I was reminded of this recently as I worked on a project that should have been finished months ago – in fact before Naomi was even born.
I never thought I was a perfectionist.
I never got enough stuff done to even consider myself to be one. I rarely ever finished projects on my own without some sort of looming deadline over my head, and those that I did were definitely not done perfectly because I ran out of time to do all the stuff that needed to be done. Others have always considered them done well enough – but to me they were never as good as I knew they could be.
My light bulb moment came a few years ago wen I read Flylady’s view that most S.H.E.s (Sidetracked-home-executives) are perfectionist who procrastinate their work because the can’t do it perfectly. This way it’s not their fault that it didn’t turn out perfect, but the clocks.
This really struck such a cord with me.
I want to do SO many things – and I see these great projects, crafts, ideas, and such and I start dreaming. I figure up the perfect plan to carry them out – but then I wonder if I can really succeed at carrying it out perfectly. Fear that I can’t do it right, that I’ll mess up, that people won’t like what I’m doing, etc. etc., grabs a hold of me. So I procrastinate.
Which leads me to the first thing – and maybe the most important thing you and I aren’t doing perfectly:
The 1st thing you’re not doing perfectly as a Perfectionist is: Trusting God
The pressure is off of us if we remember this. We can pray, try and trust God with the results. He is not going to write a great big red F on our projects – He’s going to use them to His ends, not ours.
The 2nd thing you’re not doing perfectly as a Perfectionist is: Remembering the End Goal
Remember that project I was working on that should have been done ages ago. Well it’s inserts for the cloth diapers that I use (I’ll post soon a how-to for these).
I had wanted to make my own cloth diapers since my first pregnancy 5 years ago (the site I looked at is no longer available :-(, but there are tons of links to check out here). It took me 2 years to finally get some fabric together and sew my first ones. Then I realized I was still going to need some type of cover for them so they wouldn’t leak.
We spent a long time looking the waterproof fabric (PUL) that could be bought to sew your own covers – but at $13 something a yard, we decided that my sewing skills weren’t that good.
We decided it’d be better to buy Flip Covers (Amazon Referral link) and make our own inserts from old t-shirts. The inserts were $5+ each and we figured this would save us quite a bit. So we bought the covers in 2011 (we were planning to start fostering in 2012, I’ll write about this more some day 🙂 ).
Several months into 2013 I finally made my first insert. In fact, I only did it finally after my wonderfully helpful husband, Chris, decided he was going to start cutting them all out for me. This lit a fire under me!
But he wasn’t cutting them out neatly enough for this perfectionist. So I took it from him to start doing myself. I was irritated because cutting t-shirts isn’t super easy to do neatly (especially with dull scissors – we invested in a rotary pair soon after).
But something Chris said to me that day was pivotal to my perfectionist tendencies.
“Remember the end goal. They don’t have to be perfect and pretty. Their purpose after all is to hold pee and poop. “
Right. At the end of the day I just needed these to do that – not look all prim and proper like the store-bought ones. I needed them to work – nothing more.
I set ahead with that in mind and completed several inserts. I knew I’d probably need more, but I wasn’t fully convinced they’d work (see number 1 🙂 ), so I didn’t make more. I didn’t want to waste the work and old cruddy t-shirts I’d saved for this purpose.
You know what though, not only have they worked, but I actually prefer them to the 1 store-bought one that came with a free set, and the other mismatched inserts we bought super cheap at Wal-Mart. They work better, are softer, and overall just easier to deal with.
They may not look pretty, but they do their job. This was the end goal – not some pretty little pile that no one would ever see that would be pottyed on and left stained.
So why has it taken me so long to make more?
The 3rd thing you’re not doing perfectly as a Perfectionist is: Letting Go
It’s a struggle to let go of perfectionism. It’s a hurdle that stares you in the face everyday. Challenging you that you can’t get over it… at least not perfectly.
But “His mercies are new each day” (Lamentations 3:22-23 (NKJV)), and He’ll help each of us over the hurdle if we ask Him – even if it is just to make something to hold poop. 🙂
Be blessed and don’t stress,
What “End Goals” is your perfectionism challenging you in reaching?