Thursday, January 23, 2014

The disease of perfection

Critical, harsh, unforgiving, self loathing these are all words I would use to describe my personality on most days. Wow! That's sunny and chipper, right? I know. Imagine living with that 24/7. Some of you can because you have the same tendency, while others may live with someone who has these same joyful personality traits. It's maddening. 

Complaining actually puts your brain in a bad funk. It's true. I heard there was a study on it. Look it up. 

My brain replays every sin that I can recall well, there are too many so maybe just the "highlights", daily. I am always trying to improve but I am constantly reminded of the horrible mistakes I made yesterday as well as many, many years ago. 

If feel like God is probably saying, "Seriously, you're going to bring up this again. I told you it's done. It's over. Move on!!" But thank goodness he has more patience with me than that. Although, I can't understand why. I would have been done with me long ago but he never gives up on us. 

I am also thankful that my husband never gives up on me. Unfortunately, this personality trait I have unleashes itself on those closest to me as well. No one likes to be reminded of their faults, failures, and everything they have said or done wrong continuously.  Love holds no record of wrongs.  

I expect my husband to know how to handle me and do what is best for me all the time. I expect him to speak gently, to calm me when I get in my type A craziness. Many times he does but he isn't perfect. He can't be my therapist and know how to "talk me down" from the ledge all the time. It is unfair of me to put that burden on him. 

God is the only one who can fulfill my needs of perfection. He is perfect. I never will be. When I am lost in my whirlwind of needing to be perfect and needing everyone else to be perfect, only He can calm my storm.  

I have to allow Him to soothe me. I can insist on intrinsically picking myself apart or picking my family apart or I can extrinsically reach out to God and reach out to others to be helpful instead of hurtful. I can enjoy instead of destroy. (That last part got a little charismatic preacher there.)

I don't share my shortcomings to air my dirty laundry or so that others might say "bless her heart". I share my faults so that maybe others who are struggling with perfection, which leads to depression, might know that they aren't alone or crazy. I know when I find that other people feel the same way I do or struggle with the same issues, it gives me comfort. 

We find God in the struggle.