I thought it was in my past. It was over. Done. Then a Valentine’s day escapade left me sitting on our kitchen floor, crying. And I knew I had a problem.
Exactly one year ago I realized perfectionism still had it’s hold on me.
After my holiday melt down, I wrote this reflection and I want to share it with you as we explore what it looks like to let our perfectionism go. What it looks like to actually embrace our imperfections.
Recognition is vital to change. This was my moment of recognition last year.
On Valentines Day, I took a picture of the valentines we – excuse me – I made for a couple of Harper’s friends. I posted the picture on Instagram and Facebook and received all kinds of positive feedback from my “mommy-friends”.
Immediately, I was struck by truth from the Holy Spirit: this looks perfect… but you know, Audi, it was not perfect. Other women need to be reminded of this.
I had pure intentions. I had set out to create activities Harper and I could do together, to bond over. But I had imagined this perfect craft day in my head for so long, I became determined for it to happen exactly as I pictured. We made hand painted cards, kid valentines and considered baking something yummy. But by the time it came to baking, we had already had a major melt down. And by “we”, I mean ME.
In my flurry to create that perfect craft day, I didn’t notice my little girl needed me to slow down. I had become Major General Audi Swift. The result: a major tantrum and I wound up on the kitchen floor, with tears streaming down my face. The tides of perfectionism and comparison had pulled me in.
Later that night, mulling over our catastrophe, I was struck by a few things:
- I had set out that day to be perfect, not real, but perfect. I had fallen for the trap of comparing myself to other mommy-friends who always do the craft-holiday thing well, and their kids seem to be completely compliant with the process. I was going to bulldoze my way to the same result if I had to.
- I had allowed myself to get too busy and too overwhelmed to stop and respond appropriately to the specific needs of my child. I forget that my day needs to allow for fluidity. Sometimes the check list needs to wait.
- I also, and most importantly, realized I had misplaced my priorities. Reading my Bible and praying were on the back burner. Without intentional focus on these things and listening to the Holy Spirit, I am lost. Chaos and confusion set in.
I read a quote recently by Theodore Roosevelt that said,
“Comparison is the thief of joy”.
This is the truth: We live in a culture that thrives on comparing people, looks, talents, worth, status, careers, etc. It’s easy for us, as women, to get trapped in this. Comparison plagues and poisons us.
Everything within me says Jesus never intended this for us!
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:14
It is my prayer today that our souls may know this very well, we are fearfully and wonderfully made. I want to grow to appreciate who God has created us to be, to be grateful for the gifts and talents He has given me, and to be joyful for the gifts and talents He has given others.
When have you found yourself comparing yourself to others? Would you join me in laying aside the facade of perfectionism and not allow comparison to steal your joy?
© 2012 Standing on Peace