Being one who strives to be perfect can generally be seen as positive. It demonstrates a strong work ethic and character and can motivate one to perform at their best. However, is being a perfectionist a good thing?
As a child, receiving a fresh box of crayons was a momentous occasion. The aroma of the crisp crayons and the sight of each color neatly sharpened brought me immense joy. I saw this new box as the epitome of perfection – no mistakes, just pure excellence. However, if even one crayon was broken, I would dispose of it without hesitation. As soon as the paper on any crayons began to wear and tear, I would toss it aside and add it to a tin where I kept all the other flawed and damaged ones. I now understand that this tin represented my pursuit of flawlessness, where I discarded imperfections. When I think about my childhood, I realize that I strongly desired everything to be perfect even then.
In life, it’s unrealistic to strive for absolute perfection. As a perfectionist myself, I understand the struggle that comes with this mentality. As a follower of Christ, I once believed that God demanded perfection from me. I thought that by doing more, I would earn His love and approval. However, I was mistaken. I now realize that God doesn’t expect us to be perfect.
One day, I was scrolling through Pinterest and found this picture.
Wow! These few words contain a strong and diverse message I thought. They remind us that our value remains constant despite any previous obstacles. Even if we have faced challenges in the past, we still have a reason to fulfill our purpose by serving both God and our fellow human beings.
After reading those four words, I realized my desire for perfection distorts my self-image. God reminded me of the tin filled with broken crayons I had as a child. I wondered what God was trying to convey to me. Why had he reminded me of this tin of broken crayons? I began to realize my actions of eliminating imperfections, like the broken crayons, were due to the importance of appearing flawless. To achieve flawlessness, it was imperative to ensure no imperfections remained visible; therefore, I thrust the defective crayons into a tin to lock them away forever. I believed being perfect was necessary even as I became an adult. I thought to be a good Christian, wife, daughter, and mother, I needed everything to be immaculate.
I would evaluate my day based on how much I have achieved and whether I have completed everything on my to-do list. Meeting all the objectives on my list means I have succeeded. Additionally, I have a specific goal in mind, and if I complete it, I consider it a success. If I did not complete it, I believe I have failed.
As a perfectionist, I believe that if something needs to be done, then I must be the one to do it perfectly. This mindset can lead to feeling like no one else can handle the task and that I must be the one to manage everything. It’s like juggling, but not just juggling – it’s like riding a bike on a tightrope with fire below and darts coming at you from every direction. As a perfectionist, the more challenging the task, the more rewarding it feels to complete it flawlessly. However, even after accomplishing something incredible, the satisfaction is fleeting as a perfectionist mindset always focuses on what needs to be done.
I have lived this way as long as I can remember, BUT GOD!!! I am learning how to overcome my perfectionist tendencies with His help. I now call myself a recovering perfectionist.
God desires our lives to reflect His goodness, even though we cannot attain perfection. Rather than striving to do everything to be perfect, we should rely on Him for guidance and support. Perfectionism may lead us to believe that we must accomplish tasks on our own, but in truth, seeking God’s help will bring about better outcomes. As we grow in our faith, we will learn to trust God and surrender control to Him.
The lesson I learned from Broken Crayons Still Color is that I can use a less-than-perfect crayon to color within the lines of my daily life. Although it may have a worn tip and torn paper, this imperfect crayon will still get the job done perfectly, even if it doesn’t look perfect on the outside.
I often think about the tin of crayons that I threw away. I wish I still had it as a reminder to rely on God and not aim for perfection. Instead, I should focus on seeking my Heavenly Father. Remembering God can use every crayon in the box, including the ones in the tin.