Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Inching towards perfection

I've spent most of my adult life rejecting perfectionism. I've walked around with the attitude that because nobody is perfect, why should I even try? I know this sounds horrible, like I've been holed up in a cave somewhere accomplishing bare minimum to get by, but I assure you this is not the case.

What I have been doing is trying to accomplish said goal and then calling it quits halfway through. Take, for example, my bedroom. I got all gung-ho last week, hung curtains, rearranged furniture, dusted everything I could get my hands on, heck, I even washed the bed sheets! And then mediocrity set in. I'd exhausted myself. Now, today, a week later sits a little pile of laundry and odds and ends that I just didn't get to. I walk around them every morning and night. The room is 90% clean and beautiful. But the other 10%? Ehhhh.... not so much.

So what is it with that last 10% that makes it so hard to complete? I can type up a million excuses of the other stuff that busied my schedule over the last week but I ask the question seriously and almost as if I were talking to a therapist. Why is it so easy to start a project, become disengaged and throw in the towel prematurely and be okay with it? 

The fear of perfectionism. It didn't dawn on me until a couple of weeks ago when I was reading an absolutely amazing, highly recommended book by Kim Brenneman called Large Family Logistics. In Kim's book she mentioned that, in an attempt to be more Christ-like we should strive for perfection in our lives. This thought blew me away. All my life I've been fighting the urge to try to be perfect, as if it were some kind of evil virtue.

Us moms, we want to be perfect. We want to provide the perfect homes for our children, send them to the perfect schools and cook them the perfect, well-balanced meals. But the reality being that no one is perfect often discourages us to even attempt to be perfect and instead encourages mediocrity.

The truth is, striving to be perfect is God-honoring. Because sin exists on this earth, we will never achieve sheer perfection-- Jesus is, after all, the only truly perfect man that ever lived-- however this does not mean that we stop trying!

When we teach our children to ride their bikes without training wheels, the task must seem insurmountable to them. Often times they whimper and whine, "I can't!" or "I'll never be able to do this!" As loving parents, we offer encouragement and urge them to keep trying. We don't give up on our children as they face the seemingly impossible and neither does our Heavenly Father.

"To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness."

1 comment:

  1. I totally identify with you on this! I am horrible about starting a project, only to quit when I am almost done. I have been this way my entire life and I am terrified that my daughter will inherit this from me so I am trying so hard to change. Thanks for the great post - I will have to check out the book you mentioned.