Daily Step – It doesn’t have to be perfect.


It doesn’t have to be the blue iris.

This poem by Mary Oliver is about prayer, but I feel it extends to other things as well…

There are so many things I want to do perfectly.

There are so many things that irritate me when they come out flawed… especially when I worked so hard to make them come out right!

What about you?

Yesterday, one of the squares on my first graders’ homework choice board said: “See how many jumping jacks you can do in one minute.” First, let me just take a moment to affirm the teachers for adding a square about movement into the homework grid! I liked this one!

The twins also were excited about it, and so we all spread out and I started a timer. Immediately, one twin started being super goofy about his jumping jacks and counting loud enough to drown the other twin out. So, the second twin – quit. At least, he quit temporarily. He folded his arms and sat on the couch and whined “He’s messing me up! Now I can’t count and I need to know exactly how many! Also, he’s just doing them all wrong!” If he had more adult words, I swear he would have said: “Mom, his form is so bad!”

I told the frustrated twin to sit tight and we would do his minute separately. Meanwhile, I watched my goofy boy have the time of his life doing jumping jacks mixed with dramatic falls onto the couch to feign exhaustion every ten or so. And he shouted those numbers unapologetically (probably loud enough for the neighbors to hear).

I admit, I wanted to correct his form. I wanted to tell him that he probably only did 40 “real” jumping jacks alongside a bunch of crazy interpretations. I wanted him to count just a bit quieter. 

But instead, I just watched him… enjoying exercise… enjoying life.

There are so many times I don’t get started on something because I’m afraid it won’t be perfect. It’s probably why I was 39 before I took up writing and letting others see and read my work. 

I have to remind myself that some of the best works are imperfect, even unfinished. They are raw and emotional and honest.

They are human.

And that’s what God wants from me in prayer as well… to show up raw, emotional, honest…

And human.

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