By: Staci Stallings
I don’t care who you are, you know that perfection stinks. If you are a perfectionist, you know as well as I do that no matter how hard you try, nothing is ever right enough. If you get within two feet of perfection in one area, there are three more right behind it to show you how imperfect you really are. Maybe, however, you are on the other side of that sword. Maybe you know someone who is perfect (not really, but they sure put on a good show). Of course, when you are around them, you can’t help but feel less than no matter what you do.
Perfection is a piece of baggage I carried for a long time. It was heavy, and it was bulky. No matter what I did, how successful I was, I still heard Satan whispering, “Yes, but it isn’t perfect.” Of course, it wasn’t perfect. God didn’t make us perfect. If He had, there would’ve been no need for the cross and Calvary. In fact, I think that even Adam and Eve weren’t perfect. I think even they had flaws, but before the fall, they also had something else—a deep understanding that God loved them just as they were no matter what.
I think that is one of the heaviest bags a perfectionist carries—the belief that no one could really love them if they aren’t perfect. They spend their lives with their spirits in chains because of this. They hold onto the core belief that even God could not love someone so flawed. With this belief dogging their heels, they do their absolute level best to convince the world that they have no flaws.
Floors? They are spotless. Kids? They don’t make mistakes. Dress? Ironed, pressed, creased. Life? In hand down to the last minute. They have no worries, no fears, no problems.
That’s what non-perfectionists looking in do not see. They do not see the fear, and so they assume there isn’t any. They assume that there must be something wrong with them because they do feel fear. They assume that somehow they are less than because they can’t be perfect like X.
Lies. It’s all lies. Hideous, odious, spirit-crushing lies all around.
Dragging perfection through life is a cross that keeps getting heavier and heavier because the perfectionist can never be real. They can never let others see the truth because they know their perfection is a lie. So on top of perfection, the lies start building. To those looking on, these lies only exacerbate the guilt they feel, and so the lies add weight after weight to them as well.
There is a way to break through these lies, but it’s not easy. It takes the perfectionist admitting first to him or herself and then to others that they are not perfect. It is letting others see that their house isn’t always in perfect order, that sometimes they are unorganized, that they have fears and worries just like everyone else. For those looking on, this requires being a soft place to fall, reiterating to the perfectionist that they are loved no matter what.
Either one can start the process but it takes both to make it come full circle. The perfectionist must admit they are not perfect, and the others must admit that’s okay. It’s worth the work if you can ever get past the fear of jumping into real and leaving the fiction of perfection behind.