–8.18.2015– The day that changed how I view perfectionism and comparison.
I am thankful for people who are not afraid to speak truth to me. In fact, I praise those who are bold and exude compassion on me as they confront my ugly sin. Questions is the sharp tool that can be used to hammer something home or dig something out. Either way, generally, the situation requires change and pain. This week the tool was used to dig my sin out.
Perfectionism and comparison rise to the surface, like a layer of nasty mold on bread, as people question me on how the internship is going. I am the youngest intern and I tend to see myself as inexperienced. Being a mere 20 years old, this mentality has caged me in this chamber of pity, in a box that reeks of pride. I compared myself to the other interns. I fought to be perfect. I strove to be seen as worthy. And in my efforts to fit in or to blend in with the other interns, I lost my focus on why I was doing this internship in the first place.
I robbed myself of joy. On my phone, I have set a reminder that at 12:00 every day I have the choice to choose joy. I Thessalonians 5:16 says “Rejoice always“. Oh dang. Perfectionism. Comparison. They both steal joy. And the sad part is that I allowed them to. God’s work is being done here in Cleveland, Ohio. His work does not stop even when I am striving to appear perfect before men. How often I grieve God’s heart. He wants me to serve, love, and honor Him. Not men. But God in His loving-kindness graciously takes me by the hand and leads me back to Him. He shows me through people’s bold yet compassionate words that what I am doing is not okay. It is not okay to want to be perfect for men. It is devastating to compare myself to other people. It breaks God’s heart when I do either.
Sitting in repentance is one of the hardest things that I have been challenged with here at the internship. As I pondered why I choose to strive for perfection and why I choose to compare, my mind went in to time-machine mode. It went back to my 6th grade year when I consciously knew I was being compared to my sister. The film continued to play in my mind and mocked me as old wounds started to expose. Memories hit like freight trains. More than once my breath hitched and I found myself struggling to breathe. I silently screamed for all the memories that destroyed me when I was younger to go away. In the midst of my agonizing pain, my feelings of insecurity, I stood at my desk preparing a lesson for our Collide group (middle school) the upcoming Sunday. Ephesians 2:10 is the text that I needed to prepare.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.“
I want to focus in on a part that is commonly looked over. The fact that I was created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand for me so that I would walk in them. The good works I was created for does not involve being perfect for men’s approval and it certainly boasts no argument for comparison. Walk in them. Walk in the good works that God has prepared for YOU. I was not created to do the good works that are specific to my boss’s. I was not created to walk in the good works of my fellow interns. The good works I walk in were prepared beforehand for me. What an awesome gift! And I snuff it out by comparing and striving to be perfect in others responsibilities. I am starting to wonder how I ever thought I would have joy in doing that. HA! I don’t.
So, I warn you from personal experience. Choose joy. Walk in the good works that God has prepared for you. Do not try to walk in perfection before men. Do not strive to compare yourself to others. Instead continue to revel in the beauty of being God’s workmanship created with a design that brings glory and honor to Him. Repent for the times that you do walk away and seek men’s approval. Repent for the times when you compare and deny the unique craftsmanship that sets you distinctly apart from other human beings.
Cheesecake Factory for the 1st time ever with one of my favorites!
Fairgrounds with Kara because we like to hangout. (;
And lastly, time with Darci. Because this girl is one my precious gifts here in Cleveland.