Friday, March 2, 2012

Are you a perfectionist?? (And a little about adoption.)

foodforthoughtfriday

Are you a perfectionist??

I am. I have struggled with this for the majority of my life. I have always wanted to be the BEST at everything I did and have always wanted to please everyone.

I can remember tearing up my papers many times in school and rewriting the whole thing because I didn’t think my (very neat!) handwriting was neat enough. Everything in my room, cabinets, and drawers had a place, and I could tell if anything was out of order. (I still have a few of those OCD tendencies…but that’s a whole different post!). I wanted to be a perfect student, make perfect grades, be the best on my team, be everyone’s friend, etc. I even made my mom redo my ponytails over and over until it was perfect with no bumps. Bless her heart, she did it over every time I asked until I was happy. (See, I HAVE come a long way?!? I live for the messy ponytail now! haha) I put a ton of pressure on myself all the time to be successful and be a high achiever. No one else put that pressure on me. My best was always good enough for everyone else… but me.

It wasn’t until college that I realized that perfectionism is not a “good quality” like I thought it was.  It controls your life and makes you miserable when you can’t achieve perfection. I would feel guilt and anxiety if there was an area of my life I didn’t feel like I was perfect, and that is an exhausting way to live. Sometimes I still get overwhelmed and struggle with this, but I usually catch it in time to ask the Lord to help me give it over to Him.

Did you know I was adopted??

Well, I am.  And I thank the Lord every.single.day for that. I have no doubt that He plucked me out and put me EXACLTY where He wanted me!!! I have the most loving and accepting family IN THE WORLD. My parents and older siblings have ALWAYS gone above and beyond to make me feel loved and special. I have always felt just as much a part of my family as everyone else. But for some reason, deep down, I think I felt like I still needed to be perfect to be accepted…That I needed to please everyone and do everything right so people would want me.  That is NOTHING anyone in my family did wrong; because like I said, I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect family in making me always feel love and accepted. I think it just comes with the territory of being adopted…as silly as that sounds. I mean, my parents CHOSE to have me as their child.  They loved me so much and wanted me as part of their family, and I didn’t have to do anything to earn my spot. What more could I ask for?? (By the way, adoption is the perfect picture of God’s grace and love in my opinion. That’s exactly what He wants for us….to “adopt us” as His own children. If you’ve been praying about adoption and have been asking for a sign, THIS IS IT!!)

But still, I allowed perfectionism to rule my life for many years.

I attended a Beth Moore Conference a few years ago, and she made a statement that really stuck out to me.  She said perfectionism is a twisted form of self-interest and pride. It is NOT pleasing to the Lord when we try to be perfect. I had never thought of it that way, but it is so true. Even as a perfectionist, life is all about ME, ME, ME. I think perfectionists try to justify by thinking we’re trying to serve others by being the best wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, employee, etc. But in reality, even though we want to please others, it is ultimately so WE can feel good about OURSELVES. Even in that, we are still striving to attain perfection, and that is not the right heart or intentions.

For example, we shouldn’t desire to serve our husband so we can be the perfect wife. We should desire to serve him out of LOVE for him and obedience to the Lord, and that should be our only intention.

I’ve also realized that perfectionism often roots from some type of insecurity. There is some underlying issue or reason that we don’t feel quite good enough, so we try to compensate by being as perfect as possible. I think identifying the root helped me. (By the way, here are some posts about dealing with insecurity…here and here and here.)

Here’s the real deal though, ladies.

God does NOT call us to be perfect!!

He calls us to love him and love others (Matthew 22:37-39). He calls us to serve others (Galatians 5:13) and share the Gospel (Deuteronomy 13:4 & Matthew 28:19-20). He calls us to be obedient (John 14:15) and to be more like Him, so that others will see Him shining through us (Matthew 5:16). He calls us to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16) Our desire to be perfect does NOT come from the Lord.

My goal is no longer “to be perfect;” it is to be Christ-like. I know that I cannot achieve perfectionism and that and I will always fall short. And that’s okay, because I can continue striving to be more like Him with each new day. I will never be perfect, and there is such a freedom in not trying to be.

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Happy Friday!!

13 comments:

Micah said...

Amazing story. Thank you so much for sharing. Some friends of mine are in the process of adopting right now, and although it's a long, tedious process, they are so so excited.

Kathy said...

I also struggle with being a perfectionist and you totally hit it on the head - it controls your life. It is a daily battle for me to let go of my own expectations and to let God make my life what He wants it to be. Thanks for sharing these thoughts.

bnfunky said...

GIRL!!!! You always hit the nail on the head. I am so thankful that you are a light to people everywhere who read your blog!

Unknown said...

I love you...that is all! You have come a long way from that little kid that had to be perfect,the crazy thing is...you didn't have to try so hard,to me you have always been amazing!!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ragan said...

The comment above was from me :)

Lauren said...

What a beautiful post! Such powerful words!!! Thank you :) x

christa said...

I'm really enjoying your blog, I look forward to reading it. While I'm not super religious or conservative, many of my friends are and I appriciate reading and learning and hearing other points of view. Thanks for being brave and honest and putting your thoughts and opinions out there.

Brittany said...

I tend to like things "just so." While I am busy keeping things in order, I miss out on quality time with those i love! Thanks for sharing!

Elizabeth said...

Wow! Thank you for sharing this! It really ministered to me-- an OCD perfectionist.
It is so right- God does not call us to be perfect- He calls us to love Him and give Him our all.

Jamie Lynn said...

Somehow I missed this post but it makes me so thankful that we can rest in the fact that "God's power is made perfect in weakness... therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ's power may rest in me." Only Jesus ever lived a perfect life, and He gives us the righteousness that HE earned! It's so hard for me to wrap my head around that. Also, I love adoption stories; we've thought about adopting for years! I'm pregnant right now but pray that God will make it clear if that is His will for my hubby and me!:) Thank you for sharing...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. My husband and I have been praying about adoption for a little while now. We found out we were infertile about 2 years ago, and have been trying to get pregnant for 3 years. It's been rough. Anyways, committing to adoption is a scary thing for us, because we want to be positive it's in God's timing, not ours. Your post took me by surprise, and we are definitely thinking about it harder than before. Thanks for being so open and writing this post!

Eden said...

What a good post. I think we we have some talent and a desire to look good this can be an issue as you have written so eloquently. I have to share my own perfect protest post I did last year. It's really NOT all about us is it? Haha

Post here:
http://geeden.blogspot.com/2010/09/perfection.html

God bless :)