Perfection.

Even as I type I find myself wanting this post to be “perfect”. The perfect title (note it doesn’t follow the other symptom of self posts). The perfect opening line. The perfect segue. The perfect examples.

If you knew me well you may know that I like to do things with excellence. I strive to do more and do it better than last time.  Even when I wrote papers in graduate school I couldn’t just write a good paper, I had to choose the perfect fonts for the title and the content.  I work hard to be the perfect parent, constantly analyzing how I’m doing, reading a new parenting book, criticizing my last approach, asking others for advice.  Even being in my home is hard sometimes because it is not organized, it is usually in disarray, and filled with clutter…far from “perfect”.   

“People who strive for everything to be perfect often do so for recognition.  They may do it so they can feel good about themselves.  Whatever the reason, this behavior is very self-serving and proud. The basic problem is making things that are less important, more important.” Stuart Scott in From Pride to Humility

Majoring on the minors. My energy, my time, my resources are spent on being perfect and doing things perfectly. EVEN spending time, energy, resources on bemoaning the fact that I NOT perfect.    At that point, what time, energy, resources do I have left to glorify God?

My grip is so tight on achieving perfect that my hand is not open to receiving joy.

My perfectionism (a branch of my pride) stems from my service to self. The only way to be free from the burden of perfectionism is humility through “displacement of self by the enthronement of God. Where God is all, self is nothing.” (Andrew Murray).

Being a mom of 3 children made me aware of my pride and need to humble myself (a daily struggle). It forced me to begin to let go of perfect. begin to unfurl my clenching fingers.  Today we went to church and my boys’ hair was far from combed (quite wild due to wet hair before bedtime and a need for haircuts), their shorts were very wrinkled, and they didn’t wear church shoes, just Crocs. But we were at church. together. they had clothes and shoes on. Focusing on what really matters. If I thought that we could only go to church if my boys’ hair was combed, clothes ironed, wearing “church” shoes, most weeks we wouldn’t make it. letting go of perfect.

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

Can you relate? What elements of your day are you expending energy trying to achieve perfection? What are claiming to be important? What can you begin to let go and let God?

photo credit: iampeas