To begin brainstorming on this topic I read my previous post where I was recording the awesome thing the Lord had done in my life that weekend.. I wish every time I came to share my heart it was only bragging about God, but unfortunately I have not yet been made complete, I am in the process of being redeemed.
I saw posts by friends on their blogs tonight and then realized that I was doing exactly what I was the most afraid of, beginning a blog but not committing. This fear strikes very deeply with me. Just a few days ago my dad got me an Eno (hammock) for Christmas and while every normal person would be excited, I was scared. I was scared that he had invested in me and I wouldn’t follow through in using it as much as it should be. These fears are rooted in a much deeper issue. This issue is called perfection.
Perfection. What an idea… we hear the word perfection used to describe an Olympic athlete or said to a hostess to describe a wonderful meal, but perfection for those who deal with it is putting a name to the one downfall that you know you are guilty of and can do nothing about. This issue, whether identified or not, controls every part of a perfectionist’s life. Just as I shared before, I find myself so unable to begin new adventures because I know that their journey requires times of failure, and even more risky new adventures could have conclusions which are sub-par, neither of which are ok.
So I find myself here, stuck, confused, but ready to fight this foothold. So I ask: when did this begin? where did it come from? how do I fight it?
I am trying to remember some of the first examples I remember this defining trait shine through in my life. I remember always loving attempting to be crafty until about 3rd or 4th grade. In art class in third grade, we had to make mosaics. I drew a butterfly and cut it up into all kinds of pieces and then had a board to glue all of the pieces to. Well after a few classes my glued pieces of a butterfly, began to look like a clumpy upside down, inside out, rainbow colored cloud. To add to it all, not only was my creation so terrible, but the horse a girl across from me was making was being taken to be displayed because it was so good. I hated my flawed project so much that I cried until my teacher let me just quit. As I’m writing, more instances are flowing to my mind.. like trying to sew but finally boxing it up and giving up because of a failed attempt to make a patchwork blanket.. and these minuscule memories are just evidence to what down the road has become a huge issue.. to in high school having panic attacks because I wasn’t perfect at bat for my softball team.. or nights up studying way too late in high school because my grade in U.S. History could never be good enough.. all the way to the point of leaving every social setting thinking over every interaction and wondering if I met that person’s expectations..
So what is the root of all of this? Well I can tell you one thing, it is not hereditary, and everyone who reads this knowing my mom just had a little laugh. No this issue is not that normal, in fact it is not from a human source at all. This issue that is so deeply rooted is straight from my enemy. How wise, cunning, and crafty he is.. for he knows that my downfall could absolutely lie in always wanting to meet all the expectations of those around me. But the Voice of Truth tells me a different story. For in a world full of different people with polar ideals it is absolutely impossible to please everyone at once. Thus, we find the most important characteristic of perfectionism: its IMPOSSIBILITY. But why am I so stuck working to achieve this goal? The father of lies has set me in this trap and true to his nature has given me no way out.
This difficult situation reminds me of one of my favorite girls in one of my favorite books. She called herself Esther. Esther was stuck in a very difficult situation. You see, she was a Jewish girl, living in a nation which was taken over. Despite this, the King saw favor in Esther and took her to be one of his wives. Behind the king’s back one of his men plotted to get rid of all the Jews. Esther’s cousin snuck to tell her this news. Though a queen, she was not allowed to go before the king without being called. Her whole people’s lives were on the line, but to fight for them her life would also be in danger. Esther was in a difficult situation. She was stuck in what seemed impossible, but she trusted the Lord and FOUGHT for deliverance. She went before the king and asked for the lives of her people to be spared.
Difficult spots can be navigated out of, but unfortunately it takes a little more than a GPS and a tank full of gas, it takes a fight. This struggle with my striving for perfection is not a losing battle. It is a fight that will be fought and can be won! The father of lies will be overcome by the Voice of Truth. For I am nothing. I am empty. My righteousness is filthy rags. But He is my Author and Perfector. He is making me new.
I am absolutely not nothing more than a tired perfectionist. I am a daughter of Christ.
“Our identity comes from knowing who we are as children of God, and our sense of worth grows out of our commitment to become like Him.” -Neil T. Anderson
My head is telling me there’s more to this and to keep thinking to find a clear solution, but my heart is telling me to dwell in the battle.