I was doomed from birth. I’m not sure I could have been expected to be anything other than a perfectionist. I came by it honestly. My mother readily admits it was her worst trait as well as her best trait. She came by it honestly too I suppose. While her mom died when I was two I’ve been told stories of how she mopped her floors twice a day. How disappointed she might be with me her oldest grandchild who is doing well just to vacuum once a week. You can see why I say my mother must have come by it honestly.
I look back at old photos of myself and see a creative and expressive child. One that didn’t worry about being perfect. Something happened though. Maybe it was the awkward preteen and teen years. Maybe it was the pressure I put on myself to be strong when my mother was so sick. Or maybe it was just how we all begin to grow up.
I had to be perfect. I had to do everything perfectly. If I didn’t I wasn’t good enough. If I didn’t I wouldn’t have the approval of others. If I wasn’t perfect I wasn’t worthy.
I was trying to be perfect for others. Not for myself or even for God.
Eventually the perfectionism began suffocating me. It seeped into everything. Not only effecting my own stress levels I caught myself projecting it onto others. No one could measure up to my expectations.
It was time to give up on perfect.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. — 2 Corinthians 12:9
Giving up on perfect brings relief. Perfection paralyzes creativity. As I’ve given up on perfect I’m finding my creativity again. I’ve discovered that I am worthy. I can accept His grace. I don’t have to earn it. And most of all I don’t need to measure up to the expectations of others.
For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. Hebrews 10:14