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.
Cheering us imperfect people on today! Share your thoughts below.
Linking this post with Holly, Kelly, and Lori.
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“He’s called me to be me.” So simple and yet, Oh how I get this wrong so often while trying to be perfect and comparing myself to others. Your post today has encouraged me and reminded me that it doesn’t have to be perfect and it’s still worth doing!
I’m with you, Valerie. I think I need to write that on my mirror to start the day with this perspective and truth. I appreciate you stopping over and sharing your thoughts in words. It’s a gift to encourage one another as we journey through this life! Blessings.
Have you read Chesterton’s words on this? (They make me smile!)
“Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.”
I know he wasn’t advocating for sloppiness, but rather for ACTION! If I waited around until my house was perfect before I practiced hospitality, we’d be a lonely family! If I waited until my words were stellar, my blog would have cyber-moths flying around in it.
I have to preach this to myself all the time, though, because, like you, my heart longs for the self-justification and self-salvation of perfect performance.
Thanks for your openness here.
Michele, I’ve never read them, but those words make sense. I’m going to keep those close in my mind. I’ll need them soon, I’m sure! Thanks for sharing them here, friend!
Right there with you, Julie! I’ve spent most of my 57 years trying to be “that little girl, who if she’d been better her daddy wouldn’t have left.” And of course, I know that’s not the case but the cycle of trying to be perfect, failing, so trying harder is difficult to break. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. You inspire me with your words!
Oh, Cindy. Even thought our experiences were a little different, I completely understand your battle. I’m thankful God covers us in all our attempts to be perfect. We can rest in Him, knowing it’s okay we’re not. Bless you. Praying for you tonight.
Oh yay! I’m cheering on the imperfects, too. (That’d be cheering on myself, too!) Julie, we’re similar. I’ve fought that stinkin’ perfectionism. It’s an ugly fight, but oh when the Holy Spirit ko’s with wisdom. Things change. Here’s my favorite statement of yours: “God reminded me He hasn’t called me to be perfect. He’s called me to be me.” Amen. Visiting via #testimonyTuesday
Hi friend! Thanks for stopping over and for sharing your thoughts… and your struggle with this perfection thing. I’m thankful we can walk this road of recovery together. Let’s be ourselves, imperfectly. Much love, sister.
This is so good, Julie! I tend to be a perfectionist too, and when you hold yourself up to those standards, yes, you do feel like a failure! I wrote about something similar this week. How God treasures us even when we’re far less than perfect.
Betsy, I didn’t know that you and I had this in common. It sounds like you completely understand where I’m coming from. I’m thankful God does still treasure us when we’re less than perfect. Always a joy to have you here, friend. Bless you!
None of us are perfect. we all need this reminder
Amen, my friend. Amen!
Yes! I was drawn here by your title and I wholeheartedly agree with your words. I’ve waged my own battle with perfectionism and allowed many of these same thoughts and fears to derail me. And, my son, also being an only child like me, battles with that first-born syndrome of having to have things just so or the world as we know it is over! 😉 God has taught me so much about myself as I’ve taught my son that it’s okay to not be perfect – in fact, it’s good. Love your encouragement here to embrace who we are and do things with our own unique style!
Tiffany, what a beautiful example you are to your son. You know, sometimes we struggle with a particular thing, and when someone we know struggles with the same, God uses us to be an encouragement. And I find we end up being the one encouraged. So thankful we can spur one another on in leaving perfection behind. You’re a blessing friend, and I appreciate you being here.
I am in LOVE with this post. I always think of the effects of my perfectionism on me but never on my children or my family. How quickly I forget that God only asks me “to be me” as you said. BEAUTIFUL!!
As a recovering perfectionist, it’s so good for me to remember that God has made us perfect in Christ. God sees us as perfected through His son and that’s what really matters. Other people’s ideas of perfection (and our own poor standard of perfection) pale in comparison to what Christ has done. Thanks for the encouragement!
I’m “Amening” your words, friend. Some days we just need a reminder of what perfection really is… in Jesus. Thanks for stopping over and for sharing. Blessings to you!
That perfection bug can shut us down and stop us from fulfilling our purpose, can’t it! I could so identify with this, Julie! I’m a recovering perfectionist! And that being me? If only I could have grasped that as a young girl … There is freedom in being just who God calls us uniquely to be. Love this, Julie! Thanks so much for being a hope-sharing sister in Christ!
Hi Lori! I’m thankful God can reclaim us and teach us perfectionists there’s a better way to live and love. I’m still a work in progress, and thankful He’s hasn’t given up on me. Thank you for continuing to host us each week! Blessings, my friend!