Reflections on life, marriage, and a young woman who is constantly learning how much there will always be to learn!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Confessions of a Perfectionist

It’s time for True Confessions: I am an (almost) hopeless perfectionist. Now, this doesn’t mean that my house is always clean, my meals are always a gourmet success, and that my husband’s shirts are always ironed and hung neatly in the closet for when he needs them…I wish it did! No…the curse of perfectionism is that oftentimes I don’t even want to start anything until I know I will have the time and the resources to do it perfectly. I don’t want to start cleaning the kitchen until I think I will have the time not only to wash the dishes and wipe the counters, but also to clean out the refrigerator, wipe all the appliances, and sweep and mop the floor. I don’t want to pick up the bedroom until I also have time to organize the clothes and shoes in the closet. I’m getting better at my household management skills than I used to be, but only through a conscious effort to make myself do “what I can” and be OK with the fact that it won’t always be perfect. Organization is essential, but so is flexibility.

There’s an even darker side to perfectionism, and that’s in relation to God. It is so easy to become hopeless or apathetic about recurring sin, or when I “mess up” for what seems like the millionth time , because it seems that God could never be pleased with sorry little me. I struggle with this, even though I know that my sins are forgiven. For me it’s not a salvation issue so much as a relationship issue: Why keep trying to become more like Christ when it doesn’t seem to be working? Why keep approaching God in prayer, when all I have to lay before Him are failures?

Every day, my emotions tell me that my desire to be like Christ is futile. But just as I have a choice to “do what I can” when it comes to housework, I also have a choice to believe God or not. God has promised that I can come to Him with my problems because He cares for me and will never forsake me (1 Peter 5:7 and Hebrews 13:5). He says this, even though He knows I am flawed through and through. He doesn’t want me to run from His arms because I have sinned…He wants me to bring my pain to Him in confession. He wants me to come closer still, acknowledging that I am nothing without His grace and strength. If I do this, He has promised that I WILL be made more like Christ (1 Peter 2:4-5).

“The greater the perfection a soul aspires after, the more dependent he will be on Divine Grace.”


Blogger Rachel said...

May I highly recommend that you read a book called "Martha To The Max - Balanced Living For Perfectionists" by Debi Stack. I recently borrowed this book from the library in hopes to calm my over-stressed life. This book was absolutely wonderful! I never knew I was a perfectionist before, but after I read this book, I realized I have been struggling with this all my life. The author is very humorous and you will find yourself laughing along with her at our perfectionist tendancies. She gives some great tips including the "one thing" that is needful. If you are struggle with perfectionism (it sounds like you do from reading your blog), this book is well worth your time.

12:06 PM, October 19, 2006  

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