I read recently biting your fingernails is a sign of perfectionism. It helps soothe boredom and frustration. I have been plagued with this socially unacceptable behavior my whole life. But what strikes me as ironic, if I am trying so hard to be perfect, I have mangled my fingers which in turn look so imperfect. I then suffer from the pain of my bleeding fingers, hide them all the while feeling shame and complete embarrassment. Isn’t this just a crazy example how perfectionism is such a lie?
I have this overwhelming need to be moving and doing something rather than nothing. This is one of the very reasons it is so hard for me to be still and wait on God. I completely identify with Martha and her plight. She struggled to have everything perfect while Jesus was at her house. She was so annoyed at Mary, her sister, who did nothing to help and sat at his feet listening to what he said. And to her dismay, when she complained to Jesus, he told her Mary had chosen what was better. He also told Martha to stop being so upset, distracted by her preparations and to quit worrying about things that didn’t matter. (Luke 10:40-42)
How many times have you felt like Martha? Distracted by preparations or worrying about laundry and those closets you never seem to get to? When I think about the time I have wasted just obsessing about the work necessary for my family, I realize just how much I have lost in fellowship with them. That is exactly what happened to Martha. Mary was in the moment with Jesus. She understood few things were needed for his visit other than listening to him and building a closer relationship.
Being perfect is the perfect lie. We can’t be perfect no matter how hard we try. Just the struggle of perfectionism can urge us to develop nasty habits or destroy us. But, what I do know, if we ask Jesus to help us when these urges start we can react differently. When that feeling of fear of failure starts to take over, we can turn it over to him to wash us with his strength and peace. In time we will begin to believe through him, we are enough even with all of our imperfections. That driving force to make our surroundings perfect will subside in time. See, we are all broken and imperfect. The only thing that puts us back together is Jesus. If we are never still and busy preparing for him, we will never experience him. (Psalm 46:10)
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you so much for the lessons Jesus taught us. We appreciate the lesson of balancing the great gifts given to us. Please give us strength and peace when we are fighting our fear of failure. Please take the idol of perfectionism away from us and help us to accept where we are in our lives. Continue to help us rely on you more so we can become closer to you in the coming days.
We ask this in Jesus Christ name,