To an outsider, our lives seem so perfect. We love the idea of creating the perfect life. Our lives are perfect, right?
The norm in our social culture is to appear perfect in front of our peers. We want to be at the top and to be better than any of our friends and family.
I was helping some friends move recently, and when we were ready to load the big stuff, we realized their couch had not been moved in years. It was a rather large leather couch and was more than eight-feet-long. So far in this move, everything seemed perfect—the clothes, toys, and tables were all like new and clean. All this seemed to be indicative of how their lives seemed—perfect.
We had to pull the bottom cushions off the couch to make it lighter and more manageable, and we had to turn it over to get it out the door.
Turns out, the perfect family, the perfect house, and the perfect life had some hidden issues. As we peeled off the couch cushions, there was so much trash and dirt that the homeowner quickly grabbed a handheld vacuum and proceeded to clean this dirt and trash from the couch. I was stunned that this was taking place right before our eyes. This seemingly flawless family was cleaning their dirt right in front of me, as if I didn’t see them.
To be honest with you, I knew this family was like that, a portrait of perfection as I call them. If you were to see them you would think, “perfection.” If you look at their social media pages, they speak volumes of perfection; they would tell you they are living the ideal life and have nothing but perfect children, perfect clothes, perfect cars, and perfect stuff. They are the best. A perfect family with no dirt and no trash!
I discovered years ago we all have dirt and trash under our cushions. Go to any house in the world, and you will find dirt, old stuff, and trash under their couch cushions.
We all do! So, why do we try to hide our imperfections? Why hasn’t this beautiful family figured this out?
Could it be that striving to be perfect has blinded them to their real state of being—imperfection? Blinded by the pursuit of perfection.
I believe striving to portray our lives as perfect only leads us to lift our cushions and look at what a mess we really are. We are a mess, and it’s only by God’s grace we are made righteous as followers of Jesus. Followers who are okay with our messes and comfortable with our dirt.
May we strive to be followers who acknowledge that our mess is our message and never needs to be hidden under a couch cushion. So, the next time you are helping friends move, look under their couch cushions, and then look at the people. Does their life match their dirt?