Battling Perfectionism

{an edited post from the archives as I spend Christmas break with my family}

The imperfections of a man, his frailties, his faults, are just as important as his virtues.  You can’t separate them.  They’re wedded.  ~Henry Miller

I remember well the days that perfectionism consumed my life.

I suppose I came by the desire quite naturally.  A father who demanded more than the best.  Raised by grandparents whose accomplishments lined the walls.  Perpetuating the “family hedge”…that no matter what was truly going on, we put our “best face” forward to the world.

Every mistake I made was punctuated by the fact that I was, yet again, incapable of grasping the elusive perfection that seemed to come so easily for others.

I carried this knee buckling burden into adulthood for many years.  Perfectionism twisted itself into a suffocating need for control at all costs.

The monster of perfectionism almost ruined my marriage.  Almost ruined my family.  Almost ruined my life.

But, God. {my two favorite words of all time}.

He set me free from the need to please, the need to wear masks and the need to have everything just right.

Don’t get me wrong..it was a process that began four years ago and we {God and I} still work on it daily.  I am a recovering-Type-A-perfectionist-control-freak.

Perfectionism is a monster.  It is authored and touted by the father of lies, the devil.

You may see a perfectly coiffed mom, with perfectly behaved children in adorable matching outfits with a perfect marriage and perfect house and perfect vacations.

That is what you would have seen on the outside, looking in to my life for many years.

On the inside, life festered with open wounds that threatened to infect everything.  Secrets ate away at the foundation of our family and faith, like termites feasting on wood.  It was not until I surrendered the desire for perfection and the need to control to the only One that can handle those inside wounds, that life actually let our family breathe.

Anytime I am tempted to retreat to those old, comfortable patterns of dysfunctional behavior, I mutter the word “monster” to myself and heavenward.  God knows what I mean and He and I battle that monster together.

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