I clearly remember, even as a baby, being drawn to beauty, order, cleanliness and symmetry.
Because neither of my parents struggled in this area, it only added to my unique ‘black sheep’ patina. I was their ‘strange kid’; the one who refused to take my beloved Barbie out of her box. In Jr. high, I was careful not to ‘crack’ the bindings of new books. When I was a teen, my quibbling morphed into peculiar diets speckled with grapefruit, Apple Cider Vinegar and horrible atrocities called Rice Cakes. Despite my family’s annoyance, I had this uncanny ability to scan a room, inventing ‘better ways’ of arranging furniture, switching out accessories or suggesting a move altogether. Of course, all these ‘helpful hints’ were deeply unappreciated.
Anyone who knows me, knows my battle with perfectionism and what I’ve learned peering through this gilded cage for over forty years is this: Giving myself grace feels impossible. It feels lazy. It feels like I’m settling. It feels a lot like…giving up.
As a Believer, I must remind myself daily God chose me not because I was ‘The Best’ but because His love and mercy won’t allow Him NOT to choose me. This has much more to do with Him that it does me. What a thought! The maker of the universe, The One wielding infinite power to snuff out every undesirable, actually chooses the imperfect…over and over again.
During my journal time with God, He gave me a vision of two toys; one was a brightly colored, impeccable plastic toy produced in China. It sat nestled against an aged, hand-crafted wooden artifact, worn with time and play. The second piece was made with a heady combination of fine craftsmanship, love and intention. Seeing the contrast between these toys warmed my heart; I got the message…my imperfection was God’s delight.
Deep down, we all know perfectionism leaves a very cold, impersonal impression. This isn’t how the Master Artist created any of us and when we find ourselves engaging life in this one-dimensional way, it inhibits our connection with others. It makes their love (and ours) feel as if it must be earned or measured. When I find myself falling back into the trap of perfectionism, I stop, take a breath and whisper this simple prayer:
“God, help me see things from your perspective. I choose to enjoy the life you’ve given. This does not mean I am giving up. It only reflects that I am giving you control. Let’s co-create together.”
I’d like to share some journal prompts that delve into God’s possibilities:
Journal to yourself by asking:
- What do I want my Legacy to be?
- What are my core values (things that are vital to me)?
- What do I need to do NOW to live out those values (these can be big or small things)?
Journal to God by asking Him:
- Give me three empowering words for my legacy.
- Tell me something I’m doing that pleases you.
- Tell me something you are doing that I haven’t noticed.
*In your journal, pen a thank you note to God, praising Him for blessing you even when you seem to miss it!
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18
“For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Hebrews 10:14
“Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1