, locally-sourced diet, a perfectly-manicured lawn (please, no chemicals), the just-right number of friends who never disappoint, a hangnail-less manicure, an ageless body, an ageless mind (brain games, anyone?), and a satisfied soul ...
blah, blah, blah ...
Good Lord, this made me so, so tired! Thankfully I realized what was happening inside myself before it went on for too long. I read a chapter called "Perfecting Ourselves to Death" in Chuck DeGroat's book Wholeheartedness, and this seemingly trivial pursuit of the "perfect everything" was revealed for what it is - darkness.
Listen to what DeGroat writes:
"Self-perfection may be an instinct as old as Adam and Eve. From the very beginning, it seems, human beings have been driven to build ladders to heaven. Ashamed of our humanness, we're constantly aspiring to become gods. The relentless drive to perfect ourselves leads to feats of extraordinary achievement ... And utter exhaustion."
The advertising world has found thousands of ways to bombard us with a sense of shame and self-despair over our humanness, along with a never-ending stream of products and services designed to provide the perfection we think we seek, yet really offering self-centeredness, weariness, and debt.
It is up to me to block these messages lest I drown in them, and thus miss the messy, imperfect, beautiful, ordinary, glorious, sometimes painful, real, life God has given me in the process.
So, I deleted that Flipboard app from my phone.
The pursuit of perfection is a joke.
There are ZERO wrong ways to drink water. In fact, ice-cold from a dirt-encrusted summer garden hose is close enough to perfect for me.