ARE YOU A PERFECTIONIST...LIKE ME?
Updated: Jan 2, 2021
Striving to get that perfect shot in the perfect moment.
Are you a perfectionist like me? Always striving for the perfect balance in life, the perfect IMAGE, the perfect outfit, perfect hair, perfect marriage, perfect parent, perfect dinners, perfect, perfect, perfect....the list goes on. I find myself trying to “measure up” in all areas of my life and be the best I can be, even though I know perfection is impossible. Only Christ was perfect. I know this and still try.
I am one who likes structure and order. I like things to be clean and in their place. I am one that gets so excited for an upcoming event or party that I plan out the perfect outfit a month in advance. I even get exhausted thinking about it all. As much as I get annoyed with my perfectionist habits and ways of life, it is a real thing that I struggle with. Yes, I said struggle, because guess what...I know things are never going to be perfect no matter how hard I try. Matter of fact, the more I strive for perfection, the more worry, the more fear, and the more anxiety sets in.
“Matter of fact, the more I strive for perfection, the more worry, the more fear, and the more anxiety sets in."
I would consider myself pretty blessed and I could not be more thankful for my life and my family. I wonder if the the dysfunction of my past is the reason why I refuse to let any dysfunction get in the way of what I have now, which is why I try to keep everything in line. I try to keep life balanced, and I try do what I feel is right. I try to keep my children well behaved and well fed. I try to keep my marriage in a good place. I try to keep myself healthy. I try to please friends and family…I try I try, I try. I feel like that’s all I do is try to keep up with it all. With this type of expectation and control over everything, I have learned that I am only setting myself up for disappointment, because life gets messy. It gets dysfunctional, and it gets painful. There is nothing I do can stop this.
When things are going great, it is easy to get busy and think we are focused on the right things until our world comes crashing down when we realize we are not. I was there... trying so hard to keep life under control and to keep everything from being in chaos after some major life events happened that I forgot to actually stop and focus on the things that would create peace and clarity. I didn’t want to loosen up the reins, because I was so worried that if I slowed down too much, things would fall apart and I would be left to face a harsh reality. Well guess what...they ended up falling apart anyways and I know its all apart of His plan. I thought because I was doing bible studies, reading books, and spending time with God that this was letting go and surrendering control… no, not quite.
I woke up one day and it hit me. I felt very anxious and hated feeling like this. I had so much going through my mind...including things like, what is my vision for my life? What are my goals? What is my purpose besides being a mom? I then started thinking, wait I don’t even know outside of being a mom, what my goals are anymore! I thought okay Christina…what is really important here? The clothes, the shoes, the housework, the house décor, tonight’s dinner, the phone call I need to make, the email I need to write, planning our next date night, going to the grocery, school activities, etc. OR making sure I have a VISION and some GOALS in life?. I lost sight of what was really important and needed to refocus my eyes on the only thing that could give me answers. Time with God. Time to slow down, meditate, pray and seek counsel.
Through insolence comes nothing but strife, But wisdom is with those who receive counsel. Proverbs 13:10
With a 4 year old and almost 2 year old, the death of my father in law, a recent move, and a job change, this left my tank half empty. I was so worried about keeping everything in line around me, my marriage, my church priorities, my kids and their schedules, the housework, plus my job at the time, that it just drained me. It left me unfulfilled, short tempered, and unsure of what my purpose is outside of being a mom. I felt anxiety creeping back in and I wanted to get to the root cause of it. I wanted to figure out why I felt unfulfilled, when I am very much thankful for every little thing in my life. In the past, I have rushed into different situations and jobs based off of emotions…only to discover none of it really fulfills me. I was not passionate enough about it to leave my kids for it or day care was too expensive to suffice me working part time, so now what?
Now, being at home full time with both boys, this has led me to slow life down and re-discover where God is calling me. I needed some direction, so I have been reading books, the bible, spending time in prayer, I joined M.O.P.S again, and reached out to a counselor. Most importantly it has forced me to spend more time with God. Of course, I know from past experiences that God creates opportunities like this for a reason. It is all in His plan. He wants us to surrender it all to Him and let go. Too bad that's easier said than done.
I am learning that sometimes it is necessary for life to get messy in order make sure we are focused on the right things and headed in the right direction. I have learned that no amount of STUFF, no matter how distracting it is from reality, will ever be what really feeds my soul. It may feed my confidence, but that's about it. I just know for me, fueling my soul is the only thing that helps with uncertainty, worry, fear, and anxiety, so that is what I intend to do…FUEL MY SOUL. I will seek counsel, read, and pray pray pray. Shauna Niequist says it perfectly in her book "Present Over Perfect." She says image management drains the soul. She also says connection and grace revives a soul. She goes on to say...“The love and peace we so long for is in the silence, in the groundedness, in the sacred risky act of being exactly who you are nothing more, nothing less. In that still, holy space, the love you’ve been hunting for all along will bloom in your ribs.”
"Image management drains the soul"
I will keep you updated on this journey of discovering my vision and goals. I am going to take risks, pursue passions, and let go of control. I am going to let go of my need for approval from others. I am going to most importantly live the life Christ is calling me to live instead of chasing after a life or identity that just isn’t me. I need to be in existence with where I am in this current moment and be okay with that. I am excited! Excited for how God will use this, for how He will use me for His glory.
If any of you lack wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5
Here are a couple of books I have read pertaining to this particular post:
Discover Your Next Best Step by Gordon D. Bell (Fort Wayne, local author)
Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
The Love Idol by Jennifer Dukes Lee
Here is a book/study that I am going to do:
It's All Under Control by Jennifer Dukes Lee