Advice for Perfectionists
Leonard Cohen exhorts us to, 'Ring the bells that still can ring.'
I resonate with perfectionists.
It's something to aim at excellence, to do one's best, to strive to be and to do what's within one's capacity, one's passion, one's dream, but sometimes we are paralyzed by a perfectionistic tendency that precludes our beginning, for fear we may fail. This is quite different, of course, than being happy with coming second or constantly doing little more than producing shoddy, average, inadequate work, products and achievements. Then, we get by; we are happy just to do so.
I was a 'C' student until I discovered my passion, my vocation, my place; until I discovered how to focus and challenge myself toward preferred goals; before someone 'got me' and encouraged me to be who I was supposed to be. But I can still be lazy and do shoddy work, be content to just get by, to just get it done - to want to move on to something new, fresh and shiny.
Thank God, however, that there are times too, many times, when I sacrifice, struggle and hold my mouth just so, to get it right. I don't want so much just to get something done as to get it right, for myself and for others, for God's-sake. I don't want to be perfect, though I may strive in that direction, but I want to be a good steward of what's been given, entrusted to me for a while and for the good such obedience may bring.
Sometimes my efforts are less than perfect, less than my best, but they bring positive results anyway. It's not an excuse to aim low but assurance that there is One who can, and will sometimes, make up the difference, in Whose Providence even our lesser moments and offerings can be graciously taken and used to help and to bless. The irony is that sometimes what we thought was our great, grand contribution is ignored, does not produce the results or the recognition we'd hoped for. Perhaps our effort was put forth only so our ego might be stroked. It may be that ultimately for whom it's done will dictate not only how we do it, why we do it, but with what pleasure and joy it will be received.
But you've got to start. Just do it!
Cohen's words prod, encourage me: - 'Forget your perfect offering! There is a crack in everything - that's how the light get in.'