Thursday, July 17, 2014

Confessions of a Perfectionist


I have to admit it, I'm a perfectionist.

I struggle with the idea of failure, which I know isn't an uncommon problem. It's a big problem though when everything, that's even slightly less than 100% perfection is only too likely to be deemed a complete and utter failure. Even it's only a percent or two off from perfection.
I am the girl who rips apart an entire quilt because one block is off.

I worry about following instructions to the letter and I lose sleep if even the slightest thing is off.

While some people might be happy with a B+ or even a B, getting a grade like that is nothing short of catastrophic to my study wearied mind.

When I'm with other people, I feel that I must constantly live up to their standards for me. To fill whatever role or capacity I have to perfectly.

The long and short of it is that I can't bear the idea of being anything less than perfect. Or I couldn't that is, until an idea hit home.

I'm NOT Perfect.

I'm a broken person in a broken world. And it doesn't matter who I am or what I do I can't change that.

As a Christian, I'd always been taught that God is excellent and therefore we have to strive for excellence as well. In my mind, we had to strive for that level of excellence, that perfection, and anything less is a let down, a dismal failure.

After years of frustration and hurt because of not being able to meet the man-made standards of excellence that I adopted, I suddenly realized the truth. God doesn't expect perfection of me, because it isn't possible.  God is the only one who can be perfect, who can't make mistakes, who will never have short comings.

As a human, I can't be the perfect daughter, the perfect student, the perfect teacher, the perfect friend. There is no way that I can ever dream of meeting all of the expectations that the others set. It's not possible because I'm a sinner living in a fallen world without any hope of being able to fix or make myself better.

However, I'm redeemed by a loving God, who knows that I'm weak and frail. True, He knows I'll never be perfect this side of heaven, but He's given me a new life. A life that allows me to be a better person than I could ever be on my own.

Of course, because I've been bought with a price, I'm not my own and I can't throw my life and my actions haphazardly to the wind. I have to live life not with the intention to fail, but with the realization that when (yes, when not if) I do, God's grace and forgiveness are sufficient for me.

In trying to make myself perfect, I was really missing the bigger picture. God knows that I'm not perfect. He knows I'm weak and He gives me the strength to get through the day.  He allows me to make mistakes, not so that I can spend the rest of my life kicking myself for making them, but to look at them as an opportunity to grow, to learn and to draw closer to Him.

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