Welcome back and thank you for joining me again today!
This blog post tells the story of my struggle with perfectionism in an unusual way. It is much longer than most of my blog posts will be. However, I feel this piece paints an accurate picture for anyone wanting to know what perfectionism feels like and what it does to a person. It is a conglomeration of different feelings and experiences I’ve had across the years in dealing with perfectionism. It took me a long time, however, to actually identify perfectionism as the culprit. I know there are others out who have felt the same and who may be walking this same road with me.
If you are not a perfectionist, you might want to read this anyway. It may help you understand someone who is. If you struggle with perfectionism, my guess is that you know where I am coming from.
Inside this piece of writing you can also find the keys to overcoming perfectionism. It is these keys and many other topics that we will be looking at and discussing on the blog.
I hope that this might be an encouragement to you and help you know that you are not alone if you are struggling with the same feelings in your life.
Pictures of a Journey Through Perfectionism
Perfect had me fooled for a long time.
She lied to me.
And then she taught me how to lie to myself.
She hid herself so well
In the crafty words she created
That I didn’t even realize what she was doing.
She was a shifting shadow following me everywhere I went
And she was really good at misleading me.
For a long time
Perfect moved in and out of my life
Going wherever she wanted to,
But keeping me held back.
Perfect wanted me to compare myself to others.
And she spent an inordinate amount time telling me
That I was not good enough.
She did it for so long that I began to tell myself that, too.
Perfect was really good at creating misunderstandings
And every hard thing in life seemed like a failure
Instead of a pathway to better places.
Perfect wanted it to seem that way.
Because then I would learn to tell myself
That life was more full of my failures than any successes.
Perfect told me that no one else felt like I did,
And I believed her and felt alone.
Perfect was full of pride.
She wanted me to be proud, too.
So she hid the truth from me,
And I allowed myself to be blinded by her.
Perfect wanted me on the go
All the time.
That way I would never have the time to find Quiet
Because she knew that Quiet would lead me to the One
Who would help me find a way out from under her control.
Perfect beat me down.
And sadly, I allowed her to do it.
Perfect kept pressing in
Until I felt like there was no longer any of the Me I was born with.
The harder Perfect pressed
The harder I tried
But trying harder just left me trying harder again,
This took me down a road I should have never been on,
A journey that was never intended.
Life was full of too many yeses,
That kept me so busy I didn’t have time for what was important.
But I wanted to do good things.
After all, God had called me to that, hadn’t He?
I was a people pleaser in all areas of life,
Until I spent so much time pleasing
That I didn’t even know who I was anymore.
It was a life of expectations I set so high that they could never be attained.
And there was a lot of feeling disappointed with myself
Because I thought there was always more I could have done,
And I thought that what I did do
Could have been done in a better way.
I spent countless hours being hard on myself
But it didn’t help.
It only made me miserable inside.
Sadly, I was hiding my true self.
It told everyone I was just fine,
Only deep down inside I wasn’t, really.
And Perfect wanted it that way.
Perfect would never have wanted anyone to see the real me.
Because to get there, I would have to find Courage.
Perfect did not get along with Courage
Because Perfect wanted to keep me in bondage to my fears
And Perfect knew that if others saw my Courage,
They might find their Courage, too.
And then, because Courage was with us,
We all might become brave enough to be real.
Perfect did not want that.
But then a true friend came along.
Her name was Transparency.
She fought a battle with Perfect.
It was a long and hard one.
Transparency almost lost,
But she never gave up.
Transparency was uncomfortable to be around,
But she promised that if I would learn to bear with her
The struggle inside would fade away.
She told me to stop holding on so tight to Perfect.
She said that if I would let go of Perfect
All of my relationships would be better.
She told me it was OK to tell the truth.
She said that if I would tell the truth
Others around me might, too.
We were all so much alike in some ways,
On the inside, where it couldn’t be seen.
But we were all too afraid to talk.
We were too afraid of what others would think.
And because we were so afraid to talk,
And so afraid to share our real selves,
We never saw Transparency’s friend, Understanding.
Understanding was waiting quietly for us off to the side.
Understanding would have helped us if we had let her.
But with God’s grace,
And over time,
As Transparency did her work,
Each of us found Understanding inside.
And as we overcame the fear
Just a tiny little bit at a time,
To be real.
And we found Understanding was there
In the open arms we held out to each other.
I would find myself again.
With the help of Quiet
Where I could hear what Truth had to say.
Truth gave me the right focus
And returned to me my identity,
An identity that had been lost
Because of my relationship with Perfect.
Truth taught me that my identity comes only from God.
Truth reminded me that it is His love that makes me who I am.
This is what defines me,
Not you, Perfect.
Transparency, Understanding, and Truth told me it was OK to let go of all the clutter
So that I could continue to spend time with my sweet and faithful friend, Quiet.
Courage and her twin sister Perseverance were with me
While I spent time with Quiet.
They kept me going when it got so hard that I wanted to quit.
Courage and Perseverance took my hand,
And they helped me press forward,
And they never let me go.
They believed in me.
Transparency, Understanding, Truth, Courage and Perseverance knew.
They knew Jesus would talk to me
While I was spending time with Quiet.
And it was deep inside Quiet that I realized something –
Jesus wasn’t asking me to try harder.
He was only asking me to fix my eyes on Him.
And trust Him.
And learn to love Him even more.
Jesus told me not to be afraid
He told me to define myself by how much God loved me
Instead of defining myself by the lies that Perfect told me.
I looked up then,
And found that I had a new friend.
Her name was Confidence.
Confidence gave me a new understanding
Born out of the war that had been fought with Perfect.
So now, Perfect, the tables have turned.
My time with you has only made me stronger,
Even while you were trying to beat me down
And make me weaker.
The years we spent together have resulted in a new understanding,
Even though you were wanting me all confused and torn up inside.
You wanted it that way because you wanted me to lose my identity.
I ended up finding it.
So Perfect, do you know how soundly you have been defeated?
It was Quiet that did it,
Courage and Perseverance
They have all sent you away.
The quietness of their voices,
Their patience and kindness,
Their believing in me
During the long, silent years while they waited for me,
All these things shout Truth immensely louder than all of your pitiful lies.
And the Truth,
Along with the One Who holds it,
They set me free.
You will try to come back.
And when you do,
I will recognize you.
And you will have no power over me.
So don’t even try filling me up with your lies
Because I will not listen.
And you will no longer beat me down.
Because I live my life through Jesus.
And it is God’s love that makes me who I am.
I am loved.
I am Precious.
I am a Daughter of the King!
©️2016 by Leslie Newman
Hebrews 12:1-2a (NASB) Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.
Zephaniah 3:17 (HCSB) Yahweh your God is among you, a warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will bring you quietness with His love. He will delight in you with shouts of joy.
Thank you for reading! I invite you to leave a comment. I have painted a picture here of what perfectionism feels like in my life. If you struggle with perfectionism, how does it feel in yours?
Next week we will start putting together the RESTORED Quiet Time Notebook. Check back Monday for the next blog post. I look forward to talking to you then!