It's been awhile since I've written, I know. Sometimes staring at a computer screen for hours a day at work makes it difficult to come home and write here. But I'm back tonight and that's what matters :-)
You know what's really hard? Having to take your own advice that you've given over and over again. We had a quality issue at work this past week and I had a choice to make: I could either choose to look at it as a learning experience or I could continue to beat myself up about the fact that the error happened and wasn't caught until it ended up costing a boatload of money. I preach the former ALL the time. I remind people and students that I've taught that mistakes are times of learning. That failure is part of life. That success can't come unless failure happens.
But in all honesty, part of me hates that.
I struggle with being a perfectionist. Some days being a perfectionist is a really good thing. It means I strive to produce high quality work and work hard in order to ensure that happens. As someone who's job is to help ensure quality and accuracy of vehicle owner's manuals, that's important.
But there's a flip side.
It means I don't like to fail.
It means I hate to fail.
It means I hate to fall flat on my face when others are depending on my work.
And that's not okay.
Because if I live my entire life striving to be perfect and hating failure and weakness, what was the point of Jesus coming to earth, dying for the sins I commit on a daily basis, coming back to life?
If I was perfect I wouldn't need Jesus.
And, quite frankly, I think I hate that more than I hate failing.
I NEED Jesus. Everyday I think I realize just a little more how much I need him. I need him because I can't do this myself. I can't carry the weight and burden of being perfect. I can't live carrying the stress of what one little mistake means.
Because of Jesus, I can have a relationship with the Father. That's not possible on my own.
Because of Jesus, I don't carry the burden of my failures. Jesus takes them on himself.
Because of Jesus, I get to live in FREEDOM. I don't have to be shackled by the burden of trying to be perfect.
None of this means that I don't strive for excellence. That I don't strive to obey Jesus. That I can just do whatever I want.
What this does mean is that I don't have to live in the chains of perfection. What this means is that I can't earn God's love or lose God's love because of what I do or don't do. What this means is that Jesus already did everything for me. What this means is that I choose to honor God with my choices and life.
What this means is that when I fall flat on my face (not if, but when), Jesus is there to pick me up, brush me off, hold me close, and help me continue running the race.
When I twist my knee during a 5k in my spiritual life (like last weekend in real life), Jesus is there. His love makes me want to obey him. His care makes me want to serve him.
Perfection becomes less of the goal and honoring God because of what he's done for me takes it's place.
With love from a recovering perfectionist,
PS- Do you choose to learn from mistakes? Are you struggling to let God teach you? I'd love to hear your stories about how God is teaching you to break the chains of perfectionism and rely on him for everything! Share them in the comments below :-)