Go Easy on You … You’re Only Human

May 2, 2014 | 13 comments

It really doesn’t have to be perfect. Real joy happens outside of the perfect couch, the perfect shade of lipstick, and the perfect report card.

Sure. You’ll find some sweet joy in that perfect angel food cake you pulled out of the oven, and we’ll celebrate with you when you find the perfect color for your kitchen walls.

But truest joy isn’t found in perfect. Truest joy is excavated from the rubble of your messy beautiful.

It’s been that way since the beginning, since that moment when you — once a baby — screeched onto the scene in a delivery room all those years ago.

You were born into a mess, and the room erupted in ear-splitting joy. And thanks be to God, that’s still where so much joy is still found — in the messy beautiful.

When God created the world, he called it good. Not perfect. But good.

When he made people,  He called us very good. Not perfect. But very good.

Perfect came just once, because God knew we were incapable of being anything more than human. So, we the imperfect ones in our crooked humanity, got Perfect Jesus as the prize.

I’ve tried my own brand of perfect. Look where it got me: It wore me out and cracked me in two and and broke me down and stole my joy and robbed my smile. I worked hard for perfect attendance and perfect teeth and perfect performances.

And in the end, who could trust me, the walking facade? 

But when I stopped expecting myself to be perfect, I could like me for who I really was. And maybe other people could, too.

There’s a fine line between excellence and perfectionism, and I want to stay on the right side of that. We’d do our souls a favor if we stopped letting our performances define us, and found freedom by settling into our identity as beloved children of God.

So, I say yes to my mess.

Because I am a human, not a Jesus.

Because I’m not Him, but I need Him.

So I’ll take my crazy morning hair, and my muffin top, and my girls’ dirty socks in the living room. I’ll take my banged-up, loved-up kitchen table, and the fact that my pillows are never on the couch. (The girls insist on using the decorative couch pillows and throw to create a corner “nest.”)

I’ll take my half-good brownies, my crinkled smile, my crumb-covered floor, my sub-par performances. Which means I’ll take yours as well.

I promise you this: I’ll love you as you are.

We’re in this together. And together, we can take our mess. And we can take our Jesus.

And we can live in peace, forever and ever, Amen.

Happy weekend friends! May it be perfectly imperfect.

A few invitations for you …

A Giveaway of Love Idol

Emily Wierenga and I invite you to enter a giveaway! We are giving away TWO copies of Love Idol and one of our signature preapproved necklaces over here.

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Missional Women

The Missional Women invite you to say it out loud to yourselves and to each other: “We’ve had enough of the Not Enoughs.” Find the Missional Women here. 

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A Bible Study!!

Do you want to make peace with your imperfections? Join me and The Whatever Girls for a six-week study of my new book, Love Idol.

 For moms and daughters.

Sign up by clicking here! 


Join me on instagram at @dukeslee!

Instagram of the week:


{This post, submitted as a part of Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five-Minute Friday linkup.}

Question: Where’s one area where you have tried for the An, but could decide today to settle for a B? Or even a C?

by | May 2, 2014 | 13 comments


  1. ro elliott

    I am a recovering perfectionist… I was my worst task master… I lived the grit your teeth …try hard existence for far too long… And when I saw… I could only love others from the love I know…this broke me open… Because I held others to the same perfection I held myself…and it kills and destroys relationship… I am so thankful for His love that is so gentle and kind…and His amazing Grace … All that brings us to freedom… Freedom to know how loved we are… Freedom to love others!!! I just love what God is doing through your book… Cheering women to greater freedom…changing generations to come!!!

  2. Sarah

    You know I love this!

    Today I could settle for a B in making weekend plans that are productive. (um…may take a bit more time to get comfortable with a C!)

    • dukeslee

      We are just gonna crazy bonkers and get Cs this weekend, and we’re gonna love it, love it, LOVE IT! 🙂 xoxo

  3. Monica Sharman

    Oh, I’m just now seeing that the Bible study says “For moms and daughters”! Fabulous!

  4. Shannon

    I’m probably getting Bs on exams!
    Because I’m a senior, and savoring this college is just more important =)

  5. paula

    This was beautiful! Thank you for sharing this wonderful reminder.

  6. Candice Jenee

    I came via 5MF, attracted by your “Instagram Picture of the Week”, as I hate getting ‘B’s. What an amazing reminder of my imperfection & how beautiful it is. How much I can allow Christ to move and work in it. Beautiful. Thank you.

  7. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Jennifer this is such a beautiful, messy message of love–the Only Love who is perfect, and the Only Love who loves us perfectly. Jesus loves me, a mess, and that’s the truth. I never knew how much of a perfectionist I was till nearly two years ago, when the Lord helped me to do some deep soul-digging in my journal. I was astounded to find the perfectionism had paralyzed and petrified every aspect of my life. And you are so right about that thin line separating excellence and perfectionism. I think perfectionists can fool themselves into thinking that they are simply striving for excellence. Maybe if we just love His Excellence, that would be good enough–more than good enough! Thank you for jumping on this band wagon, Jennifer. We need to hear more rallying cries like this one!
    PS I just gotta tell you though: I cant imagine myself screeching as a baby. That’s not what my mother says. I was singing melodiously from the moment I opened my sweet, little rosebud mouth! 🙂 But have I screeched as an adult? You betcha, and it was NOT a pretty sound! I’m working on it IMPERFECTLY, though! 🙂 Love you, lady!

  8. Kathy

    I am so blessed to know that the “Perfect One,” Jesus, lives within me to bring me, the “imperfect, messy one,” His life into my spirit. He will work to bring a transformation to my inner being. I won’t be perfect but as I abide in His love, joy and peace will reign in my daily living.

  9. Jillie

    Oh Jennifer, I am loving this post. I actually feel more ‘laid back’ already! “Truest joy isn’t found in perfect. Truest joy is found in the excavated rubble of your messy beautiful!!!” I love that! I cannot fully tell you what your timely message has meant for me, but it is a message EVERY woman needs to hear. I give thanks that the Lord moved in you to send this message to us. I strongly suspect it is changing hearts, and lives. I know it’s changing mine.

  10. Sherrey Meyer

    Needed to read this tonight. Thanks so much for pointing out what we loose when we focus on “perfect” — can’t live without joy so I’m putting perfect behind me instead of in front of me!

  11. Barbie

    This is beautiful Jennifer. It really spoke to my heart!

  12. Koko

    Beautiful post. Admittedly, your photo “I dare you to get a B” is what caught my attention… This was definitely me at one point as both a student and wow, as a teacher… As a teacher, I can truly say that, yes, it does take the fun out of things when pushing imperfect people to meet unrealistic expectations. Thanks for sharing! FMF Neighbor Blessings!


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