I’m an all or nothing kind of girl. You know if I can’t do it right, I won’t do it all. If I can’t do it big, I would rather not do it at all. This is my natural tendency. This applies to exercise, my prayer life, my work life, my blog, my dreams. So if I can’t exercise for 1 hour straight I would rather not exercise at all. If I can’t pray for 1 hour, why should I pray at all? And sadly it’s linked to being an over-achiever and a perfectionist all at the same time.
I know many women who are like this. This is why, the best advice I’ve received to get rid of perfectionism forever was ‘Do what you can, with what you have’. I read this from one chapter in the book ‘She’s still there’ by Chrystal Evans Hurst and it transformed my world. In the book Chrystal cheers us as women to go back to our original hopes, dreams and plans. It’s about getting us back to the life we were meant to live with purpose, direction and satisfaction.
Chrystal mentions some totally life transforming wisdom nuggets and tricks in this chapter to get rid of perfectionism forever:
- Don’t wait to be good enough, old enough, motivated enough, strong enough to do the things you really want to do in life.
- We are tempted until just the right moment to do the right thing or the big thing but while we wait, we do NO-THING, (wow, just wow) Yup, that would be me right there
- Don’t wait for the day you have the right body, property, material possessions, marriage, spiritual maturity to live your best life
- Choose daily to use what God gave you to impact the world around you, even in ‘small ways’ . One day you’ll look back and realise the small things mattered!
- Don’t be discouraged by what you can or can’t do or what you have or don’t have
- We’ve got examples in the Bible of people who did what they could with what they had. They put what they had in God’s hands and miracles happened:
- The young boy with 2 loaves and 5 fish which ended up feeding more than 5,000 people (Mark 6: 30-44)
- David used a sling and stone to kill a feared giant (1 Samuel 17)
- Parable of the Talents (Matthew 15: 14-30)
- Commit to a small and limited task, one day at a time
I needed to hear that. I needed the permission to make progress rather than make perfect. To start, no matter how small. To get rid of this limiting behaviour called perfectionism.
This is what getting rid of perfectionism has looked like in my life:
My Prayer life
I became ok with starting small in my spiritual journey. In my prayer life, I’ve started with just 10-15 minute prayers in the morning and night, and during the day short 1-2 minute prayers as well. While this used to discourage me before ( I come from a background of praying for hours and even all night prayers being a norm so praying for a few minutes to God didn’t seem like a real prayer God could accept), I’ve learnt that if that’s what l can manage it’s better than NOT praying at all.
Quality time with my 5 year old daughter- this is a struggle as I work from 9-6pm and normally reach home by around 7pm. And by that time I’m too exhausted to even play with my daughter who hasn’t seen me all day and is looking forward to my arrival. While the amount of time we spend together is short I’ve learnt to be ok with a few minutes of quality play time over quantity. Even though l would prefer to hang out with her for hours, 30 minutes of playtime before bed-time is now acceptable to me. And the mom guilt has gradually decreased.
This blog was definitely born out of this advice. Well the whole book ‘She’s still there’ impacted me. But in order to start this blog I remembered that l needed to stop comparing myself with full time experienced bloggers out there. I had to start where I was. With what I have. With what l knew. Not waiting until I know enough about blogging, feel confident enough, feel spiritually mature enough to share what God has placed in my heart. And it’s something I’ve not regretted. Because once I started I realised it’s ok to learn as you grow.
I’ve also learned it’s ok if I’m not perfect because no one can relate to perfect anyways, right?
And guess what? By starting to live my best life now, I’m happier, more content, more excited about my future and more at peace than I was before. Because I’ve seen that doing what I can today with what I have has led to more progress in my life and in the most important and meaningful areas of my life.
But…… I will share the one area I haven’t yet managed to have a breakthrough in is starting exercise and taking care of my body. I just need to be very honest that this area is STILL a struggle to start. But because I’ve made so much progress in other areas I don’t doubt for a second that once I put my mind to it, L will start and let you know how it goes.
My Encouragement to you:
If you’re like me and you’re waiting for something to change in your life before having a life you love and enjoy l’m here to remind you not to wait. Life is too short and the time you’re wasting doing NO-THING while waiting for the right moment-you will never get that time back. So today, I encourage you to write down the list of things you’ve been waiting to do until just the right moment, right you, right circumstances and just start today. Be ok with starting small. Be ok with making mistakes-that’s how you learn, grow and have funny stories to tell your children and grandchildren one day lol. Do what you can with what you have today. Get rid of the perfectionism.
Lord I thank you for the gift of life. Thank you that you’ve given me this moment here and now to start living my best life. I’m tired of waiting for the right _____( fill in the blank) to realise my dream of _____(fill in the blank). I’m tired of waiting until I know enough or feel confident enough to start. Today, I decide to start. Start small. Start imperfect. Start with Your help and guidance Lord. Start with what I have and know. Because something small and ordinary in the hands of a Big God always turns out amazing. Thank you for your grace and power that will help me to live my life to the fullest from here onwards.
In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen