Today's Musings...Perfectionism Again!

Here are my thoughts captured in a moment I had to myself as I mused on teaching, speaking, and perfectionism.

Perfectionism is a lack of trust and a refusal to let go of your own strength. If I can't say everything I want to say or write and I refuse to write it (because I can't write it the way I want to write it) or I end up forcing it all in, then I am not trusting God that He is enough, that He is sovereign, and that He doesn't need me. I am buying into the lie that I am smarter, wiser, and more important than God and the parameters He put in my life. If He only gives me so long to speak or so much space to write, I got to trust that it was all I needed and is a safety for me and the people I am endeavoring to minister to and that they are His words--not mine--and He can speak whatever He wants to speak to His people.


To Shame

To Shame

How grateful I am for the cross.
Freedom so grand
Purchased at great cost.

Freedom not to purposefully sin,
But freedom from fears grip
Of stumbling again.

Should I stumble again,
I know that I am free
To look shame in the face,
And proclaim “Jesus makes me clean.”

Therefore, in my life you have no place:
To bind my feet
To bind my hands
To bind my lips
Paralyzing me
From the fullness of life
Lovingly given from He.

Who in my place,
The perfect one,
Bore all the wrath
I had won.

The condemnation, the guilt,
The shame was mine.
His righteousness He exchanged
Out of love divine.

The purchased rights to my life
No longer mine.
My feet, hands and lips
A new master they find.

Your accusations of guilt
Can no longer come to me,
But must be answered
By He that redeemed.

To you, I assure you
He’ll simply reply,
The debt has been paid.
This beloved one is mine.



What a dreary day outside! I finished my History final and there is such joy in my heart! I feel much lighter as if a huge weight has been lifted off of me. The time I also have feels so much fuller and less stressful. **Sigh** I have waited for the time when I wouldn’t be so stressed about school. This semester has been a huge break through for me. Normally every semester I freak out at this time, feeling like the weight of the world is on my shoulders, and I look at all I have to do and see a huge mountain that is not to be conquered by going over it, but meant to be pushed out of the way. I cannot see the reality that this mountain is really a stack of papers, exams, and projects that only stack as high as 4 feet not a 40,000 foot mountain that I think needs to be pushed out of the way and not sumitted. In my infinite wisdom, I freak out and go into crisis management mode and distribute my time and efforts into damage control. What this looks like is not____ (studying for, writing, completing)____( one final, a paper, project) in order to put the rest of my efforts into the other classes I can finish. This takes me from maintain the A I have up to this point in all my classes to just barely passing all my classes or failing said class that got trashed to the side to save the rest.

But this semester I hit crisis mode early on right before Spring Break. I had a week and a half where I had some major project, presentation, test, meeting, or paper due every stinkin’ day. By the end of the week and a half, I was as nutty as peanut butter. I wore myopic lenses only able to see minute details and as a result, spent hours upon hours on details for my German presentation that were not necessary, but bent on being perfect and found without fault, i.e. shame. I was stuck in the insanity cycle of perfection and control and couldn’t get out of it to save my life. I was having panic attacks and bouts of depression and wound so tight you could pop me with a dull object. Familiar with this scenario and knowing historically how clueless I had been to understand this phenomenon, I stopped and took a good look at what was going on in my heart and asked for counsel from friends, and of course, the good old Holy Spirit had a lot to say to me on this issue as well. I realized that I had been vainly putting all my hope and effort into school to derive my identity. This was not conscious, but rather facts I was believing about myself coming to the surface, warring with reality. It is not that I thought my life would end if I did not do well on a test/ class and get an A, but rather I felt I am not stupid and should be making A’s regardless of circumstances and life because I am untouchable as superwoman you know, and therefore, if I don’t achieve near perfection on these tests/papers, I am completely shaken up.

The fear of not doing well is what keeps me from doing them in the first place, paralyzing me from even making an effort. The problem with this is an inability to see the gospel in my circumstances. I am NOT perfect and am not immune to life and circumstances so why do I think I am the one exception and can overcome anything that comes my way? I cannot justify myself by academia and it does not define me. Christ doesn’t need my credentials in my diploma to use me. He is God in heaven and does whatever He pleases with whomever. I, in my flesh, demand that I perform to a very high standard and am mad if I don’t meet it, and yet Christ does not put this restriction on me and is not upset with me when I fall short of it. He definitely asks me to do my best, but perfection is not my best. That is idolatry of myself and not wanting to need Christ in ALL things. I also realized that all my schooling has never been in attempts to glorify Christ, but rather to glorify myself. I felt like I was the one busting my hump to learn all these languages, trying to comprehend them and studying till the wee hours of the evening. Shouldn’t I get the credit for this? I mean I am the one killing myself for it, right? WRONG. If there is anything that I have done well, I cannot take credit for it because it was given to me as a gift from God to use for His glory and not mine. I am a glory thief and have thieved from God for a long time. The biggest reality check I had was realizing that I had been trying to use school/academia to prove my worth, keep me from needing Christ, and bring praise to myself. Praise God that the Spirit He put in me is jealous and desires all of my heart to be fully His. God thwarted my plans and I am so grateful for it. Grateful that it was way earlier than normal—this is God’s mercy on me because He rightfully could have let me flounder in it for the millionth time. Thankfully, God is merciful and gracious and is ferocious about chasing after my wandering heart. He never gives up on me and loves me so much better than I love Him and others. I am continuously in awe.

**Sigh** I am so relieved to be sitting here in this coffee shop, able to be at peace at the tail end of a long trying semester. He is so good to me :)