that time I stopped trying to be amazing (and how my whole world exhaled)

A decade ago, I applied for a job and took a personality inventory. The hiring employee, also my future boss, came back with the results and commented, "Wow, Becky. Some perfectionistic tendencies going on."

I was genuinely surprised. Me? A perfectionist? Surely not. Perfectionists can keep their dorm room clean and finish homework weeks early. Perfectionists have toys still in their original boxes and calendars that they fill out (and don't lose) and laundry days. Perfectionists know their debit card number and fill out their checkbook registry and generally have it together.

Me, a perfectionist? Not even close.

But years later, years and years of getting to know myself, I've finally learned that perfectionism isn't in executing everything perfectly. Perfectionism is in the urge and the guilt and the self-expectation that perfection is the standard. 

And here I am, at thirty-two years old, finally realizing that for so many years, I was a perfectionist. I couldn't shake this feeling that I was a mess, that I couldn't keep it all together, that I was failing on every front. I had this horrible suspicion in the back of my head that I brought nothing to the table, that I was a liability, that I would never be enough. 

I didn't want to be healthy; I wanted to be amazing. 

And then somewhere along the way, I began to let that go. I began to write about being myself and transparency and figuring out who I am. I began to live outside of expectations and embrace my freedom in Christ, and try to believe the radical notion that He is Enough and I am enough and that is all enough. 

This all came full circle today when I was standing in my kitchen (which is a disaster of almost-needing-an-intervention proportions), when I thought. I'm so glad that I'm done with amazing. Faithful is the new amazing.

Amazing? Not so much. 

But faithful? That's something I can chase every day. That's something that clarifies things for me. That's something I will gladly give my life to. I know who I am. I know what God is asking of me right now- and I can be faithful in the midst of that.

Homeschool days falling apart, kids crying over spelling, schedule out the window and heart issues needing attention...I can be faithful in that.

House askew, kitchen just plain nuts, laundry needing attention...I can be faithful in that. 

The call to love with my whole heart, the urge to be about grace, the joy of living free...I can be faithful in that. 

Amazing was about me. Faithful is about others, about Christ in me, about abundant life right here.

And then my world exhaled. 

Thankfully, I found that when I wasn't trying to be amazing, I could dare to do crazy things like abandon dishes to dance with my kids and push aside nothings to love others and write things for me, just for me, because it speaks to me when I write them.  In search of faithful I can invite others into the chaos and forge friendships that intimidate me and seek first the Kingdom, not for attention or facebook shout outs or pats on the back, but for real. 

Oh, friend. So many of you may be chasing amazing, and you may even be pulling it off fairly well. But let me just say, I've crossed over to something new, and life over here is, well, it's amazing. 

Feel free to join me. I hope you will. 

1 comment:

Erica said...

So here's something I've been pondering--I wonder if the desire for perfect is one of the small ways God has placed eternity in our hearts. I feel like the desire for things to finally be the way they are supposed to be, not always flawed, not always marred by sin, not always shaded by poor motives on my part, etc--I feel like that is what drives me to long for heaven and finally being with Perfection Himself. Not in an escapist way, but just holding loosely to the things I wish were perfect, knowing they will not yet be fulfilled. I'm not sure I have these thoughts fully fleshed out yet, but it's been on my brain lately, and your post reminded me of that.