Can You Overcome Perfectionism?
My need for perfection and complete clarity gets in my way…
I have a problem with perfectionism.
I know I'm not perfect, but I have trouble making decisions when I don't have all the answers ahead of time.
Or, if I have a vision for something I want to build, I don't want to start it if I can't make it look the way I see it in my head.
I have a vision for an in-person mini-sabbatical retreat experience for women working in ministry.
In my head, it's intimate, full of opportunities to spend meaningful time with God, and spiritually refreshing.
I've planned this thing on paper a gazillion times.
But for some reason, I freeze up when I consider making a move towards bringing my vision to fruition.
I say to myself, “There are so many other people already doing something like this and doing it better than I can. Who needs me to add something new?”
The same thing happens when I think about preparing an inductive Bible study in-person seminar.
I've been invited to host one next year, but I'm having a hard time taking what's in my heart for an effective, meaningful seminar and putting legs to it.
I freeze. I circle the wilderness. I don't move forward.
Because I feel like I'm years away from what I see in my head being the actually true-life experience now.
I think that any effort to execute – at the level my work and skill are now – will fall short of what my dream actually is for the retreat and seminar.
So, I end up not moving at all. I begin believing the lie that it's not worth doing if it can't be what my heart envisions it to be.
There are so many small decisions to make between a dream being birthed in your heart and it's coming to life in a tangible way.
Unfortunately, many times my need for perfection and complete clarity gets in my way of forward movement.
Does this sound familiar to you?
Even though decision fatigue tries to keep me stagnant in motion, here's what time and experience have taught me in order to get unstuck and overcome it:
Take small steps.
God always has a small step for me to take that is much more accessible and achievable than the big dream I have in my heart. When I pray for guidance in what to do, he always provides my next step. He's just so faithful.
Complete clarity isn't necessary to move forward.
Many times, clarity comes once I get in motion. And honestly, I don't need clarity for the entire thing. I just need clarity for the next right thing.
A hundred next right things strung together over time eventually lead to a dream becoming reality. So, I release my human need to want to know it all at one time, and trust God with his process and gradual unfolding.
B- work is allowed.
I learned this years ago from an Amy Porterfield podcast episode. My work doesn't have to be perfect before it significantly helps someone.
If I wait for it to be perfect, I'll never put it out in the world.
B minus work is acceptable, especially if God breathes on it. His hand makes everything A+ worthy.
So, I'm pretty sure I'll always be confronted with tendencies to produce perfect work.
I know that decision fatigue will show up again as I try to figure out how to get closer to making a God-dream into an earthly reality.
But, I also know I can pause and pray for God's wisdom for the next right step to take.
His next right steps all strung together over time will lead to creating something only his hand can make beautiful.