Monthly Archives: June 2016

Overcoming Daily Perfectionism

Perfectionist. Surely I am not one of those. I do many things wrong. I mess stuff up continuously, so that means I’m not a perfectionist, right?

Then why do I find it so difficult to get things started. Whether it’s cleaning, a project, a hobby, even visiting a friend or family member, that first step seems to get pushed out. Often I tell myself “there isn’t time,” or “not enough money,” “timing isn’t right” or “it’s not good timing for the other person involved.” Most of the time, it’s perfectionism.

What is perfectionism? Dictionary.com asserts, “Any of various doctrines holding that religious, moral, social or political perfection is attainable.” Not exactly how I would state it but pretty much covers all the areas I struggle with. I could add perfect to all of my excuses above: “there isn’t enough time to do it perfect.” “Not enough money to do it perfect.” …etc., identifying them as an issue of perfectionism.

How does one overcome perfectionism? You change your belief that perfect is possible. That’s obvious from the definition, but how does one go about changing a belief that is supported by culture?

First, think in terms of continuums. Focus on moving toward the end mark. When cleaning your house, instead of thinking everything has to have a home properly labeled and every speck of dust gone, focus on clearing the clutter off the counters, whip the counters down and vacuum. You can quickly get this done and you have moved the continuum bar toward a clean house.

Second, set incremental goals. Break what you need to do down and determine to complete part of it. By having this picture in you mind (I actually recommend writing it down), there is an end point. In the example above the incremental goal was clutter, counters and vacuuming. Set goals moving you toward the desirable end of the continuum forgetting what happened yesterday, how you failed earlier, or didn’t accomplish what you wanted to. Paul encourages us in Philemon 3:13-14 (NIV) “…forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal…”

Then when you accomplish a goal, celebrate! Be a person of celebration. Not in a bragging boastful sense. You do not need to post it on Facebook or brag to your best friend about your accomplishment; but give yourself the chance to feel the inner sense if accomplishment, relish it and thank God for it.

These three steps will move you away from perfectionism and give you a sense of accomplishment in its place. Give it a try!

By Becky Watkins

Springing from the Heart

“Hi!” I cheerfully greet my mom as I walk into her room. I don’t refer to her as mom as that would confuse her. She smiles and her face lights up recognizing me as someone she enjoys. I begin to tell her about things in my life.

Soon she asks, “Have you seen Mom?” She is referring to her mother who died about 20 years ago.

“No, I haven’t.” I respond. “Have you?” To correct her would be confusing and cause unnecessary grief. She responds that she sees her every now and then.

She gets a panicked look on her face and asks if I know where the kids are. “I need to take care of them,” she adds with urgency, anxiety rising in her.

“Don’t you think Paul would take care of them?” I respond in a calming and comforting voice. Paul is 52 and has a family of his own as do the rest of the “kids.”

“Oh, yes,” she replies. “He is a good boy.” She continues on to ask if I have seen Becky. My heart sinks and a wave of grief rushes over me. You see, I am Becky and this is confirmation that she has no idea who I am.

I reply with a pseudo-cheerful, “She’s doing great!” And because I can’t resist, I continue on, “Tell me about Becky?”

Mom smiles and with a sparkle in her eye replies, “She’s really a pretty good girl.” There is my much needed affirmation for the day.

I turn on her CD player. Johnny Cash begins to sing a church hymn. I skip the player forward to a more familiar song, “Just as I Am.” Mom’s face lights up with a radiant glow. She begins to sing the song not missing a word as if she was standing in church many years ago reading it out of that old church hymnal. I am overwhelmed with joy. I long for Johnny Cash to keep singing it over and over again like an overdone church service alter call because you see, in this moment, I got my mom back.

I think of Proverbs 4:20-23 (NIV) “My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.” How often it has been preached to filling your mind with the things from above. It makes sense now; these things are stored within our heart. When the brain begins to fail, what’s in the heart springs forth. Not even Alzheimer’s disease can steal the health and life from from one who has filled her heart with the Word.

by Becky Watkins