Seeking Perfection (Run, Run, Run!)
Originally posted on May 28, 2012.
I found myself growing increasingly irritated as I tried to complete a project for work last week.
“Why,” I muttered under my breath, “is this so incredibly difficult? A five-year-old could do it! What is wrong with me?!” You see, I am perfectionist through-and-through — and that, my friends, is a problem.
This is the busiest I have been in my entire life… and that’s saying a lot. Work, guitar lessons, house-sitting, photography, music, weddings, Sertoma, Jesus, family, friends, food, diabetes, Greek, and trying to sleep… I have always been a busy girl, but this is more than busy. This is non-stop, go-till-you-drop havoc.
Suffice it to say, I am exhausted.
Luckily, I visited my cousin Jessica this weekend. The perks? A, Jessica, period. B, visiting Jess never feels stressful. We eat yummy food, watch movies, go to vineyards, and sleep. J’adore. And C? The drive. I love to drive. It is my safe place: just me, the radio, the road, and a head full of thoughts.
So back to perfectionism. That dreadful disease is in my blood. I have no problem overlooking imperfections in others — humans are imperfect, after all — but when it comes to myself, I am my own worst critic. Imperfection is not okay… which led to today’s drive.
Today was not a “fearfully and wonderfully made” day for me, although that might be what you’d expect — and let me be very, very clear: there is nothing wrong with those days, and I have to remind myself of that often (see Broken: Journeying Through Depression for more on that) — nor was it a Mary-Martha day (The Business of Busy-ness (or How to be a Mary)). Today was different.
As I drove, these two verses kept running through my head.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 2:23-24 (ESV)
Let’s be honest here. The pursuit of perfection can be just as much of a sin as anything else — if you let yourself idolize perfection, you’re sunk. Perfection doesn’t exist (at least not here on earth), and it’s not going to happen. It’s not going to happen.
But at the same time… we should still strive to be our best. Glorifying God through our actions is more of a testimony than our words ever can be (You know what I mean: “Actions speak louder than words.”). We should seek excellence so we glorify him in all things, not just some things. This isn’t a journey for the faint of heart — it’s a roller coaster ride, and once you strap in, you’re in for the long haul. It takes work.
(NOTE: We are saved by faith, not works — so don’t get any silly ideas, Mister!)
But if we approach life as though we don’t need to do our best, what are we saying about Christ? What image does that put out?
In my life, once the muttering begins, it’s time to take a step back and regroup — and it all comes back into perspective. I’m overwhelmingly blessed, so why would I waste time on a fruitless pursuit? I never got that perfect finish on my project… but I did the best I could, and that just has to be enough.
I will do my best at all things — but I will not let myself get up in the pettiness of perfection.