It went unnoticed for years.
I figured I was just wired this way. I didn’t realize not everyone had consuming thoughts of having to live a perfect life.
But for years being “perfect” was my driving force. Whether it was in sports, or school, or later in life in work and in motherhood, I had to be perfect. And when I fell short, in my mind I was a failure.
Often when I tried to be perfect, I felt like like a failure.
For far too long perfectionism held me in chains. If I wasn’t the best, I wasn’t anything.
perfectionism :: a personal standard, attitude, or philosophy that demands perfection and rejects anything less
The night my then teenage daughter stood in her bedroom with tears streaming down her face broke the chains I was in.
Through her tears and frustration she blurted, “Mom, I’m not perfect like you!”
Little did she know I felt like failure daily. She had no idea that my striving of perfection was silently eating away at me. Here, as I desired to be the perfect parent, I unintentionally displayed to my children a unattainable perfection. My eyes were opened, and from that moment on I allowed her to see my faults, my mess-ups, my mistakes. I opened up to her just how imperfect her mom was.
Perfectionism negatively affects those around us.
I thought I had killed that monster back then, but over the last few days I became aware it has wiggled its way back in a corner of my life. So much so, it has affected my writing. I’d sit down to work on my writing project or a blog post, and because it wasn’t “perfect,” I’d scrap it or stop and walk away. You should see all the blog posts that continue to sit in my “drafts” folder.
Silly, I know. My writing will never be perfect. I know that. But my writing is mine. It isn’t going to be like anyone else’s. My writing comes from the heart and the gifts God has given me. I am to share them with others. Even if what they produce isn’t perfect.
God reminded me He hasn’t called me to be perfect. He’s called me to be me.
He’s called me to write. To love. To live life for Him.
Friend, He’s hasn’t called you to be perfect either. He’s gifted you with talents and abilities only you possess. Sure, others may have similar gifts, but no one has exactly yours. When you use them, even if the results are imperfect, He and those around you are blessed.
So, if what we’re doing isn’t perfect, is it worth doing?
Absolutely. If you and I don’t use the gifts and talents we’ve been given, who will? If we stop doing what we’re called to do because it isn’t “perfect,” we lose, others lose, and God’s kingdom loses.
Two more thoughts… 1) Perfection is relative, isn’t it? Trying to fit into everyone else’s idea of perfection will nearly consume us to the point of ineffectiveness in every area of life. 2) We grow personally when we use our gifts and others are encouraged to use theirs.
Friend, continue to do what you’ve been called to do. Perfectionism has no place in the lives of those called to do great things.
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