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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Perfection is the Goal

per·fec·tion·ist  /pərˈfekSH(ə)nəst/
  1. a person who refuses to accept any standard short of perfection.
    “he was a perfectionist who worked slowly”
    synonyms: purist, stickler for perfection, idealist;

    “the just-so placement of every little figurine and throw pillow immediately gave him away as a perfectionist”

I admit it; I’m a perfectionist. I like to get things right and won’t stop until it’s just so. I like order, neatness, and cleanliness (it’s next to Godliness, right?- just kidding!). When you think about it, though; what is the alternative? If we aren’t aiming for perfection, what are we aiming for?

I always find it odd that people look down on perfectionism as if it’s evil. Being a perfectionist is associated with being overbearing, always anxious, and stressed at the slightest ball of lint being on a piece of furniture. Perfectionists always have things together (at least that is what we are told) and fall to pieces when even the smallest item is out-of-order.

What if we are looking at perfectionism all wrong? Maybe we ought to applaud those who seek to get things right. Instead of berating others for being ‘perfect’ maybe we should celebrate their effort. Look at the alternative…

Instead of seeking perfection, we have people who eagerly look to be bad. There are those more than willing to fulfill the ‘bad boy’ role and find new ways to get themselves into trouble. Instead of perfection, we have people who are content with being mediocre. Some are willing to simply skate by in life; they have no high aspirations outside of themselves and are okay with barely making it.

As Christians, our goal is to be like Christ. Christ was perfect. So, in essence, if we are trying to be like Christ, aren’t we trying for perfection? I think so.

Honestly, I don’t think the problem lies in trying to be perfect. No, the problem is in how this manifests itself. Perfection is a goal we should attempt, with the understanding that we’ll never actually reach it this side of heaven. Attempting perfection only becomes a problem when we allow it to overwhelm us and take over our lives. Instead of seeing perfection as our end goal, we panic over the fact that we haven’t reached it today. We need to keep the target in mind and simply take one day at a time; getting better with each passing moment.

As homeschoolers, we can be tempted to see perfection as a poison in our homes. Who needs the pressure of finding the perfect curriculum or the perfect routine? But, this isn’t what is meant by being perfect. Being perfect is who we are as people, not which day-to-day routines we follow through with. It is our character which we are seeking to perfect; not our chores.

As parents, this too can be overwhelming. Are we perfect parents; are we training our children to be perfect adults? Again, I think we are looking at this wrong. We are going to make mistakes, we are going to fail at times; this doesn’t mean we should not try to constantly do better, hoping to one day conquer a particular area of our life and move onto yet another area which needs work.

Perfection is simple; it’s choosing to not accept less than what is perfect. Not the perfect house, not the perfect outfit, but perfect character. So, yes; I am a perfectionist. But is this really a bad thing?

Time to Chime In: Do you think perfection can be reached this side of heaven?