Kat Mills considers the freedom to be found by living in the truth of our imperfections.

Picture Perfect

You just have to look around you to see that the world seems to desire this illusion of perfection. Take a look at the fashion magazines and TV adverts. The covers of magazines with their flawless models taunt you, reminding you of your own imperfections, damaging your feelings of self-esteem and falsely telling you that your worth and value is found in your image and this unachievable picture of perfection.

I say unachievable because the reality is that we live in a society where photos are digitally edited to reach what we class as perfection. There have been videos showing photos being doctored with bigger eyes, changed skin tones and all sort of other industry tricks to 'enhance' the model.

I always think the natural is far more beautiful. Yes there might be blemishes or imperfections: moles, spots, a scar - but they are unique to a person and help to make a person who they are. All this is erased and hidden when a false image is presented.

In this digital age we take it that step further - it's not just our physical image, but how we portray ourselves, or how others see us. We sometimes use social media to perpetuate false illusions of our life when the truth is we are falling apart inside. We feel we need the right material things to make others think we have the perfect enviable lives. Even looking up to celebrities brings its own dangers - the cost of fame, the fear of putting a foot wrong with the media and abuse of their own bodies to promote the 'right' look.

I am learning that it is important to be real and to be vulnerable. When people ask how we are, why are we obsessed in needing to put up a front that masks the true pain and difficulties we face? It is perfectly fine to be who you are, where you are and when you are. That won't always be glamorous and picture perfect but that is okay! We need to stop hiding behind this false illusion of perfection.

My reality at the moment is that I'm not 'fine'. I've just been bed bound for almost two weeks, had a four day hospital stay, had to postpone nearly all my 30th birthday celebrations and am now awaiting surgery. So while life is not picture perfect at the moment, what I can say is that I am incredibly grateful. I have a beautiful God-given peace in my heart and I feel like I have been given a precious gift to see things in a different perspective. Things have not gone to plan, but I have experienced so much kindness and love, and seen God in the small things. These are miracles to me.

I have been blown away again by the incredible way my husband, family and friends have rallied around me, looked after me, cooked for me, helped with my son, visited me and prayed for me. I'm thankful that this condition has been identified and I am now receiving the treatment I need. I've been struggling with my weight and my relationship to food over the last 10 years, yet due to this current problem, I'm going to see a dietitian and will get the help and support I need. I saw a surgeon who said he could have been tempted to say my pain was due to another smaller issue, but had a gut instinct that something more serious was going on. From that hunch I got the scan I needed and the medicine to beat an infection and prevent serious complications. I am so grateful for the NHS, no matter how much we might moan about waiting times or cuts, I was looked after and cared for so well.

There was a beautiful sense of camaraderie in the ward. We were all there looking pretty dreadful, in our pyjamas, and hooked up to drips yet we bonded and supported one another. I am grateful that God was with me in each step of this.

My experiences made me appreciative of life. None of us know how long we have, so I am thankful for the time I'm given. I am grateful that I have a God who loves me so much that He sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to live, die and rise again to save us. I am grateful for the peace and joy He fills my heart with, even in times that are difficult, painful and challenging. He strengthens me and gives me hope for the future. I don't have to live in trepidation or fear of tomorrow because I am walking in faith and trusting in God. I have learnt to not strive for perfection - a false image of beauty, but to live every day seeking simply to honour God, and try to live with grace, humility, love and integrity. I realise I will get it wrong, but I can start again - learning and growing from my errors. Being imperfect keeps me reliant on a perfect God. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.