SPOTLIGHT - battling perfectionism
About the Spotlight Writer
Grace is a self-proclaimed lifestyle expert with zero life experience. She is a full time high school student and lover of Jesus. You can follow her day to day mishaps on Instagram:
I love blogs. I’m positively obsessed with learning about people’s perfect morning routines, perfect Bible studies, perfect workouts and perfect style. Do you see a trend here?
I love perfection, I envy it and crave it in my own life; I will spend hours on end planning to achieve my goal. I have spent more money than I can really afford on new planners, each one with a new system of organization that promises a cleaned up life. Have you heard the term yo-yo dieting? Yep, That’s me!? You might be like me if you sometimes go above and beyond with school work, like turning in page long diatribes in response to a question that required “a three to five sentence paragraph.” I take pride in my Pinterest account, and my profile displays a wide array of perfection - perfect DIYs, outfits, weddings and more.
The funny thing is, perfection - I rarely achieve it. Anyone who knows me knows my life is anything but; it is a vicious cycle of snoozed alarms and messy buns, perfectly packed lunches left untouched in lieu of coffee and a granola bar. My life sometimes looks like a daily struggle of just “making it” and always in a rat race. just running and running, spinning my wheels with no results. Have you ever felt like this?
Have you ever put in 110% but yielded very little results? If that’s you, join the club! One day, around midnight, I sat with my weekly spreadsheet and had an aha moment. (By the way, I hate when people say ‘aha moment’ too but oh well!) I’m not perfect, and I never will be. While that might seem trivial, I think it’s something we all forget at times. Sure, on the outside we might know that we can’t be perfect, yet we still waste our lives away trying to achieve something we supposedly can’t achieve.
The problem with this is we are drawing up water from the wrong well. Imagine you were walking through a desert for days on end. You’re hot, dirty and thirsty, and you come up to two wells standing side by side. One is the well of living water we all know and love, filled with fresh, clean and crisp water. As children of the King, we have tasted that water and know it to be good. Yet, for some reason, we have this bent to the other well, so we try it. It’s fine and won’t kill you but it does take your mind off the true well of living water. You might have heard an analogy similar since this works with a whole array of sins. However, the big problem is in well number two you’re going to start coming up empty. If you haven’t yet one day you will go to dip your cup in the water and only be met with mud and slush.
Why? Because where the father's love is a renewable, overflowing and an everlasting source, the world and it’s thrills are anything but. While good for a time, you will eventually find a bitter taste in your mouth.
That’s where my story kicks back up. Exhausted of always running and searching, I was so done. I had accepted Christ years prior but for so long I had been refusing to let him protect me”, as I selfishly was holding onto my pride and controlling nature. I laugh now, as I look back through my childhood and remember the bossy brat I was, my poor cousins tormented by a little she-devil. Like a petulant toddler who refuses to let go of his pacifier -- I had “God boxes” in my life. I was fine to accept Him as the Savior, but after I tried to save myself first.
Like my ‘well’ story, that life is exhausting and ultimately leaves you even emptier than you started. We live in a world that tries to pull us in a thousand different directions. Jesus says to forsake all and pursue Him, to allow Him to help free our life of confusion and stress because He is our everything. Yet we often try to do the Jesus thing half way; we turn faith into another player in a game of tug of war, which I found first hand often leaves us more empty than before.
I’d spent my life trying to get all my ducks in a row, to a point of obsession. I realized it was a lot like a cold I caught last fall. I felt terrible and mom encouraged me to sleep it off and get some rest, but I wanted to go out. So, I did what any logical high school student would do and spent two hours on my makeup till all traces of sickness were gone. I looked fine on the outside, but on the inside I was still as tired and broken as ever. In fact, I felt even worse due to the irritating makeup mask. Even when layers of foundation have the appearance of wellness, I was still wasting away inside. Furthermore, my illness would still find ways to leak out, via sniffles or a cough.
Even if we think we’ve covered all our bases, the truth will always find a way of coming out. The Bible puts this simply in Proverbs 4:23 - “above all else guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
God isn’t against pretty, planned things, He just wants us to do it His way. When we work inside out and let God transform our hearts everything else will flow from that.
I’m not perfect, but CHRIST is, and His sovereignty is enough to cover all of my shortcomings. I’m supposed to take care of my relationship with God, and He takes care of EVERYTHING else.
It isn’t always easy, and it’s not supposed to be! There are some days I still stubbornly cling to my plans like none other. However, most things in life worth doing are not easy People say that it takes 21 days to break a habit, but I don’t think they understand the power of a stubborn flesh. This is a Battlefield, but not all battles are meant to be won. So often I’m tempted to pick back up what I’ve already laid at the cross. At this point, I look past a lot of things I don’t know and rely on what I do… Even when I can’t, CHRIST ALWAYS CAN.
News flash guys! I’m learning to love it! I’m learning to see my shortcomings and smile because of God's divinity! Gosh! Even writing those words down I feel disgusted! What kind of blog is this!? Learning to LOVE your failure?!? I know!! Crazy!! but that is the kind of reckless freedom that Jesus offers. It’s hard though, I’m constantly being reminded to take pride in the areas I need to rely on Christ instead of condemnation, Because I wasn’t created to be perfect. I was created to Rely on the ONE who is.
It’s an ongoing battle with my controlling nature, but I have the Holy Spirit’s power needed to win the war! I didn't listen when God laid this idea on my heart (yes first, because I had to be repeatedly reminded before I actually decided to even think about listening) because perfection is enticing, it calls out to my inner OCD and lures me with its glamour. It’s a struggle everyday for me, but THAT’S OKAY!! I am perfectly imperfect. My goal in life is to become LESS so he can become GREATER. ( John 3:30) I’m not meant to be a savior but simply one who is saved. I am loved even when I mess up by the one who created love itself. I am in short...a work in progress.
Do you struggle with perfectionism? What have you learned? What did you agree or disagree with in the blog?
PLEASE Reach out if you want to bond over granola recipes and Pinterest boards, or I’d even be totally down to burn my planner with you, if that’s what you God's telling you to do. Seriously though, thank you for reading. I pray that I touched you in some way.