So as I finished my book “Made for This” a couple of friends weighed in on some things I needed to work on. Since the point of the book is to be vulnerable and to have others share how they see you as opposed to how you see yourself, this was their given tasks.
The point is that once you have a few people do it, without them sharing their answers with each other, you are supposed to find the commonality in their statements. I was surprised when my two people wrote that I am too hard on myself. Me? Too hard on me? How could this be?
But as much as I wanted it to not be true, I knew it was. See, I’ve battled with perfectionism. I’ve struggled with spontaneity because it means I don’t have control and/or things won’t be perfect if I can’t plan them.
However, teaching I’d say changes that. I think most teachers battle with letting go, with accepting the lesson may not go smoothly, or that the entire lesson won’t be learned in that day or maybe days, and that it doesn’t mean you failed as a teacher. So if you think you’re going to have a perfect school day or a perfect lesson, snap back to reality.
Interestingly enough, I weekly encourage my students away from perfectionism and value in their mistakes and/or weaknesses. While as my mom says, “you do realize their teacher is a perfectionist?” I begin to feel hypocritical.
Why do I try so hard? Why do I expect perfection from myself knowing the stress and worry it causes? How do I encourage my students that it’s not about being perfect when personally I struggle with the same thing?
I think a few steps will help:
1. Rest in the perfection of Jesus Christ. Not this false ideology that I can or ever will be perfect.
2. Relax. It’s OK to rest and not work/study all the time.
3. Laugh. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
4. Accept weaknesses. God is strong when I am weak. If I refuse to accept my weakness, then how can I accept/operate from His strength?
5. Focus on Heaven. Heaven will be perfect. Whatever my definition of perfection here on earth will always disappoint when compared to Heaven. Therefore, whatever perfection I think I’m achieving here will always fall short in lieu of eternity.
Don’t miss the message here. Don’t stop trying. Don’t stop wanting to do better and doing better. But don’t start thinking it’s in your power and strength to do. It is by God’s grace that you or I can do anything.
Because God’s grace is perfect, when we choose to rest in it, we choose to rest in perfection.