Kill Perfectionism

 
The beginning of the year is the season for goal setting. Our feet strike against the gravel and jolt us into movement, and we run as far as our endurance could take us. Depending on the discipline we instill in ourselves, we could either go the distance or instantly deflate, aghast at the torturous limitation of our willpower.
The groups of ‘resolutioners’ pile up and then dwindle when reality grabs them by the foot and fasten their skid to a halt. “Reality is usually a sliding scale, not a toggle switch,” says Michael Hyatt. Unfortunately, perfectionists see it as black-or-white only. It’s either they do it right, or they don’t do it at all.

 

I tried to make a loaf of bread from scratch for the first time. It took three long, unsettling hours. I repeatedly looked through the viewing glass of the bread maker and kept tabs at the process of kneading the dough, waiting for it to rise, and baking. I followed a foolproof recipe, yet the outcome was inedible. It was as hard as a rock. I could literally throw it out the window and shatter glass. My first attempt was undeniably a fail, but I am not about to throw in the towel. The next day, I tried again. This round was better. There was a contrast of texture between the crust and center. I was happy with the appearance and aroma, but it was tasteless. Again, I was very eager to redo.

 

Practice makes perfect, they say. False. It makes progress. And progress really is the goal. Every step of the way, we find that we can improve our craft as well as ourselves. There is no perfect state for a soul that is flawed. We’d always come up with an unattainable yardstick of success and then drown in a cycle of excuses of why we couldn’t reach even our own idealistic standard.

 

Progress really is the goal. Every step of the way, we find that we can improve our craft as well as ourselves.

 

Insofar as I could remember, I’d set goals every year and then eventually lose steam quite early in the game. I’ve given up on so many endeavors just because it didn’t turn out right the first time. I’ve allowed myself to be deceived by a limiting belief that I couldn’t get any better even if I tried.

 

It was illuminating for me to digest this lesson through a simple example of baking bread. It’s clear because so little was at stake. But it is also relevant to more significant goals where everything is on the line. In any case, it is liberating to kill perfectionism. My faults and flaws don’t easily trip me up. I learn and grow; then I go at it again.

 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and

cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us”

– Hebrews 12:1

 


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