Seeking Perfection (Run, run, run!)

I found myself growing increasingly irritated as I tried to complete a project for work last week.

“Why,” I muttered under my breath, “is this so incredibly difficult? A five-year-old could do it! What is wrong with me?!” You see, I am perfectionist through-and-through — and that, my friends, is a problem.

This is the busiest I have been in my entire life… and that’s saying a lot. Work, guitar lessons, house-sitting, photography, music, weddings, Sertoma, Jesus, family, friends, food, diabetes, Greek, and trying to sleep… I have always been a busy girl, but this is more than busy. This is non-stop, go-till-you-drop havoc.

Suffice it to say, I am exhausted.

Luckily, I visited my cousin Jessica this weekend. The perks? A, Jessica, period. B, visiting Jess never feels stressful. We eat yummy food, watch movies, go to vineyards, and sleep. J’adore. And C? The drive. I love to drive. It is my safe place: just me, the radio, the road, and a head full of thoughts.

(My view as I drove today — and no, I was not driving when I took this. Stupid question.)

So back to perfectionism. That dreadful disease is in my blood. I have no problem overlooking imperfections in others — humans are imperfect, after all — but when it comes to myself, I am my own worst critic. Imperfection is not okay… which led to today’s drive.

Today was not a “fearfully and wonderfully made” day for me, although that might be what you’d expect — and let me be very, very clear: there is nothing wrong with those days, and I have to remind myself of that often (see Broken: Journeying Through Depression for more on that) — nor was it a Mary-Martha day (The Business of Busy-ness (or How to be a Mary)). Today was different.

As I drove, these two verses kept running through my head.

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 2:23-24 (ESV)

Let’s be honest here. The pursuit of perfection can be just as much of a sin as anything else — if you let yourself idolize perfection, you’re sunk. Perfection doesn’t exist (at least not here on earth), and it’s not going to happen. It’s not going to happen.

But at the same time… we should still strive to be our best. Glorifying God through our actions is more of a testimony than our words ever can be (You know what I mean: “Actions speak louder than words.”). We should seek excellence so we glorify him inย all things, not just some things. This isn’t a journey for the faint of heart — it’s a roller coaster ride, and once you strap in, you’re in for the long haul. It takes work.

(NOTE: We are saved by faith, not works — so don’t get any silly ideas, Mister!)

But if we approach life as though we don’t need to do our best, what are we saying about Christ? What image does that put out?

In my life, once the muttering begins, it’s time to take a step back and regroup — and it all comes back into perspective. I’m overwhelmingly blessed, so why would I waste time on a fruitless pursuit? I never got that perfect finish on my project… but I did the best I could, and that just has to be enough.

I will do my best at all things — but I will not let myself get up in the pettiness of perfection.

On a side note: I made an awesome tortilla pie today. Mexican lasagna. So delicious. First person to comment that they’d like some pie gets a night of pie, wine, and Megan — and I’ll even throw in a (properly made) chocolate-orange mousse! Any takers?

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5 thoughts on “Seeking Perfection (Run, run, run!)

  1. Girl, you know I’d love me some pie. But more importantly, I’d love to be able to spend time with you, catching up on the craziness that is life. We haven’t done that in awhile, and I think that it is well overdue! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I’d love to give you some advice about running, running and perfectionism, but I’m woefully stuck in the same place. And also not feeling particularly led to share much of anything these days.

  3. Hey friend, I’m trying to “commit” to the blogging scene, both as a reader and a writer. I think that you and Leah have inspired me to do the “blogging thing.” It’s funny that I read this today because I’ve been praying through some of these issues in my own heart, and hopefully once my blog is up and running I’ll write a post about the same issue ๐Ÿ™‚ I was thinking this morning (yes, literally this morning. coincidence, I think not) about the irony of my frustration with myself over my perfectionism: I want to eliminate this imperfection of perfectionism. While that is a good thing to desire, the means by which I will see this pattern transformed in my life probably (in fact, it definitely) won’t be through self-efforts and further self-scrutiny and condemnation. I was thinking today about how I need to go through a grieving process over this sin in my life, considering how it has separated me from receiving and giving love to both God and people. It’s so subtly diffused throughout my thinking habits, ways of responding to stressful situations, expectations placed on myself and others, etc. that it becomes a difficult thing for me to repent of. It is like a vapor that permeates so much of my acting and thinking that I can’t isolate it. But I think I’m seeing that the Spirit can and will come alongside of me and help me repent and, in turn, focus less on perfecting myself and more on loving and being loved. Anyway, thanks for giving me a forum for expressing these thoughts. I’m glad to call you a friend and a fellow struggler. Sometimes we just need to know that we’re not alone ๐Ÿ™‚

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