Entry 016: The Pursuit of Perfection
I am an enneagram 1. If you don’t know what the enneagram is, you should check it out. I have loved having some knowledge about how I’m wired and why I respond to things the way I respond and what my motivations are for my actions. The Enneagram 1 is known as the Reformer or the Perfectionist. I tend to automatically see what can be better in any situation. This can be a gift but it can also be a curse. I’m very detail oriented, organized (most of the time), and I love lists. :) The difficulty with a perfectionist perspective is that it’s hard to complete tasks because you never feel like they are good enough. I have had a mindset that if it’s not perfect or the best then I shouldn’t even do it. Now, I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination so, you can imagine that if I’m not in a healthy place, I could constantly feel like a failure. There are so many things I could do pretty well, but because I can’t do them perfectly, I usually just don’t do them at all. Piano, for instance. I have taken piano lessons most of my life and even played a piano solo for my senior recital for my bachelor’s degree in music. But, I never play now. I just felt like I wasn’t good enough so why do it at all? Ridiculous, right? This is probably something many of us struggle with wether in our careers, our physical appearance, our homes, our hobbies or even our relationship with God. God never intended on us being perfect. In fact, he knew we would never measure up so he gave His own life for our imperfections. God’s grace fills in all of the gaps of our shortcomings and even our flat out failures.
In the Bible, many people gathered to hear Jesus teach one day and there was no food. The people were hungry. There was a boy who offered his small lunch of 5 loaves and 2 fishes. The disciples presented it to Jesus and he multiplied it and fed the thousands that were there that day and even had baskets left over. Would you consider that lunch enough for 5,000+ people? Would you consider it "perfect"? I don't think so. God takes imperfect "Not even closes" and turns them into perfect "more than enoughs".
Stop waiting for perfection. It will never come. Bring your talents, your gifts and your passions to the table as is. This is not an excuse for laziness or half preparedness. On the contrary, we should be pursuing progress instead of perfection. Anything we are doing in life should be done with the goal of becoming better at that thing. Ecclesiastes 9:10 (NIV) says, "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom." In a nutshell, life is short, so whatever you do in this life, give it your best effort, because this is your shot.
The pursuit of perfection is paralyzing. Don't be stuck waiting for something that will never come. Step out in faith and give God your little lunch and watch Him multiply it!
Lean in to Life. It’s messy, but beautiful.