Monday, October 17, 2016

Abandoning Perfection

Over the last few decades, there has been an interest in the phenomenon of perfectionism and overachievement. There are numerous articles about Type A and Type B personality types and authors who write about the constant pressure to be perfect (perfect family, perfect home, perfect Instagram pics).

I'm definitely an overachiever (and type A personality), which over the years, has been both a blessing and a curse. I tend to get things done effectively and quickly and I'm always rushing on to the next event or project. My husband jokes that I'm "the queen of the side hustle" and I'm always doing multiple things at once.

I accomplish a lot, but it's also exhausting.

Interestingly, I've been asked to present at a conference for teenagers. One of the topics they have asked for is how to balance school and life. Many of them are "overachievers." They are in extracurricular activities, on student councils and honor rolls, and I'm sure many of them are "perfectionists." Just like me.

And even though I joke about being an overachiever, as I'm putting together a presentation for teenagers who aren't sleeping enough and are living on caffeine because they have so much to do (just like me!), it has become a powerful reminder that the drive for perfection and achievement can be incredibly destructive.

For teenagers and adults.

Lately, I've found myself dragging, even though I've been doing a lot. I know it's because I've been defining my self-worth by accomplishments, which ultimately pulls my focus away from who I am in Him.  

As I've been reflecting on the destructive element of perfectionism this week, I stumbled across this incredible article from Love, Not Lies called:


It is a heartbreaking and honest story from a woman whose search for perfection led her to a dark place. She shares her heartbreaking story, but at the end, she talks about the hope we find in Jesus, and the truths that allow us to rest in Him.

One of my favorite lines is:
"When you know your worth through the eyes of the One who loves you completely, no one in the natural or the spiritual can make you feel unworthy."

She ends her article with some difficult, but thought-provoking questions about finding your worth in Him and a powerful prayer for us perfectionists.

It was such a powerful reminder to me, and I hope for you. My self-worth must be based in Him. Not my own abilities, not my financial stability, not my accomplishments.

I've been comforted by Ephesians 2:10 recently, and especially love the New Living Translation (NLT) version:

abandoning perfection as God's masterpiece

When I am struggling with not feeling "perfect," I need to remember that I am God's masterpiece. Not God's so-so piece of work that He wishes was better. I am not a macaroni necklace from a first grader. I am a Monet. I am a Starry, Starry Night.

What a relief to know that He has an intricate and beautiful plan for my life, and that no amount of accomplishments (or lack thereof) will give me the peace that He can give me. The knowledge that He views me a beautiful and complete woman regardless of what I've accomplished suddenly takes the heavy weight of perfection off of my shoulders and shifts my focus in life.

So, what about you all? Is perfection something you've struggled with? Has it become destructive in your life? What verses do you use to find peace and value in Him? Did you find Love, Not Lies' article helpful?

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