Friday, January 16, 2009

Confessions of a Perfectionist

A few days ago I talked about reading that book, Martha to the Max, about being a perfectionist. It was at the moment of reading that book that I realized most of what I have been struggling with lately has been because of trying to do everything so perfect. This realization has honestly brought freedom. The truth sets us free! And that's definitely what God is doing in my life, taking those shackles of perfectionism off of me. I know I still have a lot to learn, but I'm growing!

For the past 3 days I have:

  • enjoyed "tea-time" in the afternoon (this is amazing for a lot of reasons, one being that I don't normally even *like* tea, and two, because I actually look forward to just sitting and reading during this time)

  • relaxed in my house-keeping (let's just say I let things "pile up" and sit around longer than I normally would--and I really didn't care. I made up my mind that if someone came over and saw the mess, that I didn't have to give them a reason for my mess)

  • have spent less time on the computer (this means I'm not procrastinating. I often find myself wasting time on the computer because of feeling like a discouraged perfectionist)

The other day I was thinking about what I was like as a child. I have some memories of being a young perfectionist:

  • When I was in 5th grade I organized the clothes in my closet by color and brand. I had a handy-dandy notebook where I wrote each brand of clothing and what order they went in. It was SO hard keeping up with this organization system, but I was able to do it for some time. This was something I thought of all on my own. My parents were divorced at this point and I lived with my mom...and my mom is NOTHING like this.

  • When I was old enough to know how to read Berenstain Bear books, (probably at least 5), I read the one about the Messy Room. It was my favorite one because at the end of the story the little bears cleaned up their room and had these super cool storage containers in their closet labeled with what was supposed to go inside. At that young of an age I thought that was a fabulous idea! And for many years I dreamed of my dad building a storage/organizational unit for my closet (never happened).

  • You could often find me organizing my mom's kitchen counter. I liked to separate everything into piles...and then I would get in trouble later for "losing" stuff. *cough*

  • I reorganized my crayon box by color.

I really think this is just part of my personality. It doesn't make me wrong. Even though I have found some freedom in this area of my life doesn't mean I'm going to get rid of my organization system and all of the ways that I do things. God has made me this way for a reason and He wants me to flourish in this "gift", not have it control me.

It's not always fun living this way...when I CHOOSE to be a perfectionist-freak, I get tense and I get so stressed that it starts to affect my health. The holidays were nice, but I think I could honestly say I didn't enjoy them so much. It's actually kind of comical to remember how I acted. I would want everything to be perfect. For three days in a row we had a dinner at our home. I needed help, but when I was asked if I needed help, I would act like I had it all together. Why? Because I thought that if I didn't do it myself it wouldn't turn out wouldn't be perfect. Ugh! So guess what Christina did? She pushed herself to the limit in trying to make everything perfect, and after the last of the 3 days and meals were over, she collapsed in exhaustion and had a cold. So not worth it!! And I really feel so bad for those who were around me during this time because I don't think I was much fun to be around. I feel like I totally lost focus of what the whole point of the holidays are. I wasn't doing/living "the one thing".

Tonight we are having company for dinner...and I'm going to relax. I'm going to make a mess and not care! And I'm going to let those around me help me and I'm not going to care if they don't do it MY way. It may be easier said than done, but I'm going to aim high.


Ashley C. Newell said...

Your stories are great. I loved Berenstein Bears too! Are you a virgo? My hubby is and he's a perfectionist too!

Odette said...

Hi Christina, I really appreciate your comment on my card! I made that dry embossing using nestabilities, from Spellbinders, they are simply great.