I struggle with perfectionism. Not in the sense that I imagine that I’m going to be the absolute best at everything I do, because there are just some things I do that I’m not exactly the most well-suited to the task. However, I give my all in everything I do. I don’t say that just to say it, I mean I really, REALLY try to do the best I can at everything. I know I can’t do as good a job as someone who really excels in that area, but gosh darn it if I’m not going to put something together that I’m proud of. So when I make a mistake, an obvious, big, stick-out-like-a-sore-thumb kind of mistake, it hurts.
Of course I know that mistakes happen. I’m ok with a small one here or there, it happens. But those big ones, or even when there are a bunch of consecutive small ones, get under my skin. A lot. It gets even worse when I know other people are affected by my mistake, and worse still when someone mentions it to me when I already know about it. My tendency is to internalize it and go over it in my head again and again pointing out everything I did wrong to lead up to it and finding everything I should have done instead. Within a minute of discovering a mistake I’ve made I’ve probably already come up with 5 ways I should have done it differently, and each one makes my heart sink a little more.
“How could you miss that!?”
“It’s obvious, you idiot!”
“You put in that much effort and that many hours and THIS is the best you can do?”
That list goes on and on. I make arguments in my head that I shouldn’t be responsible for this anymore. I make up any reason I can find to avoid telling them that the real reason is that I just don’t feel competent and I’m, honestly, terrified of trying again at the risk of failure again. This spiral of thought usually continues for several days, and by the end of it I can’t imagine having a lower opinion of myself. I’m afraid to face the people who know about my mistakes for fear that they might bring it up again or vocalize the many ways I should have done it differently that I’ve already beaten myself up over. Or worse, that they won’t say anything about it at all. Which in reality probably means they haven’t even thought about it again or trust me enough to learn from the mistake, but I’m convinced it means they’ve just written me off and are incredibly disappointed in me to the point that they just don’t even know what to say.
“‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” -2 Corinthians 12:9-10
God, thank you for my weaknesses. Thank you that through them your power is evident in unique ways. Thank you that in my insufficiency your grace is sufficient. Help me to learn that my weaknesses provide opportunity for your power to work in me and do things that only you can claim credit for. Help me to boast in my weaknesses and be content with them. Help me be content with insults, distresses, persecutions, and difficulties for Christ’s sake. Father, increase my weaknesses so that your strength might increase. Yes, let me be humbled by my mistakes, but let them make me glad as a reminder that it is only by Your strength that I can do all things. Help me to walk by the Spirit and live by the reality that You are sufficient in all things.
I will boast in my weakness.