I've been a perfectionist for awhile. As a teenager I obsessed over how I looked. I wanted my hair, clothes, and body perfect. I wanted perfect grades. I wanted to be perfect at my jobs. I wanted to be perfect spiritually- do all the right things (pray, read my bible, go to church, volunteer in the community) I found my worth in these things.
I did pretty well for awhile. I was pretty good at controlling my environment and myself. I am a first born, type 'A' personality. I graduated with honors, had management positions at my jobs, participated in the music and youth ministries at my church. I volunteered at a local crisis pregnancy center.
Then I got married. And all the sudden someone knew me deep enough to know my facade of perfection was just that, a facade. I heard a great quote recently, "Marriage brings you not into conflict with your spouse but with your own sinful self."
This is so true. Suddenly I had to try to reconcile the reality that I was flawed and hurt my spouse with my belief that I thought I had it together.
It has taken a long time for me to admit that I am not actually perfect (ha!) and more importantly that I need God and others.
I finally am at a place in my life when I am starting to see that I really don't have it all together. I am giving grace to myself, allowing myself to be flawed. Because God does. He allows me to to come to Him weak, and broken and wants to shine through my insufficiencies.
At our church the Senior Pastor Bob often has referred to himself as a "recovering perfectionist." I remember thinking the first time I heard him say that, "That's good he's working on that. I'm so glad I don't struggle with that." *facepalm*
I realized this week that I am finding myself in the same category, a "recovering perfectionist."
Here are some of the ways I realized I am changing:
Laundry: I no longer feel the need to complete the laundry cycle. If a load sits in the washer overnight, so be it. I consider it a win if clothes are clean and in a laundry basket. I try to get them put away in a day or two. :)
Reading: I always felt like I had to rush through a book and move onto another so I could check them off my list. I always thought people who didn't finish books for awhile were lazy. Now I see the value in soaking good books up. I currently have 4 or 5 with bookmarks in them.
Personal Appearance: If I used to braid my hair I might take it out 6 or 7 times and redo it until it looked perfect. Now I do it once and don't worry if there is a bump or if it's a little lopsided. I feel comfortable going places sans make-up now. That used to be a big deal to me. The area of my appearance is still probably my biggest area of struggle, but I'm excited to see growth.
My Home : I used to obsess when people would come over and spend hours cleaning. An older and wiser woman told me at one point, "Don't worry about the house when you have company, "Just make sure that the food is good and the bathrooms are clean." Now I live more by that motto. I feel ok with our home looking like we live here.
This is progress to even be willing to show you this.
I used to feel like I had to get it spotless before bed. I still try to clean it up, but I'm working on giving myself permission to not get all the dishes done and put away or all the papers and mail sorted through so I can have some down time or spend time with my hubby.
My new motto is, "Good enough."
I feel more free in this season of life than any other. I'm finally learning what it means to find my value in the One who loves me unconditionally, not in my accomplishments.
This quote from Ann Voscamp really resonated with me today:
Perhaps there was something more powerful to experience than a perfect Mother: the wonder of a committed Mother who simply humbles herself.