Type A Personality.
First born child.
A strong-willed nature.
These are just some of the things that defined me from a young age. I was my own worst critic and perfectionism was stripping the life right out of me. I remember practicing those endless piano scales over and over and over. I could never just play through the scale if I made a mistake; I would feel the need to immediately start over from the beginning until it was just perfect.
Fast forward into young-adulthood, marriage and the birth of my first-born child. All of these traits clung to me over time. Picture me, feeling the need to match my newborn daughter’s pacifier to her frilly out fits. Plllllleeeeeeeeeeeeeeease! I laugh about it now. I had the overwhelming urge that I needed to have the house perfect, keep up with all my extra curricular activities, and somehow be super-mom and wife in the mix.
It just wasn’t cutting it; it was leaving me lifeless.
Perfectionism once kept me from pursuing my dreams. For years I had such a fear of public speaking, that I hid away when God was calling me to lead women’s bible studies at church. Perfectionism can keep us from God’s call on our life.
Perfectionism says you are not enough. God says you are perfectly complete in Him.
We sat across the table from one another at the trendy restaurant in town. I looked at her, future first mommy-to-be deep in the eyes and pleaded with her. I begged her to put away her perfectionism before she pushed that sweet baby out. I shared with her my own struggles with it and how I’ve learned, after three babies and ten years of marriage, that there is no such thing as perfect. Babies cry and sometimes we don’t have a solution. Diapers explode and splatter across the wall. Laundry piles up along with dirty dishes, and our house is left in disarray.
With tear-filled eyes, I looked at that future mommy and I told her that she was enough. It was best to throw away the notion that all of her yellow rubber duckies would be in a neat and tidy row. I pleaded with her to embrace the freedom of imperfection. Why do we yearn to be the best at everything? Why to we feed ourselves an unhealthy diet of the lies that we aren’t enough otherwise?
Christ is made perfect in us so that we don’t have to carry the burden of it.
So, as a mommy to an eight year old daughter, how can I instill these wonderful truths in her that I’ve come to learn the hard way? How can we, as parents, teach future generations that perfectionism stunts growth and will suck the life right out of them?
I shared some practical lessons you and I can share with them on Faithgateway last week!