Perfectionism

“Perfectionists always loose.”

Esther by Beth Moore, p172

This statement and the discussion around it really spoke to me this morning! As a programmer, perfectionism is an occupational hazard. If you have a single character in the wrong place, the program will likely fail. It has to be perfect. However, life isn’t like that… thank you God!

Moore continues with some brilliant Laura Fraser quotes:
“If your identity is wrapped up in the magnificent things you’re destined to achieve… the thought that you might produce something mediocre can be devastating.” This thought leads to a crucial question – “Couldn’t the craving to do something great keep us from doing something good?”

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until  I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.

1 Timothy 4:12-15

Paul’s instructions here help guide Timothy through the work involved with the gifts that he’s been given. Beth Moore’s study points out that genius or exceptional talents “rarely exempts people from having to work hard.” Timothy was encouraged to work often and work hard, and to practice his talents regularly and publicly. All of this Timothy was to accomplish to be an example, teaching fellow believers. Not only was Timothy to keep practicing and building up his talents, but also he was to do so in such a way as to build up those around him.

If we are paralyzed into inaction because perfectionism holds us back, we need to let it go. I’ve come to this realization recently when it comes to doing crafts with the kids. It is pretty much guaranteed that the craft will not turn out as expected. It is also pretty certain that there will be a giant mess to clean up afterwards. I no longer allow my perfectionist-self out of her cage when I want and need to spend time with my kids. There’s no room for that nonsense when teaching. Life isn’t perfect. Only Jesus is, and his way to heaven (though sometimes NUTS to us) is, in fact, perfection.