Tag Archives: perfectionism

You don’t need to be perfect.

This post originally appeared on Everyday Exiles.

What is your calling? Do you know what the Lord is calling you, nudging you, leading you to do? Or is it someone He’d like you to be, perhaps? Becoming acquainted with the Lord’s call on your life is a messy process, and sometimes it doesn’t yield fruit exactly like we think it will.

God gives us gifts, passions, talents, skills, and desires, and for good reason. Each of those things (and a lot more, too) make us into who we are in Him. He has allowed us to be good at the things we’re good at. He has given us passions and desires so that we may be kingdom-builders and world-changers in our own way. That cliche about how “God doesn’t called the equipped, He equips the called” may actually be as true as it is annoying.

As a perfectionist, I have a disadvantage when I’m asked to do something. If I say “yes” to something, I become obsessed with it. I must do the best job I can do, because I’m afraid of failure. That being said, I don’t say yes to very many things, because if I know ahead of time that I don’t have the energy, time, or skills to do the job extremely well, I’ll just say “no” instead. Even if I can do part of it, or do it well enough, or learn a lot through the process, I don’t want those things… I want perfection or nothing. I want to go 100%, or I won’t start.

But something I’ve had to learn is that not being able to achieve that perfection is okay. Sometimes, what I need more than a perfect product is a perfect process. Or even a messy process to which I’ve given my 100%. My “all” doesn’t always come out perfectly in the end… but God is a miracle worker and can bring it the rest of the way if I let Him.

Did you hear that?

God is the miracle worker. He just needs willing bodies that He has called “able” to do what He is calling us to do.

So when you hear Him calling you towards something that you aren’t sure if you can do, trust Him. If you feel nudged toward a new project, of trying something you’ve never tried before, or an undertaking you aren’t sure you can handle, ask Him to help you do it. You only need to be willing to give Him what you have. He’s got the rest. On a podcast I listened to this morning, the guest referenced something a friend had told her: You just need to take care of the two fishes and five loaves. He will feed the five thousand.

It’s okay to not have everything you need to finish what you’ve been called to start. It’s okay if you can’t see the end to know what’s coming, or if you don’t even make it that far. It’s okay if you only have time to do part of it, or if doing it on top of a hundred other responsibilities means that it takes you a really long time. I might be stepping out on a limb, but I don’t think perfectionism is what He calls us to achieve. There is grace for you to follow where you think He’s leading you, even if there’s a part of you that thinks (or the devil is sneaking in the feeling) that you’re “half-assing” it.

God usually doesn’t call us to do things that are easy, or done in a short period of time. He frequently calls us to make a decision for a life-long process of learning, doing, teaching, or searching. He calls us to something higher than we would plan for ourselves, though in following His will, there is fulfillment we would never dream possible. If you feel like He is leading you somewhere, changing your plan, pushing you to go the extra mile, then follow Him. I encourage you to pray through it, seek wise counsel, and go out on that limb. That limb is where you may just find the excitement, fulfillment, and contentment you’ve been searching for.

Let’s Stop Shaming Ourselves

How often do we as mothers – as women, as humans! – shame ourselves? We do it unconsciously, as if it’s built into our DNA. We give ourselves the roughest time, hold ourselves to the highest standard. I know that I beat up on myself for using unkind words toward my toddler in a stressful moment, or not using my time wisely to do the chores, get more sleep, or make a healthier meal.

It takes a lot to be a mom, whether you’re a stay at home mom, or work at home mom, or work outside the home mom. It takes an incredible balance, to do everything for your kids, to take care of the house, the spouse, the pets, to go to your job every day, to get your shoes on the right feet and shirt on forwards. Every single thing we do, we tend to hold ourselves to a standard of perfection. And I don’t know about you, but it’s exhausting.

When we give ourselves little or no grace in our lives, it’s exhausting. When we don’t give ourselves room to breathe, grace to make mistakes, and the opportunity to start over every morning (or after every nap!) it can lead to just making more mistakes and getting even more choked out trying to do your best.

Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son is a perfect example of how we need grace from the Father, but also from ourselves. Both brothers in the tale needed grace – the younger needed it from his father after he had strayed, and the elder needed it from himself, because he had held himself to a nearly impossible standard. The elder brother laments to his father about how his brother rand away, squandered his wealth, and came home to have a party thrown in his honor, while he himself had been working day and night for his father, with nary a calf killed in his honor. His father tells him, “All I have is yours.”  He could have everything his father owned at any time, if he had only asked. He just hadn’t felt worthy.

There are so many things we can miss out on when we don’t feel worthy, when we don’t treat ourselves well. We withhold things from ourselves because we think we don’t deserve them: time off, nights out, afternoons away, time at the spa, other indulgences. We feel like if we take time and money for those things, we aren’t spending that time and money on what’s most important – our kids. Well, to an extent, that may be true. If we’re spending ALL our time and money away, maybe we do need to reevaluate.

But if you are so stressed because you haven’t had a few hours away from the kids and the housework to get your nails done, have dinner or drinks with your girlfriends, or just to roam Target, alone, with a Starbucks in your hand, then I say you deserve it. Get that babysitter, call that friend, or ask that relative to love on your kiddos for a few hours. You work hard. You do the absolute best you can, day in and day out. Give yourself some grace, and a break. How much easier will it be to show grace and love to your kids if you aren’t stressed out? How much easier will it be to come home and cook dinner if you haven’t been pulling your hair out all afternoon? We love and give and do our best from a place of fullness. If you feel like your tank is empty, and you’re “all gived out”, then allow yourself to recharge, whatever that looks like for you, any way you can. Help yourself to be the best you by giving yourself grace, and forgiving yourself for your mistakes. Tomorrow is a new day.