A little over a month ago, I got to spend some quality time with three of my favorite kiddos in the entire world. They have bundles of energy, spirits of joy, and boatloads of charm. I LOVE being a part of their world, watching them grow into the people they will become. I can see their strength forming, their character developing, their kindness and awareness of the world around them blooming. It blesses my heart continually!
On this particular evening, we went bowling, and then afterwards, we ended up at the house playing Trouble (the Frozen edition…of course!). I haven’t sat down and played a board game in a long time, and you know what…I had SO MUCH FUN! I wasn’t concerned with winning or what these kids thought of my abilities or with being too much! I laughed and laughed and laughed some more!
It wasn’t just because I hadn’t played a game in a long time. Truth be known, I hadn’t PLAYED in a long time. As I was thinking about this fact, I remembered the new mural in the Elementary wing of GCS. It simply says, “Play, Learn, and Grow Together.”
As adults, I feel like we are mostly ok with learning together. We all have new experiences, we face new circumstances, and we learn together. Sometimes, we are forced to grow together. Now, growth feels awfully personal to me. I’d rather grow alone. It can be messy business, but through circumstance or physical proximity, we have to grow together. The people in our lives witness our growth, whether we’d like it that way or not.
But, playing… Playing seems to be an option in the adult world. At some point, we simply stop playing with each other.
I think that is about the same time that we become concerned with being perfect.
See, you can’t be playful and be perfect. Playfulness involves openness and freedom. Perfection involves insecurity and restrictions. Playing often involves making a mess. Perfection is all about keeping our messes pushed under the rug.
At some point, we have all made the exchange, choosing to value what other people will think or say about us over enjoying ourselves and our lives. When did I make that exchange? Because it most certainly was a poor one!!
I think if you took a vote, no one really wants to be perfect. We all truly just want to be ourselves, but that kind of authentic living is scary. It requires vulnerability and honesty and hard work and forgiveness. Feigning perfection is easier in the moment, but disastrous in the end. Sure, we get through life (maybe a little more unscathed than the person next to us) holding all of the cards. We don’t make fools of ourselves and no one has the opportunity to make fools of us, but we miss out on EVERYTHING in the process.
We miss out on the depth of real relationships, the life-giving laughter of an open heart, and the healing that only comes with sharing our broken places.
From today on, let’s make a promise to one another…let’s choose playful over perfect. Let’s embrace each other’s messiness and scars and tender hearts. Let’s make a choice to be less concerned with how things look and more concerned with how things actually are!
Playful over Perfect.