In Celebration of Good Enough

wp-1452089613268.jpg Hands up in you’re a perfectionist.

I see ya. Yup, you, too. And over there.

You know, there are those who might be surprised to see my hand waving in the air like I just don’t care. I mean, I do care.  A lot.

I’m a perfectionist. Of course I care. A lot.

See, I’m a perfectionist in the way that, if I can’t do something absolutely amazingly and wonderfully, and PERFECTLY, I just don’t want to do it at all. Maybe that’s why I’m not the world’s best housekeeper…hm.

My perfectionism serves me well in my writing. It pushes me to be better, to offer my very best, to keep improving.

However, my perfectionism hinders me in a lot of other ways.

There have been times when I haven’t invited friends over because I didn’t think I’d ever get my house perfectly clean. I used to beat myself up over performances when I didn’t hit every single note perfectly. I’ve avoided trying new things because it took the risk of showing that I’m not perfectly good at everything.

It’s often not enough for me to try to be perfect. I usually want other people to think I’m perfect, too.

 

The problem? I’m totally not perfect.

The problem? I am a mere mortal with limitations.

Sometimes, in some things, I need to be content with Good Enough.

Hear me, please, not in a dismissive, slack off way. But in a “I did my best and can give no more of myself” kind of way.

When a friend comes over and sees that I haven’t gotten that cobweb in the corner, it’s okay. I vacuumed and scooped the poop out of the litter box. Good enough.

When I’ve played the keyboard at church and did my very best to hit the right keys even though my nervous fingers bumped the wrong ones a few times, I still put my heart into serving others and worshipping God. Good enough.

When I serve dinner on paper plates every night for a full week, but those dinners had all the important elements (including a veggie). Good enough.

When I falter under the temptation of the chocolate chips in the cupboard, but I also had an extra handful of spinach at lunch (without ranch). Good enough.

When I don’t know what to say to comfort a friend, but am wise enough to know that a hug speaks plenty. Good enough.

When I’m doing what I can with what I’ve got and trying my very best to hear what God has to say (even though sometimes His voice is so soft I have to strain to listen). Good. Enough.

It’s grace that I give myself. To do what I’m able to and let go of what is beyond me. To put my time and energy into the tasks that God has enabled me to do and to allow myself to sit back and imagine Him looking at my efforts.

And I imagine Him smiling in the way that fathers do and taking my small gifts and saying, “Good enough.”

 

 

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13 thoughts on “In Celebration of Good Enough

  1. This is my life, Susie, this is my life!

    I have to be on constant guard against Perfection Paralysis. It is the root for most of my writer’s block. It causes me to be HORRENDOUSLY competitive. It even steals the focus and joy I have when reading if I’m not vigilant.

    Thank you for the reminder.

    ~Recovering Perfectionist Paul

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Try being an organist and hitting a few extra keys… With your feet. Yeah, it can drive one nutz.

    It helps me to try and remember to extend myself the grace that those I love would give me. (In abundance.) And to offer myself the kindness I would wrap around another person.

    Sure, I need to challenge me. But I also need to give me some slack. I’m pretty difficult to put up with, aren’t me?

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    • Calbert, you aren’t difficult at all! You’re pretty cool, as a matter of fact. Yes to challenging ourselves. Double yes. But in those challenges we need to accept imperfection and give ourselves the chance to keep on keeping on. We can do it! And we can be content with our best efforts! Huzzah!

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  3. This is all over the place: I too am a perfectionist. It makes me crazy because how can you be a perfectionist when you never do anything? Next I want to say I am enjoying A Cup Of Dust. Wondering how you learned so much about the “Dust Bowl” years. Last I just have to comment on your beautiful blue eyes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Carol! Together we can overcome perfectionism. At least we can try and support each other along the way. 🙂

      Oh, I’m so glad you’re enjoying A Cup of Dust! That makes my day. You know, I started researching the Dust Bowl after reading The Grapes of Wrath. That led to the rich photography of the time (specifically Dorothea Lange). A great book to read about that time is The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan and a documentary to view is The Dust Bowl directed by Ken Burns.

      And, oh, thank you. Those eyes run in my family. I can’t take too much credit for them. 😉

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  4. Ah, perfectionism is such a fickle one. It’s a lifelong struggle. No company because the house doesn’t add up, Don/t start that quilt design because it can’t possibly come out perfectly. Don’t finish that almost finished quilt because you’ll ruin it with a crooked binding. Stay away from those women because your hair is too wild, you’re too fat, you don’t have the perfect outfit. Don’t even try to complete with your brother because he’s already perfect. Stay in the background and no one will notice your failings. Hmmm….. the sounds of satan that ring in my ears so often. I denounce him and seek God’s grace, and somehow muddle through a few of these things, but that old “not good enough” self thought is a tough one to overcome. Great blog post, sweet friend!

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