“Perfectionist” is not a stereotype that I would label myself, however, there are occasions where I can be pretty insistent that I must get everything perfect. One of those is blogging. I feel like my posts always have to be insightful, profound, and thought-provoking. This is why I have a difficult time sticking with it, and writing a post can be an agonizingly long and painful process. I am working on that and trying to be less insistent that everything be absolutely perfect before I can write or post, but it is a struggle.
Another area in which I tend to have issues with perfectionism is in being a wife.I love being married. I love being a wife. I love the privileges and responsibilities that come along with that. Nevertheless, I can tend to have too great an emphasis on perfection in that role.
· Communication: If I have something to say to my husband, I must say it over in my head ten times minimum. I need to know exactly what the point I am trying to get across is and how to best say that so that he will understand where I am coming from. I must not sound like I am accusing him of anything or like I do not appreciate all he does.
· Clothes: I need to wear clothes that my husband likes. I can never wear anything that does not look good on me or that does not look especially put-together (i.e., no jeans and scoop-neck shirts). This even carries over in to sleepwear—I have cried on occasion when I cannot find some pajamas that I look good in.
· Housework: It is getting better, but housework is one area that has caused me a lot of stress. When the house is messy, I will quite often have a bit of a break down because I feel like I am failing as a wife. The house must always be clean. Dinner must always be ready on time. Everything must be organized and in its proper spot.
My tendency towards perfectionism in these areas relating to being a wife (and others), causes me stress and can sometimes make me overwhelmed with my responsibilities.
· I feel like I cannot properly say what I want to say, so I simply remain quiet. My husband never finds out what was on my mind, I remain frustrated with the situation, or give up, and we do not get a chance to grow in our communication skills.
· I spend way too much time getting dressed, when I could be doing other things (causing more stress for perfectionism #3), and focus a surplus of time on appearance. This generally causes me to feel like my husband only cares what I look like, and I sometimes even convince myself that he will not love me if I do not look attractive because of what I am wearing.
· When I get discouraged with how messy the house is, it unmotivates me from any cleaning or straightening up. I feel like I will never get done with everything, so I give up and do not even try. This makes me feel even more like a failure, which sucks the energy right out of me, and causes a vicious cycle of imperfection, feeling like a failure, being overwhelmed, and being unmotivated to do anything.
Obviously this perfectionism is not beneficial to me in any way. My husband does not expect me to be perfect, and often reminds me that it is perfectly alright that the house is somewhat messy, or that I wore a t-shirt and sweatpants to bed. God does not even expect me to be perfect—Jesus is my perfection; I cannot attain it on my own. Instead of trying to be perfect, I need to get my focus off of myself and my inadequacies, and instead keep my eyes on Jesus, the perfecter of my faith.
Grace is a lesson that I am still learning.
“Perfection is not a prerequisite for being used of God. Faithfulness and obedience, albeit imperfect, are what God asks of us.”