For whatever reason, we have raised a generation of "perfectionists." I believe there have always been perfectionists or controllers, but it seems the epidemic is spreading. I have always loved the quote, "Perfectionism is the single most inspiration crushing behavior we can impose on ourselves or others." I don't know who originated it, but it is powerfully true. In my vocation, we use it to illustrate the damage it does to children for adults to pressure them to do things "right" before they are capable of doing it at all.
As a controlling person, what I have found in my own life is that I'm controlling and a perfectionist in public and far less disciplined in private. The more controlling I am with others, the less disciplined I am with myself. I guess it's some sort of compensation for what I lack that no one knows about.
Here is the conundrum for me as a Christian. My God is perfect. His Son is perfect and was the perfect sacrifice to die for my imperfection. (Hebrews 12:2) As a believer in and an acceptor of that full-blood sacrifice, I acknowledge that the only good thing in or about me is His perfection, illustrated daily by His mercy, grace, longsuffering and unfailing forgiveness for all of my imperfections. (Is 64:6) That is a polite word for my utterly decadent nature and complete lack of any thing good except for what Jesus graciously gives me. Oh how joyful I am today that He uses "broken things" for His glory by making all things new.
We are not perfect, and no one ever will be. To try to portray that to the world is my "Pride." I don't want anyone to know I make mistakes. Well, my Heavenly Daddy said to me, "Dear sweet Mecca 'He always calls me sweet even in rebuke and exhortation,' everyone knows you are not perfect, and when you act as if you are (being controlling and wanting it my way), I diminish, you increase, and you know what a mess that makes." "Yes, Sir," I say, and whisper, "all of you, Lord, none of me." (John 3:30) What I know to be true is that the Lord Jesus magnifies his goodness with His power. The more I step back and LET GO, yield to His all sufficiency in every circumstance, the greater my influence for His glory in every circumstance. I think that is what Dr Bob Jones, Sr. meant when he said "for the believer, there is no difference in the secular and sacred." Everything I do must be glorifying to my Heavenly Daddy and therefore, sacred in His sight. When I am walking in that light as His is in that light, I not only am not controlling or trying to be "perfect," I actually have no desire to act with either of those behaviors. Now, isn't that something? He is all sufficient. He is all I need. He is all in all.
Because of what God is teaching me, I was able to write this following note to someone in my office for whom I pray, I am responsible for mentoring, and I work to be an example. I was able to write with clarity about "letting go." This, dear ones, is how God gives us confidence and influence. I would not have been able to do this but for His all sufficient mercy and grace. In fact, I did nothing. He did it all. That keeps me from boasting about anything.
(Name changed to protect the perfectionist in all of us).
My sweet Suzy – First of all, thank you for what you do, for your dedication and your clarity of thought. That attribute was so important today to our success, and you and Olivia did get a lot done.
I know you are concerned about the decision I made earlier today. I want to share something I am still learning about leadership and “letting go.” Whether or not you agree with it, and whether or not it was the right decision, it was mine to make.
When I made that decision, it released you from the responsibility of it and placed any repercussions on me. You expressed your concern, your disagreement and your reason why. I listened, thought about it, and made a decision. If you can learn to let go of what you cannot control, and to enjoy the freedom of that, it will change you. You will be able to think with even greater clarity, make better decisions, grow wiser and gain greater credibility with each triumph.
Suzy, before this year, I did not have the credibility to say that to you or anyone else. I have learned (and am still learning, thank God) the importance of letting go of what I cannot control. It is vital to my professional and personal growth. It is to yours as well. Be joyful, my Suzy. Let go of the thing you wanted to happen and embrace what did happen. In the whole scheme of things, it is not that important.
From someone who cares more than you know – Joyfully, MJ
Dear Ones - I am learning to speak to others the way the sweet Lord Jesus speaks to me. He is absolutely kind, does not hedge the issue, speaks truth into my life. When I receive it, it changes me. When I don't, well..... some of you have been the recipient of "my own goodness." It's very scary and never glorifies the perfect One who sacrificed all so I could be "perfect in Him."
My continuous challenge is to begin each day with a beginner's mind, a heart for the truth of God's Word, and the wisdom to treat others the way my Jesus treats me. May I challenge you to do the same. It will revolutionize your life. It produces "joy unspeakable and full of glory."
I love you all very much.
"He is all I need, He is all I need
All, all I need.
He was crucified and for me He died,
Jesus is all I need."