Amy Carroll » Releasing Freely » Abandoned Pictures

Abandoned Pictures

Are you an artist? I am.

Let me clarify. I can barely draw a straight line. Just yesterday I was playing with a friend’s little girl when she toddled over, handed me her Etch-A-Sketch and stared at me expectantly. As I thought through my repertoire, I broke out in a cold sweat. What to draw? What to draw?

A snowman?… Three circles.

A sunshine?… One circle with lines around it.

A smiley face?… One circle. Two dots. A curved line.

A house?… One rectangle. One triangle.

That’s it, folks. That’s all I’ve got. I might manage a few other attempts, but you probably wouldn’t be able to identify the objects.

No. I’m not able to create art on the page, but mercy are the pictures I create in my head beautiful! Masterpieces. Perfection.

I can create the perfect vacation. The perfect child. The perfect job. The perfect marriage, and the perfect friendship. In my mind, I construct how things should be and how they should go.

Do you do it too? If you do, then you know what a huge problem that kind of artistry can be.

When the circumstances change…

When the “just right” words aren’t spoken…

When the ball is dropped…

When the feelings aren’t reciprocated…

That’s when the picture of perfection shatter, and the results can be ugly. It can lead to pouting and finger-pointing. Often we feel hurt even though the other person might never know what we were thinking.

In the next few weeks, I’m going to do a little series about the pictures we paint in our heads in every area of life, the effects of those pictures, and how to break the habit.

I’d love to hear. Do you create pictures of  perfection? In what areas of your life?

Note: Tristina (8.21.15 11:31 am) is the winner of Twelve Inches! Congratulations, Tristina!!

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  1. I absolutely create perfect pictures in my head. I am also often disappointed in the reality when things don’t go as I pictured (expected). This is something I have realized I need to change.

  2. So funny- I was just standing in my living room 5 min before I read this, looking at my eclectic living room. Not eclectic in the cool, modern way, but eclectic in that everything in the room was given to us by someone and does not match the perfect vision of what I have in my head. Instead of feeling blessed that God has provided for our family I was grumbling & feeling frustrated. I definitely struggle with perfectionism in all areas of my life so I’m looking forward to the next few weeks. Thanks!

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Amy, I found myself in the same trap on Saturday! I was grumpy and couldn’t figure out why. When I started examining my thoughts from the morning, I realized they were about all the things I didn’t have and what was going wrong. When I replaced them with thankful thoughts, my attitude turned around.

  3. This is SO me…and I don’t like it! My youngest daughter is the same way and we have the hardest time communicating. Right now, we aren’t, and that breaks my heart because my husband (her stepdad) only has a short time to live. I don’t want her to wait until he passes before she reconciles with me. I’ve apologized, told her I love her and will always be there for her, and done everything I can to reconcile but it’s been to no avail. She loves her stepdad and refuses to talk about his homegoing. Anyway, I think it was my perfectionism that brought us to where we are. I had to have everything perfect when my girls were growing up. Now I see how wrong that was. I’m breaking up with perfect but need God’s help in winning my daughter back.

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Glenda, before I replied I sat here and prayed for you. I feel your heartbreak in your words, and I’m standing with you praying for a softening of your daughter’s heart and for persistent love for you. My favorite name for God is “Redeemer”, and I know He is able to redeem this situation!

  4. Yes, I too create pictures of PERFECTION in my head. In every thought and action perfection is present. I truly want to break up with perfection!

  5. I can create the best of everything in my head, but then reality steps in and the world is imperfect The perfect words to speak when something goes wrong, the perfect meal or marriage. I look forward to your series.

  6. Every year leading up to Christmas, my mom would work and work to make everything the way she saw it in her head. And every year, she would be sick as a dog on Christmas day. The sad part is that I don’t remember our Christmases as being something out of Southern Living. My dad and I put out the decorations. No one was brilliant at wrapping presents. We almost never hosted guests specifically at Christmas. Maybe if she had seen it through our eyes (us kids) she might have not worried so much. It is a good reminder for me when I start to get too wrapped up in my own family’s “perfect” Christmas.

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Great insight, Tasha! I think the holidays are the worst for perfectionists!!

  7. Fabulous post this morning, Amy! I am SO happy I stumbled across your blog through Proverbs 31. I ordered your book “Breaking Up with Perfect” and it’s scheduled to be delivered tonight … I am beyond excited to dig in!

    Now, if you could take a peek into my head, you’d think I was related to Picasso because my thoughts and ideas about everything in life are nothing short of PERFECT and beautiful and brilliant and honestly, they are plumb exhausting and rarely ever come to fruition because I’m the type of person who if I can’t do it perfectly, I don’t want to do it all so I just pitty myself instead. Sigh. How come perfect in everyone else’s life seems so easy? I don’t even like the word perfect but I just can’t seem to get away from it! Sigh.

    It’s time to BREAK UP with Perfect, isn’t it? Let’s (((DO THIS))) xoxo

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      🙂 🙂 🙂 Yes!

  8. Ah, the perfect marriage. . .he says-she says; he does-she does – responding in love, harmony, tenderness and perfectly compatible give-and-take.
    Well. . .the reality is never the same as the fantasy and then I’m shown the truth of two imperfect people joined together and saved by the same grace of God. Phew. . .thank God for re-dos!

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Whew! Yes indeed. My poor hubby has probably suffered the most from the perfect pictures in my head. I’m thankful he’s been patient as I’m growing!

  9. I play out scenes of “perfection” in my mind all the time. Which usually ends in disappointment and hurt feelings on my part. I anticipate how someone is going to react to something and then when they don’t react the way I had pictured, it hurts. Looking forward to reading your series.

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      We sound like we’re cut from the same mold! I’m excited to share some of what I’ve been learning. Let’s be on this journey to break up with perfect together!

  10. Vickie Youmans says:

    My “Southern Living Magazine” perfection for the holidays. I drive myself nuts trying to make everything perfect from the bow on the box to the dinner table setting. Then I look up and the holiday is over and I have totally missed the moment:(

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Oh, yes. Sigh. Me too. There are some other authors and I who are working on an event at the end of Oct. to help us break up with perfect during the holidays. When the details are nailed down, I’ll share. 🙂

  11. Marie Lerchen says:

    The perfect home… everything ALWAYS in the right place @ home & at work… The perfect friendships/relationship… the perfect vacation…to name a few. B-)

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Mercy, yes. It makes me feel sorry for my family just thinking about all the perfection I’ve pictured in the same ways as you!