Are you striving for Excellence or Perfection?”

sign A plus grade written on line paper with red pen.

sign A plus grade written on line paper with red pen.

I started selling real estate when our younger two sons were 3 and 5, our third son came the following year. So, I had several years of having one or more car seats in my minivan. I don’t know about you, but when I would take one of those car seats out, oh lordy, who knew what we were going to find. Cheerios, French fries, a small toy, maybe some M&M’s… some whole, some mashed into the seat! I was always horrified when a set of buyers unexpectedly wanted to ride with me and I had to remove the car seat with them standing there. I would go instantly from this confident sales person, to feeling so incompetent! Over time I learned to immediately start trying to joke about it, teasingly telling them if this was better or worse than the last time the seats were taken out. Brushing whatever out of the seat as quickly as possible, while assuring them it was all dry and not wet or sticky. Most people were kind, some totally got it, others seem sympathetic. Then there were a few that seemed totally disgusted and you could tell they wish they had a towel or something I could put over the seat.

This month I have been talking about energy, things we should give energy to and things we shouldn’t! One area I think most people struggle with to some degree is striving for perfection in one area or another.  For some this might be with their work, for others it might be with their body image, your home, your car, a wedding, a vacation, or even a relationship.

I think we can all agree that to take pride in what we do and do our best is a great practice to have. When we start demanding perfection out of our self or others we are often setting our self-up for disappointment.  It can also be a tremendous waste of our time and energy.

How often do we get stuck on something way too long or never move forward with something because we don’t feel it’s perfect? Perfectionism is highly associated with fear of failure. We often won’t even expose our real self to each other, fearing that if people knew the real me, they wouldn’t think I was “good enough”.  Have you ever not had a friend over to your house because it wasn’t clean enough? Wouldn’t go, to say a work party, because you didn’t know what you would wear (yet your closet is full)? Turn down the opportunity to pray in front of a small group because you were afraid you wouldn’t have the right words?

Dr. Brene Brown said, “Perfectionism is not about striving for excellence or healthy striving, it’s a way of thinking and feeling that says this: ‘If I look perfect, do it perfect, work perfect and live perfect, I can avoid or minimize shame, blame and judgment.’”

God knows we aren’t perfect, He doesn’t ask or expect that… have you looked at the lives of the men and women He used back in the day?!

I love several quotes from Joyce Meyer’s but one of them I have heard her say many times “I’m not what (or where) I want to be, but I’m better than I use to be!”

In Romans chapter 3 Paul gives us a warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.  It goes onto say, in his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.

This is a great reminder that we are given different gifts and abilities… yours are not greater than mine and mine are not greater than yours, we are just gifted in different areas. We must be careful not to be critical of someone that struggles in an area that comes easy to you.

The other thing I have found is God will challenge you to work in an area that isn’t a natural strength to you, so that you are not dependent on your own ability but must lean and depend on Him to succeed! There are some weeks I am able to have someone proof read my blog post before it goes out, other weeks because of time, I have to submit it with no second set of eyes. I have read through it at least a dozen times before I submit it.  It tortures me, when I get up on the morning it’s gone out to everyone and as soon as I look at it, I see glaringly a missed spelled word! What?! How did I look at this so many times and somehow missed seeing it until it was too late! I’m getting better at beating myself up for a shorter amount of time. I certainly know I am not perfect, shoot, math was my strong subject growing up, NOT English or writing! I pray during the time I am writing my blogs and I pray before I hit submit! Not that it be perfect, but that prayerfully God has guided my words, that you hear my heart and those that read it will be encouraged and/or challenged in a positive way!

1 Comment

  1. Cathy Prew

    Romans 3..don’t think you are better than you really are. I know it is dangerous to create my own self-righteousness, as if I have the ability to do for myself what only He can do for me. He is faithful to get me back on track and help me realize my need to uncover the root of my self-made righteousness. To uncover my old nature, be it pride (Romans 3) shame, perfectionism, jealousy, envy, bitterness, anger, insecurity, rebelliousness. He helps me take the roots of my self-righteousness and lay them at His Cross, meaning His gift of grace allows me to have a deeper understanding of the depth of all that Christ did for me, and continues to do for me. It’s never about self-pity, which is only a state of being sorry for the consequences of my sinful nature. It’s about “daily” repentance for my sin nature that separates me from Him, and He is true to His word to wash me clean, renew, and restore me to the joy of His salvation. Psalm 51. I desire to grow in Him, receive a nature change from Him, and so I direct my energy towards honest, nature-changing repentance. As a side note, my late husband had a genius IQ, and I don’t. I was so grateful that he was never condescending to me. He never failed to encourage me and tell me that I have wonderful gifts that He didn’t have. I knew that he was truly grateful for all that God created in me, though I wasn’t wired like him! I too, was grateful for how God created him!

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