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Perfect Excellence  (written by my dear friend..Jenny Lou Jones)....
I wanted to share this with my Fab40 gals.....

If you saw my house right now, you wouldn't think I'm a closet perfectionist. I have perfectionist tendencies because I'm bothered by how things ought to be. I know how my den should look; how I want my den to look; how I imagine my den could look. And there's the real picture of how my den actually looks. There are cookbooks on the end table, several blankies on the floor, 4 pairs of shoes (not all mine) sitting right where they were taken off, a couple of McCall's toys in the fireplace, Lance's sound stuff here, there and everywhere and the Sunday advertisements and coupons on the coffee table.

Striving for perfection is difficult because I'm also messy. And although I'm a mess pot, I still get bent out of shape when I don't project that image. As a kid, I just didn't worry so much about how I was perceived, nor was my battle for perfection as worrisome as it is now.

In childhood, when I had to clean my room, I'd get started and soon get lost in discovering some treasure I'd forgotten about. Several hours later I'd just stuff all the junk on the floor under my bed. In college, I put the clothes I'd worn that day on my desk chair. The next day, I'd do the same and I wouldn't hang up my clothes until the chair fell over from the weight. During this same time... now, don't tell my mom...but I only changed my sheets once a semester. My reasoning was that I took a shower each night before bed and so I was clean and thereby; not dirtying my sheets. Gross...now all I can think about are dust mites and exfoliated skin cells!

When I got married, I knew who my mentors should be: June Cleaver, Mrs. Brady, Mrs. Partridge and Lassie's mom (whatever her name was). I thought I could have June's tidiness; Mrs. Brady's hip lifestyle and perfect hairdo; Mrs. Partridge's talent and Lassie's mom's wisdom. Then I had kids.

The first time I took Landon to the pediatrician at 6 weeks, I thought the doctor would think I was the perfect mother if he checked Landon and the diaper was dry. So I constantly changed his diaper each time it got wet. We got into the examining room and I changed it once again. The doctor came in and immediately ripped the diaper off. This was a case of wasted perfectionism!

Maybe most of perfectionism is wasted. Those of us who have perfectionist tendencies get too caught up in working toward the extra 1%. Are we doing that to stand apart from other people thereby having a puffed up sense of ourselves? Are we doing it because we will not be a failure? Are we doing it because it's part of our personality and we are compelled to do so (there's medicine for that, you know)? Or are we doing it because we have a skewed sense of what perfect is?

Maybe it's just American. You know the good ol' American work ethic? Or maybe it's the pithy slogans we hear like:

Give your 101%
You can have the perfect ______ (fill in the blank)
No pain, no gain!
Go for the gusto!
You can have it all!
Be a superwoman!
Burn the candle at both ends!
Have it your way!

My kids are grown and married now and I have made so many mistakes that I have finally just given in and decided to come out of the closet with being an "imperfect person". And although I knew that God didn't ask me to be perfect, I got excellence mixed up with perfection. Perfection is about trying to have a level playing field with God and excellence is about realizing our God given strengths and using them. But we need to be careful not to idolize our strengths or we'll be once again wrestling to be God. I'm trying to change my obsession for perfection to perfecting excellence for Him.

Perfectionism is working to exhaustion; excellence is finding a balance. We should use our gifts to work hard, but not to exhaustion or extinction but to excellence.

So if I feel compelled to straighten up the den before bedtime am I being a perfectionist or working toward excellence or am I just hoping Lance will clean it all up in the morning?

Mediocre is macaroni with not enough cheese
Excellence is homemade macaroni with a layer of grated cheese on top that is browned just enough
Perfectionist is refusing to eat macaroni from the "blue box" because it's not homemade

Average is ordering a pair of jeans from a catalog and wearing them even if they don't look that good.
Excellence is having a friend help you find the right style of jeans that flatter your body type
Perfectionist is not wearing those jeans because you feel fat from devouring too much soy sauce from your Chinese meal the night before

Just ok is thinking that I'll go to church next week because the preacher is on vacation
Excellence is finding a church home and some place to serve within the church
Perfectionist is not going to church because there are too many hypocrites.

So-so is having your child near you as you go through your day
Excellence is being near your children and teaching them as you both go through the day
Perfectionist is having children but being perturbed because your day wasn't perfect because of something they did

Oh well is taking guff off of someone all the time
Excellence is forgiving the person who is rude to you and talking to them about it
Perfectionist is saying that the cranky person is out of your life forever.

So-what is saying I'll get around to it sometime?
Excellence is saying I can do it through Christ's direction
Perfectionist is saying I can do it myself without any help

Ho hum are two thieves hanging on a cross
Excellence is a third man hanging in between
PERFECT is who that man was.

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