Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Confessions of a Perfectionist

Lately I've been feeling it.  
The struggle of my perfectionist self 
and my desire to live a purposeful life. 
I'm a recovering perfectionist.
I really struggle with it during
the beginning of the year.
Everyone is out there writing 
their goals for the year.
Lose 25 pounds.
Start (you fill in the blank).
Be a better (you fill in the blank).

In the past I have written
New Year's Resolutions.
Goals that have fallen by
the wayside when I got
overwhelmed with trying 
to make everything perfect.
Instead of getting the high
of accomplishing a goal,
I would get the low when
I realized that there was no
way I would be able to accomplish
that huge goal I made because
 it was just too hard.
I would give up,
just to revisit those
resolutions the next year
and make the same resolutions
because I was stronger,
and I could anything.
Anything except meet my goals
for the year....

Why couldn't I accomplish these things?
Why did I keep failing?
I had a problem. 
I had a need to be perfect.
And when I couldn't  be perfect,
I would make my life appear that 
I was perfect and doing it all.
I would look at all the amazing 
things the people around me were 
doing and I would compare myself to them. 
It was hard. 
It was tiring.
It pushed me to give up
because there was no way
I could be as successful
as those people.
I didn't have the energy to do 
everything they did.
I didn't have the time.
I didn't have the resources.

Even writing this post this month
has been a struggle with my perfectionist self.
I want it to be perfect,
to speak to and touch others,
but I get to remind myself of a truth
I've learn the last couple of years
from an amazing woman named
Lara Casey Isaacson.

A year or two ago, I was on her blog
reading and she talked about how
she worked on choosing PURPOSE
over perfect.
Click here to see a recent video
she made talking about
Choosing purpose over perfect.

Last school year, I took her words to heart
and decided to choose purpose over perfect
in my job as a teacher.
It was really hard at first.
I was making choices about
what was most important
to teach my students and what
activities and other things did not
really fit in the purpose of my teaching.
One of the amazing things about this
is that I ended up spending less time
at work because I wasn't having to
prepare for activities that wouldn't
have really benefited
my students in their learning.
Other people started noticing that
I always left on time.
I explained to them what I was practicing.
They all would just tell me they
wished they could do that.
I wanted to get excited and tell
them they could, but alas
they didn't really believe.

This school year I have been struggling
again with wanting everything
to be perfect at school,
but still wanting to live true to
purpose over perfect.
I've spent time comparing myself
to other teachers who stay long
hours and come in on weekends.
My classes don't get a lot of fun activities
the other classes get to do.

In those moments,
I get the perfect reminder
to myself that looking for perfect as a teacher
and spending all my time at work
causes me to be stressed and unhappy.
My students still learn everything they
need to learn at school
(sometimes better than the other classes).
We just do it with more purpose.
We still do fun science projects
and reading and writing activities.
I also get the opportunity to spend
more time taking care of myself and my family,
which is especially important to me
now that we're expecting our first child.

I still write goals, but I do it with more
And I make sure that they are goals
that help me get where I truly want to go
and especially where my Father in Heaven
would like me to go to build His kingdom.
If you would like to read more about
how I do this, visit these blog posts
written by Lara Casey Isaacson.

2015 Goal Setting, Part 1: Good Things 
2015 Goal Setting, Part 2: What Didn’t Work + What I Learned
2015 Goal Setting, Part 3: Saying Yes, Saying No
2015 Goal Setting, Part 4: Get Radical + Sing Loud
Nothing is impossible if you focus
on purpose and ask Heavenly Father
for His help and guidance.
Phil. 4:13 says,
"I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me."
I know this to be true!
He has helped me in my life so much
when I chose to surrender and 
let Him take me where I needed to go.
I got to choose not only what was
purposeful for me, 
but also what was purposeful for God.
Amazing things can happen!
I hope that as you are starting your new year
that you can work on 
choosing PURPOSE
over perfect!