Anorexia or not, I’ve always been the perfectionist type. I’m the type to scrap an entire sheet of paper because of (what I consider to be) poor handwriting. Then, I’ll start all over. And if the ink smears? Trash that page too. I’ll rewrite it.
My perfectionism is also made manifest in my bedroom. I like things to be kept so-so. I have a particular system of organization, and, if you’re smart, you won’t interfere with me and my methods of arrangement. I like for my bed to be made, my floors kept clear, and my laundry folded as crisp and flat as can be.
Okay, I hope you get it. I’m perfectionistic. I don’t need to rant or spend an unnecessary amount of time giving examples of my strange absurdities.
Bearing all of this in mind, however, we’re brought to a story that I’d like to share.
Anyway, on my tenth birthday, I was surprised with a trip to the American Girl Doll store in Atlanta, Georgia. Talk about pink in its pinkest form! Pink walls. Pink floors. Pink shelves. Pink boxes. An explosion of pink. And glitter – oh, tons of glitter! Glitter by the gallon.
For the first ten years of my bliss-filled life, I had considered myself a tomboy. But, it was at this very moment that I temporarily converted to girly-girlism.
To say that I was “in love” would have been an understatement. I was engrossed – infatuated – with these beautiful dolls, adorned in pink.
I wandered around the store, lost in my own happiness. I roamed the seemingly endless aisles of doll clothes, doll furniture, doll accessories, doll books, dolls.
At last, I landed on a display of look-alike dolls. I searched for my twin. Brown hair. Brown eyes. Brown-ish skin. She was beautiful – perfect even! We made an immediate connection, me and that doll. I wanted her with all of my ten-year-old heart!
In short, I left the store in a contented state with a new friend clutched tightly in my arms. She was my pride and joy!
As any good mother would, I decided that I would take my doll – whom I later named Kate – with me, wherever I went. Yet I would keep her hair in its original condition – glossy, unknotted, perfect. She would always be fully dressed and fully prepared for whatever I planned to do.
I started out with good intentions, and indeed, my intentions remained “good.” But problematic circumstances (or perhaps my sheer clumsiness) got in the way of my good intentions.
Several months into my motherhood, a terrible misfortune occurred. I dropped my beloved doll atop the concrete pavement. In doing so, the tip of Kate’s nose chipped off. It was only a small scrape, but I was absolutely devastated!
My perfectionistic (aka borderline insane) personality kicked into overdrive. I was not only mad at myself and my utter klutziness, but I was irritated with my doll for having suffered such a calamity, as if, such a thing had been her fault.
She was no longer perfect. She was flawed, damaged, marred. She, due to her wounded nose, had lost her luster. And likewise, I had lost pride in my doll.
According to my own way of thinking, Kate was now undeserving of my attention and affection. I would have argued that Kate was no longer useful, as if her usefulness had lain in the tip end of her nose. She was unworthy of my time and energies.
Contrary to my previous desires, I no longer wanted to carry Kate along with me. In fact, I would have liked to purchase a new doll in replacement, if only I had had the funds to do so. I desired nothing less than perfect. A strong demand, yes, but my standards were unwilling to waver.
For the most part, I kept these harsh emotions inward. But I did, at some point, share with my mom about how I was feeling. I briefly explained that, because of my doll’s misshapen nose, I no longer had any interest in playing with her. I even voiced that I had considered sending her off to the American Girl Doll Hospital, all in hopes that she might be returned to perfection.
I expected that my mom would rebuke my unrealistic expectations or roll her eyes at my silly thinking. But instead, she said in a matter-of-fact way, “Taylor, there’s nothing wrong with her nose. Sure, it may be broken, but it just shows that she has been well-loved. It shows that she has been worn by the experiences of life. It shows that she has ‘lived a little.'”
Although you may be thinking that I was a bit irrational or unreasonable towards my doll, you might relate to my story more than you’d like to admit.
Too often have I seen girls criticize themselves because of flaws that are out of their control. They berate themselves due to their faults or deem themselves unworthy on account of their mistakes. They condemn themselves because of their weaknesses or shortcomings. They attack themselves owing to their blemishes. Girls critique and revile their own bodies when they fall short of perfection.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with observing your body or acknowledging your frailties. But when it gets to the point that you are unhappy with your God-given frame, then it becomes an issue. In this way, not only are you harming yourself, but you are insulting the One who created you!
My friend, you are not defined by your scars. You are not defined by your shortcomings or your errors or your defects. Your worth is not found in appearance or in a number. Your value is in Jesus Christ, who died that you might live eternally!
Maybe you have some visibly obvious imperfections. You have a past that you fear may never be forgotten by others. Nonetheless, you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)!
Your infirmities and failures are proof that you have been worn by the experiences of life. I’m not condoning bad behavior or excusing misconduct. I’m not saying that it’s okay to create damage by partaking in sin. But if you struggle to accept that your worth is not defined by your past, I’m here to proclaim that your worth was determined at the cross!
Jesus loves you unconditionally. He doesn’t ask that you be perfect. He doesn’t even ask that you be close to perfect. He gently asks that you come, for His power is made PERFECT in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).