That devilish pursuit of perfection and the art of letting go

I had a chance to skype with a dear friend this morning: oh the wonders of technology!  My friend, who is an amazing pastor, counselor, and confidant is juggling a ton of balls right now, and struggling a bit to keep them all in the air.

We’ve all been there, right?

But as she talked it occurred to me that trying to be perfect in every area of our life rarely gets us where we really want to be.

I remember my own struggle with juggling in my final year in seminary when I was wedding planning, graduation planning, writing grad school applications, working part-time at a church an hour away, and wondering what my future held.

And I remember when it came to grad school applications (of which I could have written many more than I did), I finally realized that success wouldn’t mean getting into every school to which I applied, or even any (maybe that’s easier to say now…), but knowing I put in everything I could into those applications, and I was proud to stand behind them.  And I really did feel an amazing sense of accomplishment when they were completed, and even as some of those inevitable rejection letters came in.  Maybe some schools were rejecting me, but that didn’t change the fact that I’d put together some great applications.

My husband (then fiance) and I resolved to limit wedding planning during that year to one day a week so that we could enjoy those Fridays but not have them and the wedding take over our lives.  I bought a frivolous book on tape to make the commutes more enjoyable.  The little things made me realize that I didn’t want that year to simply pass by, despite its hardships.

So this morning I encouraged my friend to give herself some grace, to laugh when the balls fell, and to realize that she may not doing things perfectly, but that doesn’t mean she’s not enough, and she’s not great at what she does.  I know she’ll find her own ways to make peace with her inner critic and adapt her busy lifestyle so that she can enjoy the present, too.

It’s funny how letting go of perfection can make us realize how great we already are, and feel the satisfaction and grace that God wants for us, but that the devilish pursuit of perfection will always lord over us…that is, if we let it.

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2 thoughts on “That devilish pursuit of perfection and the art of letting go

  1. Friend thank you for reminding me of this so often. It helps so much to have friends who truly believe in you and love you despite the day to day things piling up and undone. Hugs from NY!

    1. Ha, I’m glad this encouraged you because you always do that for me. Hope you’re having a good week and looking forward to chatting with you soon. Love you, too. Hugs from China.

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