Trouble is, most of the time it’s of their own making. (Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything.)
A recovering perfectionist, in working out a long-ago commitment to make that phrase past tense (recovered perfectionist), might attempt an artsy version of a favorite song lyric – prompted by a friend’sSong of the Monthpost and inspired by other friends’ practice of expressing beautiful truths in watercolor and other media (AlisonandJeanetta) – and decide to post her own, primitively written piece of “art.”
(She might even leave an incredibly long and convoluted sentence long and convoluted and hope that the reader will plow through enough to understand it.)
In the interest of demonstrating that trusting in Him – creator of the universe, of art and our very souls – is the higher virtue, this recovering perfectionist might decide:
The good Lord will appreciate the effort and look over the crudeness of the lettering, not judging it on “artistic merit” but on intent.
It’s a good exercise toward the “recovering” part of perfectionism.
The artist’s willingness to show vulnerability might just encourage another weary traveler to do the same.
A nonperfectionist might look at this piece and decide that it’s just fine. (What’s all the fuss?)
There’s value in declaring that true SATISFACTION can be found in Him and only Him. (Someone please inform Mick Jagger.)
So I present to you this crudely drawn, deeply felt quotation, which will go on my bathroom mirror, and maybe even find a spot at my workstation at the office.
Btw, don’t bother looking for any lightly drawn pencil marks on the quotation that may have helped the aforementioned still-recovering perfectionist keep the rows straight. (Those were probably erased once the lettering was complete.)
(If they existed at all.)
Perfectionism, a hard row to hoe?
My friends, recovering from perfectionism can leave you face down in the dirt!
What attempts at overcoming perfectionism have you made recently? Publishing a poem that may not be understood? Taking an art class and letting the “flaws” show in the finished product? Leaving the toilet seat up? Share your vulnerable moment in the Comments section.
One of the things that draws me to people is their honesty and transparency about their struggles. When someone is brutally honest about his or her life without glossing over the mess, that’s when I can relate. That’s what draws me in to a story.
Usually when I think of the death of little Maria Sue Chapman (5-year-old daughter of Mary Beth Chapman and contemporary Christian singer Steven Curtis Chapman), three things come to mind: 1) the morning I heard the news on my car radio, 2) the family’s appearance on Larry King Live a couple of months later and 3) Steven’s sweet song “Cinderella,” which was even more poignant after Maria died.
But those are things I saw and heard from a distance – before I read Choosing to See: A Journey of Struggle and Hope by Mary Beth Chapman and Ellen Vaughn – before I heard the rest of the story from a grieving mom. After finishing the book, I had a deeper understanding of the family’s grief and how far Mary Beth, her husband and their children came in the two years between the accident and the book’s publication. Slowly but surely … God was healing them. In the meantime, they remained faithful to giving Him the glory and honor – even in the messy middle of their grief.
The family shares some of that story in the Larry King interview, too. The links to the interview start here, and below is the first segment:
The Chapmans’ faith – strengthened by their history of walking with God, and with a strong support network of friends, family, church members and counselors – is a testimony to others who are grieving, questioning … struggling.
There are no pat answers here, no trite quotes or pithy sayings, only the words of a mom being honest about her journey to healing. That she (and her family) looks to God as the ultimate source of that healing is largely what the book is about.
I wrote about this on my other blog last weekend, in a post called “Of funerals and letting go,” after I put down the book to get ready for a friend’s funeral. It was a day that could have been depressing but instead was encouraging.
Something that astounded me is that Mary Beth dealt with depression in the early years of her life, yet she still managed to cling tightly to God’s hand as she mourned, as she struggled and as she told her family’s story.
This story strengthened my faith and reminded me of the great truths of God’s love, mercy and healing.
If you or someone you know has suffered a deeply felt loss, my prayer is that this book would strengthen and encourage you, too. Check it out.
In the aftermath of losing Maria, Steven began writing songs for a new album, which he called Beauty Will Rise. The song “Faithful,” quoted above, is from that album. Give it a listen. It, too, is honest and vulnerable – filled with hope.
It’s been two months since I posted on To Well With You, and I figured it was about time I let you know what I’ve been up to.
I’ve been posting – just not on this particular blog.
Every week in September, I guest posted at the Arkansas Women Bloggers site (I was Blogger of the Month, and here’s one of my posts, called “The Power of Community.”) I’ve posted a few times at my “big sister blog,” Suzy & Spice (the one I’ve been publishing since 2007). That included an ambassador post for Project STIR, something my friend Sarah launched last month to highlight family recipes around the globe. My family recipe was Nanny’s pickles, and my cousins and I had a grand time with our memories and some old photos. Sarah also is spotlighting each of her ambassadors on her own blog. (Check out my spotlight here.)
And I’ve been doing a lot more than blogging, but I won’t bore you with the mundaneness of that.
To be honest, the real reason I haven’t posted here in two months is that I’ve been all up in my head, trying to figure out a few things.
I’m a little clearer on some things now, and I want to share what’s been going on in there (in my head).
I had been focusing too much on figuring out the best ways to make money with my writing and editing, with wellness coaching, with whatever.
Someday I want to have the freedom to work for myself, but in the meantime I want to be able to pay off mortgages (ours and my mom’s house, which Bruce and I bought from her), medical bills and credit card balances (partly as a result of medical bills). I have a full-time job, and all the extra stuff in my life has to happen before or after 8-5.
I hate having debt. I teach people how to get free from debt and live financially free, and I feel like a huge hypocrite for having monthly payments.
Also, Bruce and I like to be generous as much as we can, and we’d like to be able to help more people and causes with our income.
So my focus has been on 1) figuring out how to make more money, 2) spending time with Mom and Bruce and 3) surviving.
I had a crisis of confidence. I was trying to learn how to “monetize my blog” while remaining true to my stated purpose: helping people recognize and fulfill their God-given purpose in the world.
Somewhere along the way I started listening to the voices (some inside my head, some from other “advisers”) that said I couldn’t tell it like it is. That I couldn’t let you see me sweat. I should be an expert, no chinks in the armor.
While being “authentic.”
For me, authentic means I have to let you see behind the curtain. Just like the great and powerful Oz, I’ve been back there pulling levers, pushing buttons, spinning wheels … trying to make it all work.
But, unlike the Wizard of Oz, I want to draw back the curtain and let you see.
TELL ME THE TRUTH
If you’ve known me for more than 30 seconds, you know I like to cut to the chase. Euphemisms and flowery talk give me a headache. I want you to tell me the truth – straight up, no chaser.
That’s how I’m most comfortable communicating, and it’s how I like for people to speak to me. Tell me the truth … in a loving and respectful way, of course … but just tell me thetruth.
Until a few days ago, I had been tied up in knots about how to move forward.
But, as Providence would have it, I’ve been enjoying some really good input lately, in the form of great books and a phenomenal online summit. I listened to some good truth-tellers – people who are successful despite (because of?) their habit of being open, authentic and vulnerable. (I like that a lot better.)
My friends, the entire reason I started this blog, the reason I got a wellness-coaching certification, the reason I’m brave enough to write this, is that I think I have a few relevant things to say to you.
Because I’m a mess. A work in progress.
Because God’s not finished with me yet.
Because this diamond-in-the-rough has figured out a few things that I think might help others. Some of my rough edges are starting to become smoother, stroke by stroke of the Master’s hand.
I’M WEIRD FOR A REASON
I used to ask God why He made me this way. I now believe it’s 1) because I’m unique, and that’s by design, and 2) so that I can help others. So that I can say, See, I overcame this, and I don’t think you’re so weird, but if you need to work on some things I’m here to walk beside you – to talk you down off the ledge, if you’re on one.
God took an excruciatingly shy little girl – one with hang-ups, fears, doubts and small thinking – and spoke His words of truth into her heart, gave her the will to change, and told her that her ability to overcome her hang-ups and fears and be a confident, bold woman could help others by example.
Every day, He still whispers His truths to me (on the days he’s not having to smack me upside the head and SHOUT them).
So, whether I make a dime with my coaching or freelance writing/editing or whether this remains a part-time gig just for evenings and weekends, I’m here to let it all hang out and hope that my policy of speaking truth in love gives you a safe place to be yourself, to work through your stuff, no matter whether your “stuff” is big or small.
I leave you with one of my favorite Point of Grace songs, “Heal the Wound.” Listen to the words.
If any of these words – mine or the songwriters’ – strike a chord with you, please share this post and ask a friend to subscribe. Share online, email someone … just share. It’s free. 🙂
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