Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The "P" Word

Okay, I'm probably going to step on some toes now, maybe even stomp on the feet of some....but it's worth the risk. Remember, I'm just one person on a journey with Jesus...

Perfectionism. As a recovering addict, I can speak with some measure of authority. Jesus kicked me in the butt some years ago when He told me that "perfectionism" is not a character quality given by Him. He did not "wire" me to be a "perfectionist." Rather, He created me to be one who appreciates excellence and gives attention to detail. However, anything that causes my source of peace and identity to be in something other than Jesus, CANNOT be given to me by my Father. My experience with perfectionism was one of unrest, striving, insecurity and self-condemnation. Sound familiar?

So why is it that we allow this gift of determination and thoroughness to be misdirected into something that steals so much of life, so many of the fruits of the spirit from us?! I really think it goes back to this identity thing and a lack of revelation of how much we are loved by our Daddy JUST BECAUSE of who we are! It's one thing to find pleasure and satisfaction in the things we were created to do. But I believe a line is crossed (into "perfectionism") when our ability to "successfully" execute those things defines our own measure of success and confidence. If I can't even approve of myself in those times, how can I receive approval and unconditional love from my Daddy!?

One practical way this plays out in my life is my attempt to be intentional about not apologizing to others for the state of my house. Why does it matter? Really, I'm concerned about what they will think of me since I have already judged myself harshly as a failure in keeping my house neat. Instead, I quietly remind myself of the things that matter eternally and then allow Jesus to tell me what HE thinks about me. I know in my head that He sees me as righteous, but sometimes it's nice to hear it again....and again...and again.....I'm a little thick sometimes :-) So if you come in my house and find me apologizing for it's state of being, hopefully it's only because I am truly concerned for your safety as you traverse over and around the toys, laundry, craft scraps and dust bunnies (they are pretty soft, though! :-)

Ahh, the journey continues. Help me Jesus!