Thursday, 22 December 2011

Perfectionism

One of the hardest things I struggle with is perfectionism.  Yet I don't have the energy or ability to live up to my own expectations or what I perceive to be the expectations of others.

I'm like a Type A personality and whatever the opposite is...a Type Z personality locked up in the same body in constant battle.  I'm like Mary and Martha in an eternal battle...lol.

I want to be an organised Flylady-type with fantastic cooking skills, amazing crafts, all my photos in date order in pretty matching photo albums, and I think if I just made the extra effort, just got up a little earlier, I would achieve this and stop being the failure that I am.

To read that in black-and-white it sounds so silly.

This is what I am like in my faith.  I WANT to be all that the scriptures tell me to be - or all I perceive the scriptures tell me to be.  And yet, like everyone, I fail.  Instead of picking myself up, repenting and getting on with it, I want to run away.  I want to hide.  I want to sit in a big anonymous cathedral and it just be me and Jesus chatting together like friends without all the pressure to perform that I seem to place on myself.

I was reminded of a picture I had a few years ago...not a painting but something that came into my head when I was struggling with this battle before.  Call it a vision, a dream or simply my imagination, but it helped me and I thank God for that.

There's this chap, and he's digging a well to find water.  It's a hot day and he is labouring and labouring.  His head is down, he's desperate to find that water, he's digging deeper and deeper getting more and more exhausted.  Sometimes he thinks he's getting close, the soil seems wet, so he works harder.  But he never reaches water.

Not far off is the most beautiful fountain of clear shining water springing from the ground.  No man has dug a well it's a natural spring of water.  If the man would just lift his head for a moment he'd see it.  But instead he keeps digging.

Sometimes I dwell under the illusion that I have to work and work to reach God, to be at peace with Jesus, and when I have the energy I feel I am achieving it, I'm getting close!...but then *splat* back to earth I fall.  There's no way God is going to allow me to rest on my own ability for long because...

God's gift of grace, mercy and love is free.  The work of the cross is free.  The resurrection and promise of eternal life is free.  Our only work is to lift our heads and believe.


[Jesus came to set us free!]

Thus says the LORD:

      “ In an acceptable time I have heard You,
      And in the day of salvation I have helped You;
      I will preserve You and give You
      As a covenant to the people,
      To restore the earth,
      To cause them to inherit the desolate heritages;
That You may say to the prisoners, ‘Go forth,’
      To those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’
 
They shall feed along the roads,
And their pastures shall be on all desolate heights.
They shall neither hunger nor thirst,
Neither heat nor sun shall strike them;
For He who has mercy on them will lead them,
Even by the springs of water He will guide them.Isaiah 49:9(b),10

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.
Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
Incline your ear, and come to Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—
The sure mercies of David. Isaiah 55:1-3

4 comments:

  1. Your vision reminds me of the things that Wendy (of the Bluebird of Happiness) used to write about.

    I think most women have a Mary/Martha split personality.

    God knows we aren't perfect - that is the reason for His overwhelming grace.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wrongly or rightly I shy away from 'vision', but whatever it was, as I said, it helped. I wonder what has become of Wendy? I hope she's OK.

    'His overwhelming grace' - I know it to be true, if I was perfect I wouldn't need grace...but in His grace I am made perfect in Christ. It's a hard one to get one's brain around sometimes.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I struggle with perfectionism too and it is NOT a good thing. I've been thinking about it and I think at the root of perfectionism is pride. I've been observing that either pride or fear are at the root of most sins. And the Bible has LOTS to say about both.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I know that I suffer with both, when my house is untidy my first thought is, "If someone comes round what will they think?" I suppose that's mix of fear and pride.

    I know that God can overcome my sense of failure because He is my strength and I should let Him be so rather than trying to be something I can't be. :)

    I feel a lot better since I've written it all out, it helps to remember God's promises.

    ReplyDelete