Let me ask a couple of questions. What is normal? How would you describe a “normal” family? Normal is probably a very diverse picture. Is it a happy, content, successful, and two parent with 2.5 kids picture? Chances are the real image is a bit more tarnished. What does the “perfect” family look like? You read right – a perfect family. What about the Beaver (Theodore) Cleaver family? Dad works 9-5 while Mom stays a home perfectly attired including pearls. Everything has its place, the house is spotless, and rarely a harsh word spoken. The perfect family has no problems, no worries, and is always happy, right? Let’s be honest here, there’s no such thing as a perfect family. It’s an illusion of unrealistic expectation or perception. In all my years I’ve never met a family that doesn’t have problems and struggles. Now, I’ve met a few that tried to live behind a facade of perfection, but it typically crumbles at some point. The older (and hopefully wiser) I get, the more I realize it’s okay to have problems, challenges, and even issues. The fact you have them isn’t worrisome, it’s how you handle, approach, and work through them that matters. It’s not shameful to have them, but it’s scandalous to pretend the perfect illusion.
Here’s my thought. I think we spend way too much time chasing a perceived ideal that’s unrealistic. We have a perfect image we desire for our reality – the right house, spouse, child, job, vacation, car, life, and future. It’s like all of life’s energy is expended in the securing of a perfected front. Don’t waste your time! Don’t spend your days running after an image, perception, illusion, façade, or picture of the perfect family. It just doesn’t exist and all you do is set yourself up for disappointment. Why strive trying to create the perfect image only to realize it’s an unachievable dream? Instead of chasing after the image, pursue the perfect One. That’s the best advice I can give you. Don’t spend all your time running after a seemingly perfect image, but pursue the only perfect One – Christ. When you pursue authentic perfection (Jesus), everything else pales in comparison. Why chase an illusion (idol of perfection) when you can know the real thing. Instead of trying to create your own future, allow the Creator to create in you – and your family.
I love Paul’s example in Philippians 3. He contrasted the perceived ideal of perfection with the pursuit of the perfect One. Paul lived a good life. He was the example of the perfect Hebrew. Yet, Jesus interrupted his perception and transformed his life. Instead of chasing an ideal, Paul spent the rest of his days pursuing the perfect One – Jesus. Read the words of Paul, “ 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” These are the words of a man who desired the pursuit of Christ more than any other ideal or cultural illusion.
Are you chasing the white picket fence, the perfect house, life, job, and family – image? Stop, adjust your pursuit, and run after Christ only. Allow Him to transform life, hope, expectations, ideals, dreams, and perceptions.
[Disclaimer: My use of The Perfect Family is not an endorsement of the film or an encouragement to view. It is used for illustration purposes ONLY.]