We are overwhelmed by her. We are discouraged by her. At one time or another, however, we all try to be her. Who am I talking about? I'm talking about the mythical "Perfect Mom."
While deep down we know we can never be perfect, that doesn't stop us from trying! We strive for perfection on a daily basis. Our hearts are grieved when we believe we are witnessing perfection in another mom, all the while believing ourselves incapable of reaching that coveted "perfection status."
More than simply being something that exhausts us or depletes us of our joy, this pursuit of "perfect motherhood" is far more harmful than just that. If we know the truths of God's Word and desire to follow the Lord, we are going to have to let go of the idol of perfection.
5 Ways a Perfect Mom Pursuit Negates the Gospel
When viewed through the lens of the Gospel, our striving after "perfect motherhood" comes with many adverse consequences for our parenting.
It results in unnecessary mommy guilt.
One of the biggest issues with our pursuit of perfection is that we are not defining perfection as the Bible does – as holiness, righteousness, set-apart living, etc. Instead, we're incorporating worldly definitions into our picture of what "perfect motherhood" is. We tend to believe the end goal to not be a mom who teaches her children the truths of God's Word, but a mom whose life is Pinterest-worthy. We mistakenly believe "perfect" mothering to consist of cooking all-organic meals, throwing elaborate birthday parties, making homemade playdough, crafts, and decorating our homes to the nines for every holiday.
While each of these activities is fun and can be wonderful for aiding us in our mission to provide our children with a memorable, special childhood, they are not God's standards of what constitutes a good mom. Therefore, they should not make up what we view to be "perfect" mothering while we inadvertently ignore what actually does – mothering which consists of loving our children, serving them, and pointing them to Christ on a daily basis.
It negates the good news of the Gospel.
Despite this never-ending pursuit of perfection, the fact of the matter, sweet mama, is that you are already perfect! You can cease your striving and rest. At the moment of your salvation, God removed your sin from you as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12), and in its place imputed the very righteousness of Christ (see Phillippians 3:9). When God looks at you, He sees Christ. Christ's perfection is your perfection. You can believe the amazing truth of Romans 8:1 which says, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." Did you catch that? No condemnation at all!
The problem with our endless pursuit of perfection is that we inadvertently negate the good news of the Gospel. We are essentially telling the watching world that the sacrifice of Christ on the cross was insufficient. Our conduct implies that it wasn't powerful enough, and so we must seek perfection on our own.
This empty pursuit of mothering perfection grieves the Lord's heart. The Word says His desire that we "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).
It provides our children with a false gospel.
Our most important job as Christian parents is to teach our children the good news of the Gospel and point them to Christ. That reveals their need for Him and His sufficiency in salvation. However, if our kids see us rushing around striving to be "perfect" on our own, they will think they have to as well. The result with likely be a distaste in their mouths for what they are believing to be "Christianity." When children see moms who are resting in the knowledge of what Christ accomplished for them on the cross, they see a tangible picture of the good new. This draws them to Christ in the process.
It hinders us in our mission of pointing others to Christ.
Our clambering to be the "perfect mom" is the complete opposite of the innocuous pursuit we may have thought it was. It not only proves harmful in our ability to live out the gospel in our homes, but it also hinders us in our ability to live out the Great Commission in our communities. The idol of perfectionism results in a whole host of issues – everything from inhibiting us in our ability to cultivate friendships to the mommy wars. We're all losers in this pursuit of "perfection."
It causes us to believe ourselves to be God, all the while leading to our actually forgetting God in the process.
Moms are constantly trying to "do it all", believing themselves to be failures if they are unable to be all things to all people. Here's the thing – we are not God! The Almighty alone is all-powerful (and even He took time to rest!) We would do well to remember that instead of daily rushing ahead of Him.
Don't fall into the trap of perfectionism, mama. Christ died so that you might live in the righteousness, peace, and rest that is yours through salvation in Him. Embrace it, mama! Believe it. And cease from your striving.
Look to Christ!
The truth of the matter is this: as I point out in Lies Moms Believe (And How the Gospel Refutes Them), the Lord never asked you to be "perfect" for your children. He has simply asked you to be a conduit of the Gospel, pointing your children to Him through your imperfection. If our children are going to understand the need for salvation through Christ, they're going to have to see it in us. We are going to have to give up on perfection in the world's eyes. Instead, we need to seek to rely on and trust in Christ as our only help and hope. The good fruit produced by such a life will be far greater than any worldly pursuit of "perfection" ever could be.
Sweet mama, take your eyes off yourself and fix them firmly on Christ and what He accomplished on your behalf. You don't have to strive for perfection. You are perfect in His eyes. You don't have to be the most Pinterest-inspired mom for your kids. You need only be a Gospel-inspired mom. When we keep these truths in mind, we can then mother our children from a place of grace, rest, hope, and love as we focus on the Lord and grow in Him.
Originally posted at www.anglepenn.com.
Rebekah Hargraves is a wife, mama of two littles, home business owner, podcaster, and blogger residing in TN. Her passion is to bless fellow Christian women through her writings on her website, Hargraves Home and Hearth, which exists to "edify, equip, and encourage women in their journey of Biblical womanhood".