"I'm not perfect enough to be a perfectionist!"
As soon as the words passed my lips, I realized how silly they sounded. My declaration seemed to reveal a fact I had long denied - that I am, in fact, a perfectionist.
You see, I always envisioned perfectionists with perfectly clean houses, perfectly clean cars, perfectly organized spice racks, etc. I may not have articulated it this way, but inwardly I realized I believed to be a perfectionist meant that you had achieved perfection. And since I was acutely aware of how "not perfect" I was, I would not have labeled myself as a perfectionist.
My house? Not so clean. My car? Atrocious. My spice rack? Let's just not go there.
And it was more than just physical things. I envisioned perfectionists being those with a perfectly kept schedule, never forgetting to return a call or letting their inbox pile up. I envisioned achievement in all areas of life, never making a misstep vocationally or relationally.
I discovered that day that I had fallen into the trap of being a perfectionist, not by achieving perfection but by longing for it. By constantly seeing my life through the lens of falling short of an inner expectation of perfection.
I speak a lot about grace, and even named my daughter "Grace". And yet, I feel like I have so much to learn about it. I'm not good at giving myself grace. Rather, I'm good at beating myself up. Of seeing my flaws. Of noticing all of the ways I am falling short on any given day. Can you relate?
I heard a line recently that resonated deep within my soul. In one of her podcasts, Emily P. Freeman said, "Be relentlessly kind to yourself."
It made me pause. Be kind to ourselves? What would that even look like?
Maybe it's a call to stop the inner shaming. Stop the inner negative dialogue. Stop focusing on all the ways you're falling short of your own expectations or your perception of others' expectations of you.
Be relentlessly kind to yourself.
Give yourself some grace.
After all, our Heavenly Father, who is Himself perfection, is relentlessly kind to us. He embraces us in our imperfection. In fact, "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." If a perfect God is willing to step into our muck and mire, if He is willing to accept us just as we are, maybe we should learn from Him and give ourselves that same grace He extends.