Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Paralyzed with the desire for perfection, revisisted

(Taken from an old post from last November)

God has graciously been revealing to me a character issue that needs changing. For as long as I can remember, I have been a perfectionist. This word is used so frequently that I'm not even sure if I am using it appropriately. But in this case, I am referring to my need to do things at my own high standards or not at all. Here are some examples of how this problem has negatively affected my daily life recently:
~Only fifteen minutes for a quiet time? I can only have a "good" quiet time with at least a half hour. Result: No quiet time at all!
~I would like to use my interests and talents to generate a little extra income. But with only an hour at night to invest, what's the point? Who would want anything that I don't have more time to invest in? Result: No finished products or extra income!
This wanting all or nothing seems to be a pattern in my life. I was talking to my husband about all of this and we laughed as we realized I have never played a sport due to my perfectionism. For as long as I can remember, I have danced. The funny thing about performing is that you practice dozens and dozens of hours before you perform in front of an audience. In a sense, you "perfect" your art before you expose yourself. (There's a little window into my prideful heart!)
My husband wisely asked me, "So what do you think God is trying to teach you right now?" I know that He is NOT chastising me for my eye for details or for my desire to do things well. Both are glorifying to Him if I seek to honor Him (and not myself) in my tasks. And that is a big IF!

I found a Teddy Roosevelt quote that hit me square in the eyes. It said, "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." It suddenly hit me, I have been paralyzed with the desire for perfection! I can think of so many wonderful opportunities that the Lord has offered me that I have not taken. Just recently I have felt an urging to start a performing arts team at our church. But I have not moved forward because of doubting that my skills will be adequate. I was asked to emcee the women's retreat at our church, but I don't think my speaking voice is the best and could I be warm, funny, encouraging ENOUGH? My standards have become unproductive for His kingdom!
With this realization, all I know to do is run to the One who promises to love me like I am (and not leave me this way!). I need to keep my eyes fixed on the only One who is perfect. The only One who lived in this world full of money, lust, pride and deceitfulness and was perfectly unwavering and holy. I need to put one foot in front of the other and MOVE. Otherwise, I will be completely unfruitful in many areas, including my deepest desire to glorify Jesus. I am reminded that I serve a God that is BIG and GENEROUS and ABOUNDING in LOVE, and as I offer up what might seem so little and feeble, if I do so with a heart of worship, he will turn the little into much for His glory.

If nothing else, in the doing...He will change me. And maybe in doing so, He will take my eyes away from the goal of a perfect ME and set them on the Perfect ONE that never leaves me wanting.

"The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands." Psalm 138:8


Bloom Where You Are Planted said...

Wow! Thank you for being so vulnerable. That's tough stuff you're wrestling with.

You're on the right path as you are aware of it, but that certainly does not make it easier to handle.

Day by day, moment by moment. That's all He asks of you.

I can only imagine that you are an amazing speaker with your poise and positivity radiating from you. You are so lovable and easy to relate to as well.

Remember to offer yourself grace too as you learn to be more like Him, day by day.

We're all diamonds that sometimes look and act way more like coal depending on the day and situation we're put through.

You are so beautiful and do offer so much to everyone that knows you.

sally apokedak said...

Oops. I left my comment for this post in the wrong place. Sorry.