Pride and Perfectionism

26 Aug

I joke about being the queen of typos and editing errors.  But underneath my self-depreciating humor, I hate myself for making simple mistakes—on math tests in elementary school (is it any wonder why I hate math?),  in the college newspaper when I was editor, on papers I handed in at seminary, and on this blog post.  For some reason, I stare until I’m cross-eyed but a little typo or grammatical error also escapes by vigilant efforts.

I HATE MAKING MISTAKES!!!  Especially stupid ones that could’ve been easily prevented if I JUST PAID MORE ATTENTION. 

If I just worked harder.

If I wasn’t so…me.

To err is human or so the oft-quoted cliché says, but I want to be super-human, or at least the best version of myself.  Unfortunately, the best version of me is still prone to errors, faults, cracks, and bumps.  Truly, to err is human because humanity is in this fallen state.

While all these mistakes seen like a funny, frazzled part of my personality, I wonder if I’ll ever stop hitting my head against the wall for doing what is simply human.  Why can I forgive the shortcomings of others and yet beat myself black and blue? 

Somehow I believed the lie that I SHOULD be perfect, that I won’t make mistakes, that I can do it myself. And when I don’t measure up (and I will never measure up), I am a failure, a waste of space, useless, and I curse the day I was born.  I wonder if the world would be better off without someone who makes so many mistakes, who has so many faults. 

Notice the focus is on me, myself and uh, me.  There’s no room for grace.  Mercy has no place on my throne because my life and my performance reflects who I am, not Whose I am.  Oh, I can pretty it up with some spiritual lingo about how I want to give God my best.  But it’s not really God who I am worried about, I know He’ll forgive me.  I’m worried about what other people will think about my stupid mistakes.  I am more concerned about you seeing my faults and cracks. 

When you see my faulted humanity, I feel naked, weak, and exposed.  I feel less than you and I feel afraid that you will really see me and reject me.  One more mistake and you may lose faith in me, walk away from me, or give up on me.

So I’d rather throw white-out on those errors.  Maybe you’ll see a bump of what was supposed to  be there, but that’s between God and me.  Besides, you have bumps of your own.  You know you do.  I’ll hide my bumps and you keep those skeletons in your closet…and we’ll be just fine.

We’ll be just fine.

Except we’re not fine, are we?  We’re wearing masks and living lies.  I’m not saying that we have to out every single mistake we make.  I simply wonder what life would look like if we were a little more honest.  Weakness and humility throws pride to the floor because through our weakness and failures, God gets the glory.  There are so many situations when He worked in spite of my mistakes, but because of my submission to Him.

Like Paul, I want to start boasting about my failures, my shortcomings, and errors.  I want to stop screaming, “REWRITE!” whenever my life takes a plot-twist I dislike. I want to allow God to use all these things, even the bumps, to bring Him more glory.

Perfectionism is a pretty way of saying “prideful.”  And I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of being full of myself.  It allows very little room for God to work.  This isn’t going to be an easy process, but at the end of me is where God starts.   

Let God start here and now.  Uncover my bumps.  Use my mistakes.  Make Your glory known.

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2 Responses to “Pride and Perfectionism”

  1. jjaneswift August 26, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

    Love your humor and your realism. Mistake and forgive on!

  2. Donna Brown August 28, 2013 at 8:22 am #

    You are not a mistake – you are my delight! Good post, well written. God is teaching you much about Him…and yourself.

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