"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27)
After a "come to Jesus" moment with myself last night, I hit the pillow with a determination to figure out how to lessen the stress I put on myself as a wife, mom, homemaker, and employee. Something had to give.
And here I am writing this post in efforts to share something I learned about this nasty thing called...perfectionism.
Perfectionism: an attitude or behavior that takes an admirable desire and turns it into an unrealistic expectation to be perfect now. I pulled this from a talk/devotional I read this morning by Gerrit W. Gong (click here to read entire devotional) on becoming perfect in Christ and how that's different from perfectionism. This definition of perfectionism kind of rocked my world y'all. I felt like all of a sudden I had a circle of pointer-finger emojis circling round my head implicating me as a victim of this condition. I was immediately sucked in and wanted to know how the heck do I overcome that unrealistic expectation? Are you a victim of it too? Let's kick this to the curb together!
Do you have fears of being imperfect? Do you fear making mistakes? Do you feel your not good enough? Do you view yourself as a failure compared to others? Do you feel you're not doing enough to merit His love? Are you left feeling sleepless, anxious, discouraged, or depressed? These are all feelings Gong helps us navigate in his devotional on perfection.
If you are feeling any of these things to any extent, I have the most wonderful and greatest news...there is an out! We can let go of the anxiety, discouragement, and exhaustion that results from trying to live up to those unrealistic expectations. We can embrace the peace, joy, and assurance that we are enough. And we can find that relief through our Savior, Jesus Christ! Our Savior's love frees us and allows us to let go of the fears of imperfection and not adding up. His love allows us to be more forgiving of ourselves and the people around us. As we try to be more kind, humble, and selfless like our Savior was, we can be released of the pressure to be perfect. Released I tell you! Being perfected through Christ does not mean being perfect now. Being perfected through Christ means embarking on the "eternal journey of our soul" and understanding that we are here on the earth to experience lifelong refinement. It's totally refreshing if you ask me! No one is required to be perfect and guess what? No one is perfect! We are all children of God learning and growing together. We're just trying to make sense of who we are and what our purpose is.
Something else I thought was powerful in the devotional was that the harder we try to be perfect, the further we feel from the perfection we seek. Can I get an amen?! (Insert hands in the "ayer" emoji) This brought me to the word I put in the photo above: Simplify. Getting back to the basics. Filling your day with f a i t h. Filling your day with h o p e. If you don't like where you are in your life and are feeling unhappy, I challenge you to find the goodness in your circumstances. Actually get out a pen and paper and jot down some things your grateful for today. And if you can't even brainstorm one thing because you're feeling so helpless, I'll kick start that list for you...You are a child of God. And that makes you beautiful. That makes you good enough. You have something inside of you that no one else has. Harness who you are. Embrace your gifts and talents. I promise they are unique and something that no one else has to offer! Strengthen your circle of influence. Reaching out to others always seems to make us forget about ourselves. Strengthen the relationships with the people around you: your children, husband, friends, coworkers, mom, grandma, cousins, and the list goes on. Send one text today to a person you've been meaning to get in touch with or someone you just want to know is thought of and loved. It will brighten your day and it will certainly brighten their day.
Cheers to finding goodness in unexpected places, and cheers to being YOU.
❤, Ashton Tilton