I’m sure nobody likes it, but there is a certain sector of the population that has been stricken with perfectionism and they have a particular aversion to failing. When they fail it makes their skin crawl and their insides shake, causing them to wish that the earth would open up and swallow them. That kind of aversion.
Apparently I belong to that sector.
Several years ago I made a bad judgment call. It led to a misunderstanding and the result was an upset in a relationship that I valued greatly. I wasn’t the only one at fault, I felt wronged also and the whole thing made me mad at everyone involved. But mostly with myself. I should have known better. If only I had made a different decision. If only I had listened to my first instinct. If only, if only, if only. But I didn’t. I had failed.
I apologized for my lack of good judgment. The others apologized for theirs and I forgave everyone involved. Except myself.
This gets really psycho- babble-ish but stay with me here…
I was angry with myself. I didn’t even realize I was doing this but I projected my own disappointment with myself to God. If I was disappointed in me…then He must be disappointed too. Letting that fester for too long ended up with me feeling very disconnected from Him. That is not a good place to be.
It was all over a really small incident but that’s what perfectionism does. It exaggerates and accuses.
Here is how Wikepedia describes it:
Perfectionism, in psychology, is a personality trait characterized by a person’s striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high performance standards, accompanied by overly critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations.
As I grew through this process I redefined perfectionism for myself as it pertains to me.
Perfectionism – a personality trait caused by pride in which I think that I am above failing which is not realistic so when I fail as I inevitably do I decide that I will take the place of God and judge myself for my shortcomings therefore negating the redemptive work of the cross.
That definitely doesn’t sound as noble as the first definition. Yet, that is ultimately what I am saying when I don’t extend grace to myself for failure. If God is forgiving and graceful who am I to not extend that same grace to myself? (This works when we judge others too but that’s another blog for another day)
Ironically the one who is Perfect does not expect us to be perfect. He came to redeem our imperfection!
Failure does not define you.
Just because you fail it does not mean that you are a failure. It means that you are human. Bring your imperfections to the cross and let the redemptive blood of Jesus do it’s work.
Be kind to yourself and embrace your imperfection.
Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. ~ Romans 3:24 NLT
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