Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Back in the saddle - Perfection and Failure

So, Ive been a bit MIA since my last post about our Family Pledge.... yikes!

At first it was because the whole pledge thing was going so well that I was barely on the computer! And then it just kind of snowballed..... so, yeah. Here I am jumping back in the saddle with a heavy hitter!

I (don't!) Wannabe a Perfectionist!!!

But I am.  *gulp*

I have actually come a long way over the years with my levels of perfection, but its still there - sucking the life out of me - in other areas. I used to be such a perfectionist that I would NOT leave my house without perfect makeup, perfect hair, perfect outfits, perfect looking kids, perfect, perfect, perfect. I'm not sure if its a good or bad or sad thing that I can now say I will run errands with ZERO makeup, in jeans and the same shirt I slept in, and wearing a hat. In my embarrassed defense I will say that this isn't my norm - but I don't have a panic attack if I don't look perfect. I overcame this a few years ago by forcing myself to go out in my most vulnerable state.... you can read more about that HERE.  I had to learn a balance. I had to learn that it was OKAY to not be perfect - and that looking perfect didn't determine my worth.

One area of my life I have NEVER seemed like a perfectionist in though - my housekeeping abilities. Honestly, I seriously SUCK at it. It overwhelms me to the point of paralysis. The reason though - the perfectionist in me. I can handle the makeup, the hair, the clothes, etc and making all that perfect. Thats EASY (and fun!)... but I don't want to TOUCH something in an effort to make it look good unless I can make it PERFECT. And if I can't make it perfect, I'm not even going to attempt it.

Because I don't want to fail.

Failure terrifies me, even on a small level - like cleaning. I let my worth as a person get wrapped up in the perfection of a task. You would think that by NOT doing something then I would feel even more worthless than if I were to fail at it. Strangely, this is not so. Don't ask me why - I still haven't figured it out.

Have you ever had a moment of clarity about something you have never conquered before? Like, literally been hit with a thought that makes you wonder why it never seemed that clear to you before? You could have heard it from dozens of people before, even read it in a self help blog or book, seen a tv show about, had your mother try and pound it into your head - but it never sunk in - until your moment? I think there is a reason for this, so while it may be frustrating and seem like years have been wasted I truly believe God times everything perfectly. There is a lesson in everything, even in things that you feel you've suffered with for years, things you haven't been able to understand.... until God lifts the veil.

In my moment, God let a truth sink in deep within me. A truth I've known in my head, but never EMBRACED with my heart. I think that is the key to truth - you can know it, but you have to embrace it.

A wonderful friend who has always been like a father to me once told me there is a difference between perfection and excellence. He tried his best to spell it out for me, but I never got it. I was too blinded by my NEED for perfection. My NEED to judge what surrounded me and determine whether or not it was perfect. Who determines perfection?? Certainly not me. Certainly not those of you reading right now. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but so is perfection. And in Gods beholden eyes, I am ALREADY perfect - without even trying. Knowing that means I don't have to earn my perfection by doing a task PERFECTLY.... so I can just DO THE TASK without worrying about the perfectionist details of it.

-I can clean my desk by just straightening it up instead of reorganizing everything every time.
-I can clean the kitchen even if I don't get every single dish done. Before I wouldn't even TOUCH the kitchen if I couldn't clean it top to bottom and side to side and in and out of appliances every single time.
-I can clean the living rooms even if it means I can't pull the couches out and clean under them or take off the cushions and clean the parts you never ever see.
-I can clean the dining room even if I only wipe down the table and can't disinfect it AND mop the floor.
-you get the idea.... I could go on and on per room.

If you know me and have been to my house when its a WRECK, you are probably thinking "ummm you never do those things." And you'd kind of be right - because I only do those things if I can do them all on the same day, and the chances of me being able to do it all at once are slim to none.

I am SO TIRED of being like that. I am so tired of thinking that my best isn't good enough because it might not be perfect. I am so tired of judging myself constantly because I am always telling myself I shouldn't bother doing anything unless its done perfectly - my worth as a person, as a mother, as a wife, as a friend, isn't wrapped up in perfection. At least it shouldn't be....

My worth as a person is wrapped up in how much I love those around me. How much I take care of what I've been given, and on some days - my best might be sitting with my kids watching America's Funniest Home Videos (oh how we laugh!). My best might be holding a sick kid. My best might be taking a nap - seriously, sometimes its an act of love for others that sends me to my room. My best might also be just straightening up - even if its not perfect.

I can't full explain how my moment of clarity has helped me, but this was my best shot. Its not perfect, but it was my best. And there are some who won't understand because this has never been something they have struggled with. There might be some who will want to judge or defend the idea of perfection - but this is my lesson. My moment where God lifted a veil for me on something that has weighed me down for years.

I can't swear that from here on out my house will be spotless, and I KNOW my laundry will never all be done (I hate it so much!!), but I do know I won't be AFRAID to do it.... because I won't be judging myself about it anymore. I won't be expecting myself to be perfect anymore.

last minute add on: there is also an element of control to the need to be perfect. I knew in my pursuit of perfection, I had it in me to be absolutely psycho crazy controlling if things didn't STAY perfect - and that scared me. I did NOT want to become that person, so I went the opposite direction. Again, finding balance is the key, and everyone's idea of balance is different. I hope I can stick with mine.

1 comment:

  1. Girl, you have no idea how much this is me! I look at my home and if I dont have the time or motivation to do it all at once its like I am paralyzed. I can't do any of it. Part of that is the fact that i know that once I clean it it will take only a few minutes to get messed up again. And its no help that all my hubby does is complain about messes but not help in fixing them so I feel like I am the worst wife/mom/homemaker in the world lol. Ok i know thats a little dramtic but its where im at. Thank you for sharing your story, i am not brave enough to do that yet.