Perfectionism

I’ve got nothing today. I usually write these blog posts on Monday, which gives me some time to polish them up a bit. Sometimes a bright idea strikes me over the weekend, but nothing has inspired me for today’s post. If I were a church sign, I’d be blank this week since I’ve got nothing to say.

I’ve got a list of possible blog subjects, but nothing stood out. I looked through my computer’s blog file to read through some unfinished articles. Some are pretty good, but I need more time to develop them fully.

I’ve prayed about it, expecting the Lord to show me what to write. That’s what happens frequently, but not this week. With my Bible open, finding great verses, I decided I’d like to look at some other supplemental resources for some extra pizazz. But time’s running out.

Someone recently asked me, “What’s your superpower?” That’s a thing people do these days. I said with some snark, “My superpower is procrastination.” I’m really good at it and have a long history to prove it. I always said I work better under pressure.

In college, I turned in every term paper after the deadline. I guess I had enough potential and personality to get by with it and still graduate with honors. Those professors showed me so much grace.

Ask our CPA how often we file an extension for income taxes. Why do something today when you can put it off till October? The IRS doesn’t have much grace.

Often the root cause of procrastination is perfectionism. It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true. Being perfectionistic doesn’t mean you think you’re perfect. That might be diagnosed as narcissistic, so if you think you’re perfect, you’re not.

A person with a severe case of perfectionism may never start a project, never try something new, never meet their goals, and never feel a sense of completion or satisfaction. All of us are imperfect people, thanks to the Fall, but perfectionists have a hard time accepting their limitations. If they can’t be perfect, and what they do can’t be perfect, why try? It’s a house of cards with many other painful consequences.

I’m glad the Lord uses imperfect human beings to do His work. In fact, He uses us, not only in spite of those imperfections but because of them. We bring something unique to the table that no one else can offer. We are all Wounded Healers, to use Henri Nouwen’s term. Our flaws and wounds may speak to the needs of someone else’s deficiencies, and vice versa. (2 Corinthians 1:4) We need each other. That’s how we love each other.

John Wesley believed the Christian life of discipleship was one in which we are “going on to perfection.” (Matthew 5:48) When we live our lives loving God and our neighbor (Mark 12:30-31), that’s being on the road to perfection, not that we have arrived yet. And it’s not by our own efforts and actions, but by the indwelling Spirit of Christ (Galatians 2:20) as we become conformed to His image. (Romans 8:29)

This is not the same thing as perfectionism, which has both an inflated view of self and an abased view of the self at the same time. What a burden! Wesley’s ideas about the sanctification process taking us toward perfection have more to do with Divine grace than our human abilities.

So, I’ll end this post here since I have nothing to say this week. Maybe my little five loaves and two fish can be useful in spite of myself. That’s abundant grace too.

Shalom, Dottie

9 thoughts on “Perfectionism

  1. I don’t think you perfect my friend; just the closest thing I’ll meet to it in this life! 😀 Sometimes, the inspiration just won’t come. It happens to me too. I try and stay a few blog posts ahead, so that when it strikes (and it always seems to at the most inopportune time), I’ve got “one in the can” that I can pull out and use. It doesn’t always work; heart surgery for example has a way of working through one’s backlog of blog posts, but by God’s grace, I eventually get my reserves caught back up. Now, if I could only figure out how to do that with my savings. 🙂 Have a blessed week and I look forward to your next “Six on Saturday” post ma’am. God’s blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks, but I’m afraid of heights, J.D, so I’m gonna hop off that pedestal real quickly. Your backlog is a great idea, but I can’t seem to finish one unless I have a real deadline. I try not to send out a dreadful post knowingly, so I have sometimes skipped a few. Maybe I can try to take your example and have a few “in the can.” Blessings.

    Like

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