I’m a perfectionist and often get caught up in black and white thinking. My mind is typically flooded with “shoulds,” “don’ts,” “musts,” “can’ts,” etc. For some reason, I set up all these crazy rules for myself that I feel I must follow in order to be successful or to be a good person. What’s worse is that these rules usually stem from healthy thoughts that are actually good for me that my mind finds a great way to twist and contort into a way that is no longer beneficial. For example, I am a big believer in compromise and feel that it is a great way to deal with most conflicts, however, I often take that to the extreme and look for the compromise in any situation and ignore what my true feelings are. Most of the time this seems like a good thing, but when it comes to certain situations, such as relationships, it’s not a good thing to suppress your feelings and just go along with the other person in order to avoid conflict. Those feelings will usually lie dormant and fester until you can’t hold them in any longer and the situation becomes worse than it could have been.
This “all-or-nothing” thinking is destructive and adds unnecessary anxiety to situations, making them even more difficult to deal with. When you think this way, you start to live life as if you are running to a finish line. The only problem is the closer you get, the farther the finish line seems to move away. There is a constant striving for an end of perfection that will never be achieved. Living life like this is exhausting and frustrating!
I have been trying to “live life in the gray.“ I’m trying to view life as a process and see each stumble as a lesson learned instead of another failure. I’m trying to embrace the fact that I’m not perfect, nor will I ever be. The most awesome thing about living this way is that God prefers you this way! In 2 Corinthians 12:9 He says “…My power is made perfect in weakness.” Isn’t it freeing to know that when you feel your weakest, God is there to give you all His strength!?
In her song “Control,” JJ Heller hits the nail on the head when she sings about the problem of perfection.
“Perfection has a price
But I cannot afford to live that life
It always ends the same; a fight I never win”
I hope that if you are reading this and feel the same way, you will learn to see the beauty of living life in the gray. I’m learning too.