Friday, January 10, 2014

Finding Good Enough

Photo taken by arien
I am a perfectionist.

Not the kind that does everything perfectly, but the kind that gets anxiety when things aren't perfect. 

When I see a flaw I feel shame. I feel the need to repent. I want to crawl into a hole and lament.

It is the perfect first ingredient in making an anorexic. When I was eating only one meal a day, I felt in control. The little mistakes didn’t hurt as much because my body was in perfect discipline. The best days were when I never even felt hungry. I took Jesus’ words, “Deny yourself and follow me” a little too literally.

Then I found recovery.

First on the agenda was acceptance. I was not perfect. I would make mistakes. I had flaws. The point was to grow from mistakes and strengthen my weaknesses. Jesus knew I was filled with shortcomings. That is why God sent him.

To fulfill the Law.
To make me free.
He was perfect so I didn’t have to be.

Photo taken by chelle
The most important application of this new flaw filled life was the need to accept “good enough.” Often I wouldn’t start a project because I knew mistakes would be made. I would measure once and then cut twice. In painting, the outside of my hand would pick up a dollop of wet color and smear it outside the lines. I would panic. Wanting to throw it all away and try again I would hear Holy Spirit’s sweet words:

“It’s an opportunity.”

The blob of paint became a flower.

See, the point was not a perfect project. The point was showing up. Starting, working through the middle and then finishing.

So armed with this new discipline, I began to manage life.
Housework- good enough.
Cooking-good enough.

Now, marriage is not perfect. In fact, it is the opposite of perfect. Marriage is exasperating, refining, puzzling and laughter filled. One of my major snags with Counting Mutant is this:

He’s an accountant.

Photo taken by clarita
 An auditor to be precise. He loves to look at a pattern and find the flaw, then point it out so it can be fixed. Then… perfection. With his wisdom and logic, short comings can easily be rectified. Mistakes can be fixed. All of the columns add up.

Earlier this week I talked about my new found freedom of falling. He lovingly messaged me a few errors I might like to rectify. Of course I immediately felt hurt. Vulnerable.  Then I walked through the mantras:

I need to take criticism well.
It is for my own good.
It’s not personal.
He loves me, that’s why he points out my flaws.

Then Holy Spirit turned on that light of understanding:

A Perfectionist married an Auditor.

I realized it wasn’t personal. It was simply a clash of perfectionism. I looked at the critique again. Fixed what I thought was important. Not every mistake needs to be fixed. Sometimes they are left to remind us of grace.

To teach us about Good Enough.


  1. Wow. That was a moving post. It spoke to me. I'm a "recovering" perfectionist as well. The sick cycle of giving up because something's not perfect, then feeling shame, then pacifying the shame with alcohol, or food restriction, or food indulgence....all too familiar. Still working on balance with myself, my self-image. Always a work in progress. I'm good when I'm good. or I run into a trigger, and I spiral. I scramble...pick up the pieces. Rebuild.

    weird cuz I'm working on a guest post for another blogger and chose this very subject.

    1. In my early days of this, I would say to my self-think Dustin Hoffman's Rainman voice- "Good enough. Good enough... yup. definitely good enough."

      The fact that you are picking up the pieces and rebuilding is fantastic! I can't wait to read your post.


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