So after this week's post I trust you see how counterproductive perfectionism is. It is not our friend! It works us like a slave. Or else, paralyzes us from accomplishing anything for fear of not performing perfectly. It saps our joy, sidelines us from opportunities, and erodes our relationships.
Are you are ready to kick it to the curb?
Great! – but you’re probably gonna need Jesus in order to do that.
These are deep-seated tendencies. Knee-jerk ways of thinking. Auto-pilot ways of reacting. They will take time, effort and some supernatural help to overcome. But I assure you it can be done. Nothing is impossible with God.
No, that doesn’t mean that if you have God you can work full-time as the top employee, raise 3 well-mannered & high-achieving kids, keep a beautiful large home, cook regularly, serve as PTA vice-president, teach Sunday school, make your own hand-stamped cards, volunteer at the soup kitchen, plant annuals every spring, stick to a vegan diet plan, read a book a week, keep your nail polish from chipping, never forget a friend’s birthday, and run marathons. It means that with God you have all you need for life and godliness – including the ability to overcome the tyranny of perfectionism. (see 2 Peter 1:3)
We have to come back to the sobering truth we started with in chapter 7 of It's No Secret. And that is that “life and godliness” is not about stain-free carpets, blemish-free faces, chip-free nail polish and typo-free reports. It’s about giving and receiving grace and love. It’s the character of our heart, not the surface level issues we’re stressing over. We have to reprogram with this truth.
With all that said, I promised you some practical strategies for overcoming perfectionism. Here are 7 things you can do to kick perfectionistic impluses to the curb:
1) Set small, realistic, reachable goals based on what you have accomplished in the past. This will enable you to rein in unrealistic expectations and experience the satisfaction of achievement. As you reach a reasonable goal, set your next goal one step beyond your present level of accomplishment.
2) Learn to prioritize. Decide which tasks you want to give high priority to and which are are less important to you. On less important tasks, purposely put forth less effort in favor of increased rest and emotional stability.
3) Focus on the process of doing an activity, not just the end result. Evaluate your success not only in terms of what you accomplished but also in terms of how you accomplished it. Did you remain calm and loving? Did you find any joy in the process? Do you have any regrets about how you did that?
4) Use feelings of anxiety or depression as reminders to ask yourself: “Have I set impossible expectations for myself in this situation?” “Am I giving in to fear?” “Have I lost sight of what’s essential in God’s eyes?
5) Confront the fears that may be behind your perfectionism by asking, “What am I afraid of?” “What is the worst thing that could happen?” "What does the Bible say?”
6) Recall a recent mistake you made and list several things you can learn from it. Mistakes are powerful learning tools. Most growth and success involves learning thru mistakes.
7) Pray daily, giving your stresses and to-do list to Christ to oversee. Meditate on verses like 2 Peter 1:3, Psalm 18:30-32, Ecclesiastes 7:16-18, and 2 Corinthians 12:9.
Have a great weekend with your friends & family. And don’t sweat the small stuff!
Happy Easter my Yahweh Sisters.