The Problem with Perfection

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“Your sorrows today will help in somebody’s tomorrow.”

Charlotte Gambill spoke about this a couple weeks ago in church. Well, actually she mentioned it in passing and it was such a strong reminder of the fact that in the seasons of struggle, of growth, of challenge, that God will never allow anything to go to waste. In everything we experience it will either benefit us later on or help someone else.

I hope that my vulnerability will help someone else. So here goes…

I can be painfully shy. 

Okay, everyone who knows me should stop laughing now. I can be shy not because I am not a social person. I can be shy for another reason…

  • When I am in a public situation, speaking or singing I get terrible stage fright. Terrible. Until I walk onto stage. Then I am fine, but in the moments leading up to the actual event I am cold, nauseous, on the verge of tears.
  • When it comes to large groups of people, unless I have a function, I will stick to the people I know best. Unless I give myself a goal to talk to x number of people I will stay dangerously close to whomever I find won’t try and shake me off.
  • When I like a guy, even if I know that he probably likes me, I will act almost like I am disinterested when it comes to that moment where someone should make a move. I am not a move girl. I am an “oh-my-goodness-my-hands-are-shaking-and-freezing-cold-and-would-he-please-just-hold my hand/kiss me/put-his-arms-around-me-and-pull-me-close-because-if-this-is-up-to-me-I-will-be-single-until-I-am-90” kind of girl.

Because sometimes I struggle with knowing I am enough.

  • Maybe I don’t feel like I have the best voice.
  • Or that I am not enough of an expert that people want to listen to me.
  • Or I don’t think people want to talk to me.
  • Or he will find someone he likes better.

It’s a struggle and I am pretty sure I am not alone.

The problem is that my measurement of enough is perfection.

And guess what?

I’m not perfect.

Woah, take a minute. Breathe in, breathe out. I know. It’s a shock. Someone call CNN.

Now that you’ve gotten back up off the floor, shall we continue? Perfectionism is a disease. Or at least I think it is. The symptoms include shaking, dry mouth, cold hands, attachment to your phone in public, nights of regrets, shall I go on? There’s a lot to be compared to now. With the internet we get to see all the photos/stories/articles/movies that give us what we believe is perfection. It’s keeping up with the Joneses on a whole new level!

When we measure ourselves, compare ourselves, in any situation to a standard of perfection we will always fall short. It’s actually stupid. Comparing to or measuring ourselves against something we believe to be perfect (in the case of media or someone else) or to a standard that doesn’t even exist ensures that we are not wise.

We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. 2 Corinthians 10:12

So then what? I know I am not supposed to compare myself or to strive for perfection…but how?

When I am feeling shy because I am feeling not quite enough, I try and remind myself that I have someone who has already gone before me. Someone who has a plan for me. Someone who made me, fearfully and wonderfully. Who created me with purpose.

Okay, so I may still get nervous, but I am working on the not-having-to-be-perfect thing because dang that is a lot of pressure. Then I go back to the truth. Because who wants to marry someone who’s perfect anyway? 😉

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