I love to write. But more often than not, I begin a blog and never finish it. It’s frustrating. I sit down with a story, something I want to pass along. But by the time I’ve read, edited, re-read and proofed, I’ve exhausted my brain. So guess what I do? I just don’t do it at all.
Over the course of blogging I’ve often made the commitment, “OK, I’m just going to sit down and write.” But there I sit deleting, editing, and proofing. The entry sits in the draft bucket, never complete because of my desire to “turn in” perfect work.
This might be OK if it only happened in my writing. But usually a sliver of our lives is a window into the rest. When I look at my daily life there are many things I want to do–things I even feel called to do--that never get done because I feel I just don’t have the time, energy or resources to do them perfectly. So what do I do? I just don’t do them.
I started blogging because I feel led to encourage women to run–run FAST–away from the pursuit of perfection. Run toward the truth that you can lay down your obsessive striving and just live. Yet often I find myself trapped in this “do it right or don’t do it at all” mentality. Sometimes the pursuit of perfection paralyzes me from accomplishing even small things.
Here’s just a tiny example of how I let striving shut down God’s plan for me to rest and live. I wanted to make a craft area for the boys. A place where they could feel safe to create, free from mommy constantly picking-up and saying “don’t spill that!”
I looked at wall units and baskets and bulletin boards. Special paint containers and little artist smocks. Since all of that is overwhelming–not to mention costly–I just put off making the craft room. I mean it’s gotta be CUTE, fashionable and organized if it’s gotta be, right? Wrong.
Last week I threw together my painting table, two extra chairs and took the kids to Dollar General for more craft supplies. And guess what? My kids have enjoyed hours of creating and playing in that room already. They feel no less loved, nurtured or protected because of the chinchy decor and hodgepodge of supplies. And I did no less of a job as a mother because it isn’t Southern Living perfect.
Perfectionism is bondage. You are trapped between, “I just want to live freely and venture into these places I’m called to go”, and “I’m not even going to open that door because I can’t do a stellar job.”
Perfectionism leads to anxiety. Constantly striving and never resting wears out the mind. When I am hurdling over thoughts of how something could–or should–be done better, I’m setting myself up for disappointment. Nothing can be done perfectly. Furthermore, not everything needs to be done perfectly.
I found a translation of Psalm 46:10 this week that comforted me, encouraged me and admonished me. “CEASE STRIVING, and start resting.” This isn’t saying, “Hey, just stop making goals and chill.” To me it’s saying, “Lay down your obsessive freakish thought process that says things must be done perfectly. God is offering you His rest. Quit striving and start living.”
What are you putting off doing, because you can’t do it perfectly? What ideas or urges have you set aside because you’ve bought the lie that things must be done to perfection or not at all? What anxiety could you release if you’d only remember what your Creator says to you, “Rest in me, and really live. Do your work well, but don’t strive so hard, child. It’s hard to watch.”
One last thing. If anyone sees a typo or something I need to edit please notify me immediately. You could also text or email. Just kidding. Ceasing striving with you, friend. Let’s rest and live.