It is said, “The truth will set you free.” So here is my truth… I am very much a Type A personality! I find joy in marking off “To Do” lists, having a clean house, organizing closets, and meal planning. I am also a person who tends to fight “all or nothing” thinking and my emotions can be a bit of a roller coaster when it comes to life. Everyday is a struggle for me to find balance and perspective.
I am a mother of 3 girls. Chloe is 15, Allie is 13, Emilia is 14 months, and we have one on the way.
The funny thing is, my type A personality really did not kick in until I went through a divorce when Chloe was 4 and Allie was 1. I heard someone once say, “Perfectionism is insecurity in an art form.”
For many years, I lived in the extreme of perfectionism. I was a single mom working two jobs while getting straight A’s in college. I was attempting to be perfect in all areas in my life.
Along the way, my perfectionism manifested in an eating disorder. For me, my perfectionism was about control. I wanted to control EVERY aspect of my life, and sadly, many aspects of the lives around me. I wanted to always be two steps ahead of anything bad that could happen because I thought I could prevent it then.
THE OLD & NEW JEN
I waved the “Single-mom-whose-husband-left-her” flag high in the air. I have struggled with issues of self worth all my life. As I began to navigate life as a single mom, somehow I began to find a lot of my worth in being productive and in “control”. The longer my “To Do” list and the more things that I marked off, the more I felt like I proved my importance, existence, and worthiness. That was the old Jen.
The new Jen still struggles but now I struggle well and with hope.
I can see my perfectionism for what it is – a warning sign that I am trying to control something because somewhere else in my life I am feeling out of control or insecure.
How Does the New Jen Avoid the Old Jen Returning?
- I take time to “be still” every morning and spend time with the only one who is perfect.
- I pray over my To Do list before I make it.
- I pray that God will keep me balanced.
As is with my life, I can often times treat my walk with God as a To Do list. I say I don’t believe in “salvation through works,” but a lot of times the way I walk with God would show something else. I do know now when I make my time with God a “To Do” list, I am leaving no room for grace.
So, when life is hard, when I am struggling in any area of my life, when I don’t know what to do…what gets me through?
Well, for me, there are only 3 things. There are only 3 things that God wants and expects from me. I believe they are found in Micah 6:8
“And what does the Lord require of you:
To act justly,
love mercy, and
walk humbly with your God.”
That’s it. That is what I am required to do and the rest, well… God is God and I am not! He will take care of the rest.
Do you struggle with perfectionism and control?
What are some ways that you help overcome these issues?