Perfectionism-The stealer of all joy.

Today I baked a cherry pie. To some that may not seem like a big deal, but to me it was a victory. Today I didn’t give in to perfectionism.

Perfectionism by definition is the refusal to accept any standard short of perfection. I am a recovering addict. An addict to perfectionism. I have struggled with the idea of being/doing things perfectly as long as I can remember. Most of the time I blame it on being the third child, and perhaps my birth order has something to do with it. Always feeling the need to do something profound to be noticed amongst the chaos that is a family with three kids. Who knows!? All I know, is that it’s always been there.

I have often referred to my self as an “all or nothing” type person. While that sounds romantic, and daring, and bold, it is nothing of the sort. For me it means that if I can’t do something perfect, I don’t want to do it at all. If it is something I want to do for my self, I simply don’t if I can’t do it perfectly. Who’s ever going to know I wanted to do it in the first place right?

Perfectionism has crippled me more times than I care to admit. Take this blog for instance. Ive wanted to do this for nearly a decade. I set this up around 5 years ago, and never wrote a single word. The picture wasn’t right, I wasn’t sure about the name I picked. Would my writing be anything that anyone would want to read? Would anyone even read it if everything didn’t look just so? So It took me 5 years to set up, and another 5 to actually post anything. That’s just plain Cray Cray (In reference to my last post). Oh and don’t even get me started on cleaning my house. Yes, I do hate to clean, but the thought of not being able to deep clean everything in the entire house in one day makes me nauseous. Physically sick.f So I put it off until I can break my back doing it the right way. I mean what the heck? Cleaning is cleaning. A blog is a blog. There is no right way to do either.

However, I find that if i am some how under pressure to do something that I know will be less than perfect, I often breeze through it. I never let on that I am completely and utterly guilt stricken on the inside because it doesn’t meet my standards. I agonize over what I could have done or should have done better, and vow to do that the next time. I feel disappointed and grieve the opportunity I wasted. Truth is, it is hard for me to make it through my daily responsibilities with out battling these feelings. To others it looks like I am a “go with the flow” type gal. In reality it gives me so much anxiety my inside is in knots.

So today I baked a cherry pie. I overcame my perfectionism. Yesterday I saw a bag of cherries in the fridge that we would never finish before they spoiled. I wanted to make a cherry pie. Last night I bought pre-made, yes I said pre-made, pie crusts. Me, the freak about perfect pies, bought pre-made pie crusts. Insanity I know. This morning I got up off the couch. (Where I would have sat until I purposely ran out of time to actually make the pie I wanted to make, in fear of it not being perfect.) I got up. I got out the cherries. I got out my pie crusts. I asked Alexa to find me a cherry pie recipe, and managed to scrape up enough ingredients to make it. I popped it in the oven and hoped for the best. We then left for a cookout. We later went to Sams, grabbed dinner, and got home late.

After we had showers I cut the pie, and we ate it. It was really good. While we were eating, my husband asked me what I would name the pie for kicks. “Perfection Pie” I laughed. I then explained what a huge accomplishment it was for me to overcome my perfectionism today by making this thrown together pie. Would it have been better if the crust was homemade? Would it have been better had I used all the right ingredients? Would it had been better if done perfectly? Who knows!? All I know is it was better than the pie I didn’t make because I thought I couldn’t do it perfectly.

I struggle with trying to be the perfect parent, worker, role model, or any of the many roles I play in this life. I struggle hard. The struggle is even harder in a society that praises perfectionism. But what I have come to realize in my perfectionism recovery as I like to call it, is that simply showing up to be those things at all is perfect in its self. The fact that I even care enough to worry about it is wonderful!

I believe my desire to do things “all the way” can be powerful when applied in the right way. It is a journey that God has taken me on over the last few years to teach me about the difference in perfectionism, and doing things with all my heart, soul, and might. Showing up, and giving all I have in a given moment (which isn’t much a lot of the time) is what he desires of me. Nothing more, nothing less. Some days I am pumped, excited, encouraged. I can give lots on those days. Other days I have been up all night with a sick baby, and am now sick my self, but have to trudge through the trenches which are my daily life on no sleep, caffeine, and a prayer. Those days, I don’t have much to give, but I give what I have, and that’s enough.

Let me clarify that I never believe there is any excuse to be lazy at anything we do. I believe in hard work, dedication, and commitment. It is the idea that if you just could work a little harder, be a little more dedicated, or be more committed things would be perfect, that so often talks me out of doing things at all.

Don’t buy into the lie that is perfectionism. Everyday is not going to be your best. Some days you’re going to barely get by, and others you’re going to knock it out of the park so hard you’ll amaze yourself. Don’t let perfectionism steal the joy that is life even on our messiest days. Just. Make. The. Pie.

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