Less Than Perfect
Lessening Your Load
Today: Find another area of your life that you can cut back, do less well, or give up on altogether – either permanently or just for the duration of The Me Project – in order to give you the time and space to pursue your goal.
Look at what my friend Ann had to say about her battle with perfectionism:
“If you can’t do it right, don’t do it at all.” My grandfather said that when I was less than 10 years old. I was sweeping the driveway to help clean the garage.
Oosh! Little did I know that the seed of perfectionism planted so early in my life would stay with me so long. I tend to want to do everything really well, an all or nothing person. I still struggle with the notion that my house doesn’t have to be perfect for company. Typically I am overwhelmed with housecleaning because it’s just too much to keep it perfect so I tend to let it go to the backburner. Someone said to me, “If you found out Mother Theresa had a messy house would that change how you view her good deeds or her as a person?” When I almost answered yes I realized I had some work to do on myself.
Lately I have learned to let go of the perfectionism. Listen to what my husband and kids really need instead of what I want. My daughter wants play dates. Okay let’s get the house picked up, but don’t stress about the overhead dusting, they are only six years old!
My struggle with perfectionism really came into focus one Sunday morning. One line from that morning’s sermon really jumped out at me: “If I could give you one thing it would be that you could see yourself as God sees you. Our loving, forgiving Father would not, I suppose, say some of the things we say to ourselves, stupid, ugly, lazy, etc. Only when we have the love of God and experience the love He has for us by forgiving and loving ourselves, not in a narcissistic way, can we truly love our brothers and sisters as Jesus taught us.”
I’m not sure why at that moment his words sank in and had profound meaning for me. (Perhaps it was because the kids were sick and weren’t with me so I could actually hear what was being said!) To love myself unconditionally the way I love my own children seemed so foreign yet so simple.
Am I still a perfectionist? Yes, I still have those urges to lift the burner pans and clean under the stove each night even though no one can see under there. The difference is now I can say, it’s okay to play tag in the house with my kids and forgive myself for leaving a pan on the stove a little while longer. I can focus on the things that are truly important, instead of responding to the unreasonable – and ungodly – self talk from before.
Do you struggle with perfectionism? I do in some areas – and I know it is all fear based and a control issue. Ugh. But if I can do ONE LESS THING that doesn’t need to be done – not only am I freeing my time – I’m freeing myself.
Tell us in the comments below one thing that you put on your Not-To-Do-List and why and you could win the book Out of the Spin Cycle: Devotions to lighten your Mother Load
She and her husband Roger are the parents of four young adults in San Jose, CA. When she’s not dating her husband or hanging out with her puggle Jake, Kathi is speaking at retreats, conferences and women’s events across the US.