Perfectionism is defined as a “refusal to accept any standard short of perfection”
Refusal to accept ANY standard short of perfection.
I have to say that if you were to look that definition up in the Websters Dictionary I would not be shocked if you saw my picture next to it.
I AM A PERFECTIONIST.
Anyone who has known me for an length of time would tell you that. Even now as I sit here trying to write this post I have started, deleted, and restarted it at least 5 times because it just isn’t coming out the way I think it should sound.
Perfectionism is something I have fought all my life. When I look at that definition I realize that the standard for perfection that has been set is one that I have made up on my own.
I have decided what is good enough and what just won’t cut it. I have allowed my perceptions of the world and how I believe people perceive me to dictate the standards that I have to live up to rather than focusing on God’s standards. I do this in my home, with my husband and my children, and most especially in my scholastic endeavors.
Every semester I begin with bright eyes and high hopes. I buy my notebooks and pens, folders and binders and I am ready to go. The minute my syllabus and book list is available I am printing it off and memorizing assignments and due dates.
And then it hits me. That nagging feeling that I will never make it through this semester alive. I immediately start to second guess myself wondering if I can really manage to accomplish all the things that will be required of me.
As the semester goes on and assignments come do I sit in front of my computer and I stare at an empty screen more often than not with tears streaming down my face that I just can’t write this paper or complete this assignment. The words aren’t coming out perfectly and I just know I will fail the paper because it sounds more like a 2nd grader wrote it than a 30 year old graduate student.
I turn in the assignments and I hold my breath for weeks as I await grades. Then finally low and behold not only do I pass the assignment, I do exceedingly well.
The truth is there is no such thing as perfectionism. Perfectionism is an ideal designed by Satan to distract us for our real focus. In Galatians 1;10 Paul asks
You see, the more we strive to win the favor of people the hard it will be to achieve. There is absolutely NO way we can please people. No matter what we do someone somewhere is not going to agree with what you have said or done. Someone somewhere is going to be better, faster, stronger, and more capable than you.
However, Paul also reminds us in 2 Corinthians 13:11 that
When we turn our focus off of ourselves and what is going on in the world and on to Christ our weaknesses, our imperfections, are made into our strengths. The more I have focused on relying on the Lord throughout the semester the less I have stressed about my assignments.
As I wind down this semester and I begin to look toward the next round of classes starting in August I find myself being drawn back, yet again, to more of Paul’s words
As long as I continue to do everything with the mind set that I am striving to please God and God alone whatever product I put out will be ‘good enough”. Not only will it be good enough it will be fit for a king.
Today, I am letting go of perfectionism and grasping on to perfection in Christ Jesus.