Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Lick and a Promise (part 1)

As a wife, a mother, a home-schooler, a housekeeper, a blogger and a perfectionist, I struggle with the idea of what is good enough. When is excellence the standard needing to be pursued, and what can I occasionally let go?

When is good, good enough? Is someone going to judge me because I didn't do all that and more this week? Am I going to judge myself?

the beauty of cracked glass is the cracks.

Perfectionists want everything perfect, every time. Which is a recipe for insanity.

We try to fool ourselves by saying that we are just striving for excellence, not perfection. But often that is simply semantics. Excellence is being outstanding or extremely good. It is above standard. It isn't perfect, but it isn't far below perfection either.

Perfection is rather unattainable, but excellence...well some of us can get there. Not everyone, of course. Because that would remove the "above standard" standard.

Perfection says that everything must be done perfectly, every day, every week. You make a list, and you do everything on it. And you not only do it, but you do it perfectly. Cleaning passes white glove inspection every time. No dust. No fingerprints. No bunnies beneath the bed. Ever. Dishes and laundry washed, dried and put away. The day you do them.

Perfection. No mistakes. The condition or quality of being free, or free as possible, from defects or flaws.

As a perfectionist I try to do everything the best I possibly can, so no one can point out any mistakes or flaws. No one can see my weaknesses.

And I fight this every day. I don't want people to criticize my efforts because I have put my all into them. I think a perfectionist tangibly ties what they do with who they are.

It isn't a fun thing. It is a state of bondage.

We equate people's acceptance of us with how well we perform. We don't want to let anyone down, least of all ourselves.
cracked glass-strong, beautiful-in letting the cracks show.

Our clarion call is, "I wouldn't ask you to do something I am not willing to do myself. See, I did do it."


I have been reading Emily Freeman's Grace for the Good Girl.(here) If you are a perfectionist, if you are a good girl who never "rebelled"-this book is for you. It is speaking my language. My heart language. The language of the excellent perfectionist.

It is telling me to let go. To discern-what really is good enough? Because who am I trying to please? Am I living in grace or am I living in bondage-to my own list and standard?

I don't have to be perfect. As a matter of fact, I'm not perfect-no matter how much I try. No matter what front or mask I present, I am a sinner in need of a Savior.

I am just so thankful that He is perfect. And I can let go of my need to be right. To raising the bar. To having a perfect house and perfect children. To making perfect meals. And cleaning perfectly everyday. I can let go my list, and let God restructure it. Let Him work out my days how He wants to.

This book has been uber convicting. It has made me look at my ugly heart.

Thankfully, the answer to the ugliness isn't me. It is God-God's mercy and grace. His protection and provision, both freely given. There is grace-provision for the good girl too. The prodigal son's older brother. The Marthas.

God showers His grace on us too. Not in the least does He shower His grace on me so that I can see my problem and run to Him for forgiveness and help. The throne of grace to find mercy and help in the time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

How have you felt God's grace showered on you this week? Tell me in the comments.

By the way, this was not at all what I planned for this post. Check back tomorrow for how I am resting on the fact that a lick and a promise is good enough. (here)