The Perfection Trap
- Tuesday, August 13, 2013
It seems that every time I muster up the energy to attempt to clean my house, I keep finding new ‘projects’ that I feel I should add to my to-do list, which is already miles long. ‘Wow, I really need to organize this closet’ or ‘What is that smell in the fridge?’ or ‘Oh, I really want to make this recipe I printed out from Pinterest!’ Tons of “I want to”s and “I Should”s and “If only”s flood my mind and I then I start to get frustrated with myself for all the things that I just never get to.
If I could just be disciplined enough to keep my house clean regularly, I would be less stressed. If I could just make it to the gym every day, I’d feel more confident about myself. If I could just keep my eating clean, I would have the energy to do everything I need to do. If I could wake up early every day to read my Bible, I’d be in a lot better of a mood. If I could just have it all together, life would be so much better!
I find myself asking God “Will I ever have it all together?” and I feel as if He answers back “No, you aren’t supposed to. That’s why you need to lean on Me.” Ouch. You mean, I can’t do it all on my own in my own strength? Well, that hasn’t worked so far!
As women, we tend to be pretty hard on ourselves and expect to do everything and do it well. Keep the house clean, grocery shop, cook meals, prep lunches, exercise regularly, be involved at church, reach out to friends, support and encourage our husbands, have regular date nights, throw perfectly planned birthday parties, study our Bibles and memorize Scriptures, maintain friendships, schedule play dates, balance work and family, attend friends and family’s get-togethers, and the list goes on and on. And while these are all notable and worthwhile things to strive for, we simply can’t balance it all perfectly, and that’s ok! God doesn’t expect us to do everything perfectly! What He does expect is that we rely on Him for the strength to do what He has called us to do. So how do we deal with all the increasing daily demands while our energy and time seems to slip away so fast?
1. Recognize the difference between “YOUR Best” and “THE Best.”
Martha Stewart sure has a gift for cooking and baking and crafts, but I can tell you that I sure don’t! My best dinner would likely be similar to a ‘mess up’ meal that she would probably just toss in the garbage (if such a meal has ever existed in her kitchen). But, my cooking has come a long way in the 7 ½ years that I’ve been married. I’ve learned things along the way, tried different techniques, experimented with different foods and have come to accept that I may not be THE best, but I’m doing MY best and that’s all God has asked me to do. Since we are all given different giftings and abilities, our best in a certain area is going to be different than someone else’s best.
In Matthew 25 Jesus taught about the parable of the talents, in which a master gave money to his servants to keep watch over while he was away. Now the master didn’t give the same amount of money to each person, but instead “he gave to each according to their ability” (vs. 15). When he came back, he was just as pleased with the servant to whom he had given more money to as the servant who had less because they were both faithful with what they had. God expects the same from us. As long as we are doing the best we can with what we have, that’s all He asks!
2. Choose joy and peace, despite imperfections and unfinished tasks.
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