Perfection is God’s Business!

by Joan C Webb on February 6, 2012

Excellence clip artIs there really any difference between pursuing excellence and striving to be perfect? Michael J. Fox, well-known actor, husband, father, and Parkinson’s patient thinks so. “The only thing that separates any one of us from excellence is fear, and the opposite of fear is faith,” says Fox. “I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence I can reach for, perfection is God’s business.”

The thing that has helped me in my ongoing  journey out of over-doing, over-committing and over-whelm is reminding myself often that there IS a difference between “trying too hard to make it all just right” and “partnering with God for excellence.”

  • Perfectionism or trying-too-hard-to-make-it-all-just-right is a relentless mental/emotional chase for flawlessness. It’s impossible, works against me and can lead to procrastination or burnout.
  • Excellence is enjoying quality in balance, works for me, and inspires me to intentional action.
  • Perfectionism leads to self-talk with absolutes, generalizations and demands like: I must, I should, I have to, I never.
  • Excellence encourages self-chat such as I want to, I can, and I will.
  • Perfectionism is motivated by avoiding others’ negative opinions and disapproval.
  • Excellence desires personal and spiritual growth and willingly accepts self-responsibility.
  • Perfectionism fears “doing it wrong” and is only satisfied at victory or the finished product.
  • Excellence enjoys satisfaction throughout the process. (TIP: When you’re facing a long intimidating task, try chunkacizing it by breaking it into do-able daily increments. When you’ve reached your mini-goal, relax and celebrate. You’ll have less “I can’t wait until it’s over!” angst.)

Sunset bird Loreli Cruise 2011-NCL EPIC TRIP Florida 365It’s okay with God if you take it easy, breath deeply and enjoy yourself, others, and God’s beautiful gifts–like this sunset. You don’t have to work so hard to make all your relationships, body, emotions, faith and job perfect. Check out this verse. Luke 6:37: “Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier.” The Message (And guess what?!? You’re a “people”, too!)

If you’re like me, you can sometimes be your own slave-driver. So this verse gives you (and me, too!) permission to be gentler with ourselves. I love that!

Which of these perfectionistic symptoms sounds a little too familiar to you? What one gentle self-care moment are you going to allow yourself this week?

I adapted this article which I originally wrote to be published by Genius Avenue Inc., copyright 2011.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane Markins February 6, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Very nice!

Lynne February 6, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Good reminders, Joan. As we approach the final four weeks before the wedding, we have written down all known tasks. If I finish that day’s tasks, I am resisting the urge to start on the next day, but rather – read a book, make cookies, write a blog, or sit and drink a cup of tea. I don’t want to reach my daughter’s wedding and to just be glad it’s over.

AbbyA February 6, 2012 at 11:29 pm

I feel so light just meditating on “Be easy on myself, it will make life a lot easier.” I don’t know what my self care moment will be yet, but I think you just gave me some freedom to have one. Praise God, He is good. Thanks Joan!

Joan C. Webb February 8, 2012 at 1:17 am

Thanks, Diane!

Joan C. Webb February 8, 2012 at 1:18 am

AbbyA, I love that! It’s my joy to help give freedom! :-)

Joan C. Webb February 8, 2012 at 1:19 am

That is so cool, Lynne! You are doing “good” with this decision. I’m inspired. Really!

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