Monday, October 31, 2016

Step 3: Overcoming Perfectionism--Ask For Help

"Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart" Eccl. 4:9-12.

By: Carol McClain @carol_mcclain

Woe to woman when she is alone.
When I was a little girl in school, I'd never raise my and ask a question. Fear of looking stupid made me puzzle out facts until I understood. As a result, I struggled in areas, especially math, that could've been much easier had pride not gotten in the way.

My husband is this way as well since he is the quintessential perfectionist. If I suggest getting help with a project, he assures me he's fine and can do it on his own. Unless it's on YouTube, he'll puzzle it out--or not finish the chore.

As an adult, this bad habit still lingers in my life. Times, as a single mother, I'd be laid up with the flu or rib-breaking bronchitis (not an exaggeration), and I'd ask no one to help with a meal or to take me to the doctor.

As a result, bitterness set in. I belonged to a church that preached community, but no one reached out to me. They should've known, I'd moan. Other people who acted helpless on a regular basis were helped, but me? I'd lay on my couch, unable to move and still have to tend my daughter.

I was wrong--not mistaken, not self-sufficient. I was proud, and it was sin. Who was supposed to guess I wanted help? Last I asked God, none of us are mind readers.

Perfectionists don't like to ask for help. It shows they're human and flawed. Shows they can't do it alone.

Worse, it tells God we need no one but ourselves.

The Lord designed us to need others. Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12, a scripture I'd used to club those who didn't intuit my needs, convicts me. I cannot live my life alone. And neither can you.

Ask for help. You were not created to do it alone. 

Three steps in overcoming perfectionism 

  1. Strive for excellence--not perfection. Work all you do as unto the Lord. Do a good job, enjoy your labor. It doesn't have to be perfect. That's God's domain.
  2. Let it go. You can't do it all, nor are you designed to do so. Labor at what you love. Serve where you are able, but you're not required to do everything. Then let the rest go.
  3. Ask for help. Man was not meant to live alone. Adam struggled without Eve. God knew this--thus he made a helper for him. This isn't a license to nag the world to be your slave--but people love to feel needed and are more than happy to help their friends and neighbors.
As a recovering perfectionist, I can tell attest, these steps are hard, but you can do them.

Quick Tweets

Monday, October 24, 2016

13 Scary Things About Perfectionism

By: Carol McClain @carol_mcclain

Trick or Treat? Perfectionism is no treat and will always trick you into missing grace.

No matter what you struggle with--service, household issues, art, work, family or church--striving for perfectionism will only make your life miserable. Here are thirteen scary things about perfectionism.
  1. You can't do it all. Believe me, I've tried.
  2. Someone is always better to you, and that person isn't even God.
  3. You'll feel awkward in social settings because everyone is better, happier or more adjusted than you.
  4. Someone's always going to judge you both for what you're working so diligently on--or for what you, by necessity, left undone.
  5. Everything else will fall apart as you obsess over the one thing you're trying to perfect.
  6. Someone's going to say, "That's perfect, but what about...?"
  7. Once you do it perfectly, pride will step in. The Pharisees were the ultimate perfectionists.
  8. Emotionally you will exhaust yourself.
  9. Physically, it will make you sick--raise your blood pressure, make you overeat.
  10. You'll fail to see all that you do well because you're so focused on your failures.
  11. Because you know you'll fail, you'll procrastinate.
  12. You'll avoid trying new things.
  13. You'll lose the joy of living.

Quick Tweets

Monday, October 17, 2016

Overcoming Perfectionism: You Can't Do It All

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters..." Col. 3:23

By: Carol McClain @carol_mcclain

Our church has formed a woman's group we call Tea At Two. Our social was formed, in part, to create friendships among its members. In our socialization, we use our gifts to minister to our community.  It meets twice a month.  This week we're putting together goody bags for the police officers.

Tea At Two

I'm not going. 

And in my perfectionist state, I feel a little guilty. However, by attending, I'm spreading myself too thin (if only that resulted in weight loss!) I know my calling and am learning my limitations.

In some churches, my attitude would be condemned. (And in the past, it had been). The project is worthy. It's church sanctioned. Most of my friends--and certainly, those who form the leadership foundation--will attend.

Nevertheless, I'm not going.

We're each given twenty-four hour days and a limited number of gifts  Mine are in mentoring, writing and glass work. My calendar is full. To attend, even though it's a good fellowship and people want me there, would weaken what God has called me to do.

The above Scripture says "Whatever you do." It doesn't say, do it all.

Click to Tweet

Monday, October 10, 2016

Phony Uniformity: Modernity's Perfection

"If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?" 1 cor. 12:17

By: Carol McClain @carol_mcclain

Do you ever wonder if you've lost your skill at observation?

Every time I watch a new TV series with actors unknown to me, I wonder if I'm entering the world of dementia.

An actress breezes onstage who looks familiar. She's an anorexic blonde with silicone breasts and buttocks, because if they weren't enhanced, her thin frame would reveal no shape. Her lips are collagen filled, her nose refined, cheeks heightened and her blonde hair probably has extensions.

Enter actress number two. If she has blonde hair, I'm not sure whether it's a new actress or the same one. Until I get to know the nuances, she's the same protagonist.

It's sad.

Maybe my eyes need laser surgery or my mind needs aricept.

More than likely, society needs to understand reality and paint a world populated with un-doctored humans.

The world holds a standard of perfection perfection we cannot meet. (They've totally wrecked moral perfection--but that's another blog post). We look at ourselves and know we missed the mark.

It's not so with God. He created us--big noses, thin hair, slow metabolisms--and He calls us beautiful. He created us in His image (Gen. 1:27). Although our appearance wastes away, he renews our inner beauty daily (2 Cor. 4:6).

Think of those you love. Do you see them as ugly? As fat? As big-footed? Too short?

No. We see the inner woman, and she glows with the beauty of character, not silicone.

Quick Tweet

Monday, October 3, 2016

Step 2 Overcoming Perfectionism: Let It Go

"And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men" Col. 3:23.

By: Carol McClain @carol_mcclain

I hate to break it to you. But being the mentor I am, I will do my duty and let you know.
Let go and let God.

You can't be good at everything.

Nor should you attempt to do everything your heart desires.

Lately, the urge to paint has hit. I love the smell of oils and turpentine. The feel of paint gliding on a canvas delights me. I'm not especially good at it--primitive would be a kinder way of describing my painting skills.

However, my two passions--writing and glass--consume my time. My gifts lie in these two areas. To expand my skills into painting or quilting or working the sound room at church would only dilute my time and everything will suffer.

What is your passion? What grabs your attention and drives you forward? Where do your talents lie?

Don't feel guilty in indulging your free time in these endeavors--be it serving in church, running marathons, volunteering in the Lions Club, visiting neighbors or restoring antiques

You are not called to be excellent at everything

  1. Find your passion
  2. Narrow your focus
  3. Enjoy your activity
  4. Do it well, but don't worry about being as good as someone else
We are all fearfully and wonderfully made. 

Quick Tweets