If It’s Not Perfect…

If_It's_Not_PerfectOrganization seems to be a prevailing struggle in life. We juggle bills, work, marriage, kids, school, and more; all while trying to maintain some sense of sanity. We do our best to make sure everything gets done and, hopefully, done on time. Amidst the balancing act, sometimes we can become frustrated and give up. We become overwhelmed by the amount of work that lays before us. The ideal of perfection is just out of our reach and so rather than trying something, we do nothing. Because after all, “If it’s not perfect, I won’t do it!”

Within the world of homeschooling, I wonder how often we deal with this dilemma? If I can’t keep our house perfect, I choose to just let it go. If I can’t organize my closet in the most perfect way, I just won’t bother. After all, if I can’t have it just so… well, I won’t do it. Sometimes it can seem pointless and daunting to start a task and not have it be everything we envisioned. However, I wonder if there isn’t a lesson to be learned here.

We need to be patient. Nothing starts off just right the first time and not everything can be done right when we want it. We need to learn to wait for the Lord’s timing. (Romans 5:4)

We need to plan.  We can’t expect our lives to become organized and less chaotic simply by wishing it to be true. A well laid plan will help us to reach our goals and give us a starting point. (1 Corinthians 14:40)

We need to take baby steps. Remember when your kids first learned to crawl and then walk? We didn’t expect them to immediately jump right up and then start running. We knew that little steps had to be taken in between. Why do we often forget that when it comes to other areas of life?

We need to be diligent. A well laid plan isn’t going to get accomplished on its own. We need to make sure that we are striving towards the end goal. (Proverbs 13:4)

As I struggle with my own perfectionism, I have found it helpful to remember these steps. I need to seek the Lord and wait upon His timing. When the Lord is ready for the project to be done, it will get done. While I am waiting, I need to formulate a plan to get the job done. When the Lord says, “GO!” I need to be ready to take those first steps and then be diligent about moving forward. I also need to remember that I might not get it right the first time. As the old adage goes, “Try, try again.”

I need to give up the ideal of perfection, for the beauty of progress. Remembering that every step forward is a step toward my final goal. While I haven’t achieved it yet, I am closer than I was yesterday and even closer than I was a month ago. Some of my goals I will achieve quickly, like organizing my junk drawer. Others will take years, like getting a new kitchen. Either way, with patience, a plan, movement, and diligence; our goals will be accomplished.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. ”
~ Philippians 3:12

📢 Chime In!: Do you struggle with this same problem? Do want to give in when your house isn’t as perfect as you’d like? How do you focus on progress and not perfection?

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I AM A Failure

Not living up to my own expectations is quite a challenge. I admit it, I tend to be extremely hard on myself. Some have speculated whether or not this is part of a complex known as OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). I would argue that it’s pride. I’m a failure, I just need to accept it.

Being a perfectionist is a pain. One of the most dangerous aspects of being a perfectionist is the inability to accept failure; mostly, in ourselves. This goes beyond a mere disappointment in our performance and jumps straight to obsessive occupation of the mind. We can’t seem let go the fact that we didn’t do as well as we would have liked.

As an adult this is hard enough, now imagine you’re a child. How do we teach our children that it’s okay to fail? And, just as importantly, when to get back up and try again?

Remain Calm – Don’t add to the situation by getting frustrated and emotional. Take a breath, pray, and then move on.

Take Stock of the Situation – Every situation offers something to learn. While we may have ‘failed’ at our initial (or subsequent) attempt at this current goal, each new attempt offers something to learn by.

Focus On What’s Important – Don’t lose sight of what your true purpose was in this endeavor. Stay focused on the main goal and keep working.

Don’t Compare – You are not other people. Don’t worry about how others could have or would have done better. You are you; do your best and keep trying. What more can anyone ask?

Move On – Not all situations need to be tried again and again, despite popular opinion. Assess each situation and decide which would be best. If trying again is what’s needed, then do so. However, don’t be afraid to move on to something completely different, if this goal no longer becomes important. It is okay to walk away from some goals.

Perfectionism can be a good thing, if managed properly and kept in perspective. We just need to remember that we’re all human and failing is just another important lesson in life.

Time to Chime In: Do you have children who are perfectionists? How do you help them through moments of failure?

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10