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clean it up.

when i was a little girl, and after hours of cleaning, had finally achieved a spotless room, i would sleep on top of my comforter with a blanket.

when day became night, i would refuse to get under my covers, because in my mind, i had to preserve what was perfect by refraining from touching it. i did not trust myself to live in the space comfortably and keep the space pristinely clean, and for me, disaster would always start with the bed. the minute my bed was unmade was the beginning of disorder, and there was no stopping the tumbling down once it began, all because i got too comfortable, let my hair down, and in this instance, snuggled up with my sheets.

funny how that same attitude could manifest itself in other parts of my life.

for years of my youth and into my adulthood, i was hesitant to show up in my relationships. i didn’t trust who i was to fit into people’s perfect image of connection, likely because in my abuse i been taught that i had always been too “something” for someone to love me.

too intellectual.

too challenging.

too innocent.

too sheltered.

too open.

too much of a conversationalist.

too perceptive.

too affectionate.

too serious.

too skinny.

too dark of a complexion.

too short hair.

too successful.

too independent.

too in love with God.

too far away.

the minute i became exposed, and comfortable; prepared for growth and living in real time, in love with another; shame was cracked over my head, as who i was as perfectly imperfect seemed to disgust and displease him. i was hit with the unrealistic requests to become less of what i was and more of what i hadn’t been, and i felt the need to - remake the bed. lie on top of the sheets. preserve his idea of a woman in his head by sacrificing myself in order to .. stay in the room.

as dull and lifeless as you could imagine a room not lived in, is what i became; most things about me i learned quickly that i could not change, so instead i practiced hiding - being silent. i was one with the blank walls and one with the cold sheets, camouflaged into a relationship that had no room for me.

i don’t want the “keep it clean” mantra to keep ruling my life.

that’s not to say that i want a messy room; but i want to give myself grace to cuddle with my comforter AND make my bed; i don’t want a “messy” relationship; but i want to choose to stay or go after i’ve had the opportunity to show up as i am - one with a freed tongue and a freed mind and so much to say. one in love with God and willing even though she be afraid. one who searches for herself and accepts herself in love and grace. i want the evidence that i am unLYSHed all over my boudoir and my floor, knowing that i can be me and not be dirty, disgusting or unloveable. my choice to unwind does not make me any less beautifully pristine.

i heard a powerful quote once that said “you will never achieve perfection; but if you chase perfection you will capture excellence.”

i’ve learned that life is not about trying to maintain or become the image of perfection, but to strive for perfection. and in relation to character and relationships, perfection doesn’t necessarily mean to be unblemished; to me, it means to show up as freed. to me, it means to be willing to be in the room, and not a part of the room. it means to add the color, the laughter, and the authenticity; it means to be vulnerable and transparent and brave, knowing that God gives us grace for broken vases and dirty laundry; missteps and mistakes. we don’t quit at living because of our imperfection, but we receive the grace to “clean it up,” and show up some more.

i want my bedroom to be at the standard of excellence; i want to push myself to live at the standard of excellence. i will chase perfection humbly accepting that i cannot *be perfection and that’s more than okay -

it’s actually quite freeing.


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Written by Maud Alcorn for the “Where Freedom Resides” Campaign Healing is a lifelong commitment. I know that many of us have fantasies of overcoming what has broken us, then never being broken again.

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