I have always been an avid perfectionist and a strategic procrastinator. So often I would work on projects and my mom would remind me of the K.I.S.S method–Keep It Simple, Stupid–as I tried to do the absolute most. Bless my parents for putting up with me, really.
As I’ve gotten older, these things have not gone away. I still want to be perfect in everything I do, and I’m the best at leaving things to the last minute. This combination can be volatile, because you can’t be perfect on a time crunch. You just have to get by, and sometimes that means sacrificing the perfection, and focusing on getting through the day. Sometimes that means dealing with being unsatisfied, and trying not to take it as a personal failure.
In my major I am surrounded by so many people who are scrupulously organized, live by their planner, and are color coordinated in everything they do. They are truly Pinterest-ready teachers, and I have always felt completely isolated, on the outside, because I just don’t function that way. I see them and immediately beat myself up because I am not at their level. I don’t know how to use washi tape to make my planner prettier, my room is almost always a mess, and I don’t have every project done a week ahead of time. And the running mantra in my head so often revolves around those facts, telling me that because I am not like them, I am worth less than them.
However, ever since the sermon series on Expectation vs. Reality, I’ve started thinking back on my life. I remember in grade school I would spend indoor recesses meticulously organizing and reorganizing my desk. I would spend hours determining the best way to put together my papers, picking out the perfect pencils to use, the best way to order my folders. And then two days later I would be scrambling through all of my papers trying to find the one my teacher asked for, breaking down into tears because I couldn’t find it fast enough and I was frustrated.
Fast forward ten years, and it turns out very little has changed. I still have this image in my head that I should be a perfectly organized, well-oiled machine of a person. I still try to organize my life to the tiny detail. I spend half of my waking hours trying to figure out how to improve, be a better person, and get more done. I run through my to do list over and over again, and it is always too long. I assume there are more hours in the day than are reasonable to expect. And then I hear my mother’s voice, exasperated but kind, keep it simple, stupid!
Perfection is not about meeting expectations, whether they are my own, or they come from a rubric. Perfection is unique on each person, just look around. God made us in his image. God made me perfectly, I’ve been told this in every Sunday School class, I’ve sung it in the church choir at least a hundred times. When did I stop believing it?
I expect so many things from myself, and I forget to consider the reality of life. I need to learn to appreciate who I am right now. Because who I am right now is enough. She isn’t perfect, but she is enough for this moment. Psalm 139:14; I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Sometimes I struggle. Sometimes I am sad. Oftentimes, I make mistakes. But I am powerful. I am wonderful. I am a child of God. I am unstoppable.