Who the Son sets free, is free indeed. John 8:36
- It’s the force that keeps you from starting a diet or an exercise program.
- It’s the trap that keeps you paralyzed in front of the refrigerator because you can’t get the exact specs of a cute AND nutritional bento box nailed down for your children’s lunch.
- It’s the chains that keep a blog post from being written.
- It’s the shackles that keep your gifts hidden and your full potential dormant.
- It is PERFECTIONISM.
If we are honest with ourselves, we all strive for perfection in some form or another.
Over the past six months of sorting through my dad’s belongings, I’ve been both blessed and cursed to find some of his writing.
Reading things written by and from my dad is nothing new to me. He would write quite lengthy letters. Letters to a nine-year-old begging forgiveness. Drunken letters sent to my college dorm room. Letters from jail. Letters with the intent to hurt. Letters intended to make amends. Letters with more fiction than substance. Letters that made me sad and reminded me of what I did not have.
Said another way, these letters have done more harm than good.
In this current season, God has given me a journal that dad started when I was soon to be born. I have seen in my dad’s own words the mental struggle he went through longing to be the perfect dad, husband, son, and employee. It is extremely heartbreaking seeing how bad he wanted all this; however, I allow God to use this for GOOD in my life.
It is strangely redemptive. I am allowing this to come full circle as a way my dad can finally encourage me and guide me. It is a bit backwards, yes, but I am letting GOD speak to me perfectly through an imperfect man’s words.
Alcoholism is the biproduct and symptom of what destroyed my dad. What was it that truly gripped and shackled my father? What crippled him in such a way that rendered him ineffective? What did the enemy use against my dad? What did my dad truly fall for? It was perfectionism.
That’s a HUGE gut punch for this girl.
In my current season of life, I want so much to create something for my children that I did not have. I want everything to be just right for them and my husband. My sin is chasing after perfectionism so hard that I leave God and His Grace behind.
Now, I know that no one and no thing on Earth is perfect, but this is usually what it could look like for me:
“Tonight is a perfect night to connect as a family.”
Our work schedule has kept all four of us from eating dinner together. I have planned a home cooked meal. Then it happens. My husband is late. The kids start fighting. I burn the quesadilla. Queue the negative self-talk. Then despair. Why can’t I even do this right?! I am unworthy of this family. I can’t even take care of them.
Before I even know it, I’m in a head storm so violent that it seems impossible to break free from. I’m angry at myself and my anger overflows. For some, the next step could be to numb that pain with a harmful substance. What makes this the next step for these individuals? I know they do not want the problems this can cause. After all, they were seeking perfection. And so, the cycle begins and continues.
My dad did not want to be an alcoholic. He wanted to live up to his own and other peoples’ expectations of him. He was seeking perfection.
And…. So am I. I seek perfection more than God’s Peace.
But that doesn’t have to be the end of the story.
The one-way pursuit of perfection is heartbreaking. It is unattainable and it does not satisfy. Instead, I choose to trade perfection for God’s Perfect Peace.
Dear Lord, I surrender my strife for Your Peace. Set me free from this never-ending quest for perfectionism. I lay this down at the foot of the cross.
I need your peace when life goes differently than planned.
I need your gift of peace that is independent of my performance.
I need your perfect peace in my imperfection.
I need peace that surpasses all understanding.
Pray with me,
Dear Lord, thank you for allowing me to rest in Your Perfect Peace that you freely give me. I am free because of You. Now I can be who you created me to be.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
Lindsay is a graduate of both Carson-Newman University, holding a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and East Tennessee State University College of Pharmacy. She works in a local grocery store pharmacy.
In her free time, Lindsay likes to explore the outdoors, read, and write. In the autumn months she’ll be cheering on her beloved football team The Tennessee Volunteers.
Lindsay wants to encourage women to live outside of their circumstances and reach for the life that God has for each of them.
Fluctuat Nec Mergitur: though tossed by waves, she does not sink.
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