I’m a perfectionist. I don’t say this with any level of pride. Being a perfectionist causes unnecessary stress, anxiety, and unrealistic personal expectations. It pushes me to do my best at everything yet anything less than what I consider to be perfect can cause me to feel like I’ve failed. Sounds like a lot, right? Why on earth would anyone choose to be THIS way?! Fellow perfectionists know it often comes from being made to feel at some point that your best wasn’t good enough. “Maybe if I try just a little bit harder, I’ll get the approval I need,” is often the mantra of a perfectionist. Sounds exhausting, right? It is!
I recently just finished a wonderful book by Max Lucado that focuses on Philippians 4 which reminds us not to be anxious about anything (see my last blog). I read one sentence that, while being so simple, was so significant, and it’s the inspiration for this particular blog. Instead of giving you the whole sentence, I’ll give you the two significant words that I pray will help you through this upcoming week and any challenges you may be facing. Are you ready? Here it is.
“Well I know that Favor! I didn’t need your blog to tell me something I already know! Of course, I’m human!” Okay, now that we got that out the way let’s dig a little deeper.
Life has thrown a lot our way since the beginning of the year. And I mean A LOT. My guess is that at least once during the past month you’ve had a day, or two, or five, where you have felt just completely overwhelmed, mentally exhausted, and just flat out done! I’m going to also guess that in some of (or all of) these moments, you have felt a level of insecurity, some moments of self-doubt, and even days of feeling like you don’t know what the heck to do. You know what this means? It means you’re human.
My blog, my mentoring group, and my YouTube channel are all centered around the same theme…getting fit in your purpose. I’m a strong advocate for individuals uncovering what their God given purpose is in life and living out that purpose. I’m in the early stages of this and experiencing the fulfillment and blessings that comes from this. That being said, this doesn’t just happen overnight and without some bumps and bruises along the way.
When life throws craziness, insanity, and chaos our way, we’re going to experience the negative feelings and stressors that will naturally come. And if you fall anywhere close into the category of a perfectionist like me, then you’ll fully understand that toll that disappointment can take on you. What then do you do? Do you fold? Do you throw your hands up in defeat and give up? Do you turn in your parental badge and the let the kids fend for themselves for the day (oh yes, been there)! You can do all the above or you can do something a bit simpler. And that is this…remember that you’re human.
Not one person walking around this planet is perfect. The only One who is perfect sits on the throne in heaven and provides us with ample amounts of grace and mercy for all those imperfect moments. The One who is perfect has NEVER required us to be perfect and as a matter of fact, sent His one and only Son to die on the cross for us in order to give us all salvation (see John 3:16). That alone should give us a level of peace to find rest in the midst of chaos.
Remembering that we’re human should not only release the pressure off of ourselves, but it should increase our empathy and understanding towards each other. Just like we understand that we ourselves are not perfect and are simply human, the same courtesy should be given to the people we encounter.
The person you encounter at the store who may be ringing up your groceries a bit slower than you’d prefer—they’re human (and may be worrying about their sick elderly mother). The worker at the restaurant who may have messed up your order—they’re human (and may be hoping their paycheck will be enough to cover their rent increase). The coworker who didn’t email you back immediately is simply human (and may be balancing life working from home as a single parent while all her kids are home). You get the point.
We’re all human and this leaves room for error. But if we give ourselves a pass, we should strive to give the same courtesy to those around us.
My perfectionism isn’t going away anytime soon. But I find peace knowing that it’s okay to be human and allow myself the moments of imperfection. I pray this upcoming week or month, you show yourself kindness and when you start to come down on yourself a bit hard because you didn’t get it “quite right” or you didn’t respond the “right way,” simply take a deep breath and say those two words. “I’m human!” (A perfectly imperfect human. 🙂 )
Ecclesiastes 7:20 CEB “Remember, there’s no one on earth so righteous as to do good only and never make a mistake.”