Sunday, September 2, 2012

Not Quite Perfect

Depending on how well you know me, you may, or may not, already be aware that I am a perfectionist.

Most people equate perfectionism with its close cousin, OCD. Don't get me wrong, I have plenty of those tendencies...just ask my mother. I don't know how many times I was told, "Maryann, you don't have to alphabetize the dishes, just put them in the water and wash them." She still won't let me near her spice cupboard or canned goods and she cringes every time I help put away groceries for fear I'll completely rearrange her pantry.

What most people don't recognize is the "frustrated" perfectionist, the I-don't-know-if-I-can-do-it-the-way-it's-supposed-to-be-done-so-I-won't-do-it-all side of perfectionism. I am well acquainted with these tendencies, as well. That's why I may post a picture of my freshly organized classroom from August on Facebook, but you'll never find a picture from December with the towers of paper I've been too overwhelmed to find a home for.

The problem with perfectionism is just expect life to be perfect. There should be a plan or procedure in place for every problem that could possibly arise. Every difficulty should have a solution. Every obstacle an easy out. And why doesn't it work that way? Well, because...'s not quite perfect. In fact, sometimes, life isn't even quite good. A lot of the time, life is downright hard.

I struggle with those times. I want to sit down and map out a plan and find the best answer and expect everyone to follow along....but life doesn't work that way. In those times, when I realize my plans won't work, I have to fight my desire to give up. I have to remind myself that things don't have to be perfect to be worth having.

I have to remind myself that God doesn't call me to be perfect or to have a perfect life (in fact, thinking that is even possible undermines the awesomeness of His sacrificial grace), but He does call me to be perfectly content....
Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.  I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. ~Philippians 4:11-13
...My lack of perfection should not be a source of frustration, but instead an opportunity to marvel in the all-surpassing power of God to take my brokenness and use it for His honor and glory.

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