The Mess that is Perfection

Lately I have been a jumble of emotions, thoughts, words, and last night, tears.  Be forewarned… this post is likely to be a mess as well.

I just feel like I can’t sort anything out.

One thought that keeps returning to me lately is that I am a disappointment to myself.

Last night my husband told me that I am a perfectionist – by way of an explanation as to why I disappoint myself every day.

He’s right.

As anyone who has been to my house, or seen me at the grocery store on a Saturday in my sweats – I’m not a perfectionist in every area of my life.  But I expect perfection from myself when it comes to my behavior, following rules, how I parent, and my marriage.  The problem is that I am not perfect – far from it.  Thus…disappointment.  (And, not to mention, a couple of those things involve other people who are not perfect, either!)

What do you think of or feel when you read the verse, Matthew 5:48 “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”?  I feel failure.  I feel disappointment.  I feel guilt.

I know in my head that no one is perfect.  The bible says, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” in Romans 3:23.  And I know God loves me, despite my shortcomings. 

But I still have a hard time reconciling this issue in my head.  Yes, God loves me as I am.  But doesn’t He expect me to be better?  To become more like Christ?  I know that I won’t be sinless this side of heaven.  But shouldn’t I be getting better?  Shouldn’t I NOT be dealing with the same issues over and over again?

God loves me.  Yet my sin grieves Him (Isaiah 63:10).  Wouldn’t He love me better if I was getting closer to being perfect?

Perfection has created a mess in my life.  I don’t live up to my own expectations.  The problem is, I don’t know how to change.  In my saner moments, I can, in my brain, acknowledge this.  But thinking it and feeling it, or having it change my behavior, are two different things. 

Pastor Andy had a great sermon yesterday – I felt like it was meant for me.  But it was also frustrating.  He spoke about letting God’s Holy Spirit change us, renew our minds, so that our lives don’t have to be defined by our issues. 

But HOW?  I feel like I’m doing what I can to allow the Holy Spirit to change me … I read the bible most every day, I pray daily and specifically.  Why am I not changing????  What is the key that I’m missing to make these changes happen? 

How do I lower my expectations for myself?  How do I change my behavior so I am closer to being who God wants me to be without continually being frustrated with myself?  And how do I deal with that frustration when it comes without spiraling into depression?  How do I stop thinking “I should be…” and start thinking “God wants me to…”?  And in the case of that last question, what if the two are the same and I just don’t WANT to?  What then?

Sorry for dumping all my emotions out on the “virtual” table here.  But when I started blogging, I felt like it was important to be open – and this is what I’m dealing with now.  Does anyone else deal with these issues?  How did you / how do you work through them?

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4 thoughts on “The Mess that is Perfection

  1. Pingback: …feeling better… « Ledbytheshepherd's weblog

  2. I read this a while back and meant to comment on it and never did. This really resonated with me. I can totally relate! And I really appreciated you sharing this & being open. It’s nice to know that others struggle with similar things. I wish I had some good answers for how I deal with it. I just feel the same as you. So I guess we just keep praying and working through it. And let me know if you come up with some good solutions!!

    • Manda,
      Although I’m not glad you struggle with this stuff (cause it can be hard, for sure), it IS nice to know I’m not alone! Thanks for speaking up. Some of the stuff in my post today, I think, is God’s way of helping me through it. Hopefully it’ll help you, too!
      Steph

  3. Pingback: Paradigm Shift | Led By The Shepherd

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