Monday, April 22, 2013

Perfectly Imperfect: When You're Dissatisfied With Mediocre (hope for the perfectionist part 2)

Continued from this previous post

I wonder how I’ll breathe.

I don’t suppose a baby worries about how he will breathe when he leaves his mother’s womb and meets oxygen for the first time.

And if I counter my perfectionism with surrender, what might that look like? I’m pretty sure I won’t asphyxiate.

I think that beneath all of those high standards is fear.

I am afraid.
Who do you depend on?

I hide behind my own self-sufficiency.

Because God is one of many things I depend on, instead of being the One in whom I depend.

As I figure out how to do this in my own life, I’ve been encouraged by some recent sermons preached about Romans 3 by my pastor, Tony Taylor. In them, he asked some very heavy questions.

What do you do to justify your existence?

Do you want to serve God or do you want God to serve you?

Where do you run for comfort? Long for passionately? Feed or fear?

According to Pastor Tony, our disappointments reveal our true idols. Hmmm…

And it’s here, in the midst of conviction, where things can get ugly for me. Because perfectionists are condemning. What happens when we aren’t getting it right? Where do we go with that?

Giving myself permission to be human does not mean I stop growing or trying. It doesn’t mean sin or disappointments or mistakes don’t matter. But there’s something very freeing when I accept that I’m in a life-long process and I don't have to have it all figured out right now.
“All you need is need! Too humbled to be self-centered and too affirmed by God to need to be.” Tony Taylor
There is more to this complex story — of how perfectionism is tied to impossible expectations and how these expectations coupled with an unhealthy dependence on others or self can leave you feeling consistently disappointed and dissatisfied. Chapters about control issues and distrust, hope and redemption.

But for now, thanks for visiting me in this valley and walking with me as I figure out how to accept myself and others —as perfectly imperfect.

What does utter dependence on God look like in your life?

How have you found freedom from perfectionism or high expectations of yourself or others?

Might setting healthy boundaries temper unmet expectations, disappointments, and dissatisfaction?

Linking today with the Soli Deo Gloria Party at Finding Heaven.

Recent related posts from A Heartening Life:
The Measure of Success — read it here
When a Snake Blocks Your Path (letting go of control) — read it here


Simply Beth said...

Stopping on by from SGD Party. I love what you have shared. This really hit me, "But there's something very freeing when I accept that I'm in a life-long process and I don't have to have it all figured out right now."
It is VERY freeing!
Walking with you in your journey as learning to accept myself has been a continual process for me as well. Blessings to you.

Courtney said...

Hi Christy - Glad to see "part 2" here and yes, walking with you. The part that resonated with me is knowing that so much of perfectionism is based in fear. Fear that you won't get it all right all the time, and (for me) what would others think about that? It was really freeing for me to realize that God sees behind my fear and knows me and loves me. And then it was freeing for me to think - what's the worst that could happen? Someone thinks I'm not perfect? I make a mistake in how I handle a certain responsibility? It will be okay - because it's not all up to me anyway. God is in control. That's not permission for a hands-off/who-cares attitude. It's just an admission that, ultimately, there is nothing to fear.

Unknown said...

Thank you, Beth and Courtney, for your honesty! It's always encouraging to know you aren't the only one who has struggled with this. God is in control and He is faithfully walking me through this.

Pamela said...

It's hard for me to find the balance between doing my best for God but not being chained to what "best" looks like to me. Sometimes I expect more out of myself than God expects from me--and most times it's a pride issue of what people think.

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