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Freedom from Perfection

The pursuit of perfection has crippled me. It has stolen the words from my tongue. It has questioned every longing that flows from my fickle heart.

Perfection showed up at my doorstep one day. Rudely unannounced. His piecing eyes contained a deep seeded pain, a malevolent strength. He saw right through me to my twisted desire. Before I could tell him to go away he made himself at home. He seized my will and made it his own. He tried to devour me. He pushed me away, then drew me nigh. Sometimes I liked what he give me. Worth, love, and hints of freedom. The freedom never lasted long-as he ripped it from my grasp faster than he gave it. Perfection wouldn’t leave my home, so I decided to run away. His narcissism had worn me down, but somehow I found the strength. Something outside of me gave me strength.

I packed the essentials, snuck out the back door, closing is ever so quietly. I was free, free at last…almost. I ran, ran, and ran some more, I had to get out of sight. I ran from the urban center I called home. Glimpses of concerned faces tore me apart. They drew me from my blissful denial into the deep expanse of my shattered heart. Exploring this terrain would have led to paralysis. Out of necessity, I set my sights on the cobblestone, and drew my hood over my face. Terrified that he was following me I kept running. Hours rolled by, my delicate and depleted heart couldn’t take much more. Soon I noticed more dirt than city street. Appearing from the safety of my hood, my despair was met with crisp wilderness air, demanding to be experienced. I was enveloped by trees. I wondered if I should rest but, but terrified I kept on. The stars began to fade. Ominous moonlight was steadily replaced. Morning dawned hope. The hope that arose was reflected in my hands. Higher and higher, faster and faster, trees were flying by. These outstretched hands served a dual purpose-clearing the way and wildly celebrating this long awaited taste of hope. It was so good, but it awakened something inside. My inmost being cried out for more.

Suddenly, a clearing broke and grass began to roll. Grass and flowers filled my sights for miles. My eyes had been dormant in the shadows for so long, this much life was almost devastating. I couldn’t bring myself to look away. Torn, I stood in awe and wonder. Clearly I had a choice. The borderland, where the forest cleared, urged me to choose between the concealment that the dense forest offered, and the exposure that accompanied the captivating meadow. In this stance of wonder I wandered through the longings of my heart, bouncing between the poles of sorrow and delight.

Soon I found myself in the center of the glory, from spectator to participant. Exposure brought with it comforting warmth. This familiar source of light brought back fond memories of old. A certain security. It’s burning wholeheartedness penetrated my exhausted and malnourished frame, the vessel of my soul. Becoming aware of my body I realized the my hands were once again raised. There I stood withered hands raised high, weary heart rejoicing. My heart was racing, but I was free. Free from the grips of that monster.

Every now and the I have a dream where I visit the house we shared. This time I am the unannounced visitor. As I tour the house, where a loving family now resides, I see restoration has replaced desperation. The house where he dominated me, stole the breath from my lips, now brings forth life. In my dream I walk through the home and flashback to painful memories but snap out of them when the cheery face guiding me asks if I’d like to see the rest of the renovations they’ve done. The new tenants are kind, but their kindness can’t mask the fear that overtakes me. These nightmares come, ravaging my heart, then light breaks through. Coming to my rescue, casting out the darkness. The freedom bells ring.

When I see him around town I return to the place where I am known. Everything around me slows down as I race back to the field. The bed of flowers where my withered hands were raised and my weary heart rejoiced.

Sometimes his old records play. They tell me that I’m stupid. Without him I’ll amount to nothing. He tells me he gave me life. Who am I without him? Not good enough. What will people say when they see my by myself, the prison of defenses that he held me in, stripped away. Though he was ugly on the outside, when we were together he made me look really good. Again, I look down at my withered hands, they cradle my face as tears roll down. Thoughts racing, I find myself in the field where true freedom was found. I think to the day I ran away, the chains fell off and I was free. I think of the strength that was offered me, that ended my captivity. I wonder about the Giver of said strength. He’s also really strong. He makes me feel safe as I fall before his grace. Powerless in this space. I’m not perfect, I’m not in control, I am weak and powerless. But He, he is strong. He doesn’t shove me out in front and tell me to perform. He goes before me, preparing the way. With His withered hands outstretched, he whispers in my ear, that I am free. He has borne the burden for me. When I stand exposed, without the protection of Perfection, He casts away the shame. On the tree of treason he cast away the shame of not enough.

My old friend tried to silence me. To convince me not to tell this story. You’re incapable of expressing thoughts clearly. You waist your time trying to be understood. His words stripped me bare, my foundations torn away, I would weep. Without exception, whispers would surround me, rumors of truth flooded in- lifting my despondent heart.

These withered hands are raised and receive a cup of blessing that is overflowing. This heart longs to be seen and heard. Perfection gave me voice, when he stood in my place these longing seemed within reach. Sadly with him alongside me on this journey they would always be deferred.

With open hands freed from perfection, I venture into uncharted territory. I am tasting true freedom. I hear Truth whisper once again- this is glorious.

Here I stand, out from behind the confines of those walls. The man of sorrows has entered and tenderly torn them down. He demolished them from the inside out. Once a captive, now captivated, I’m caught in the grips of His love.



  1. Thanks for posting this, Catherine! I am grateful to raise withered hands with you in praise to the Wounded Healer who has freed us.

  2. Reply

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