To be honest, I think my closest friends would laugh if you asked if I was a perfectionist.
I am, however, discovering something about myself that for some reason I have chosen the word perfectionist to describe - perhaps for lack of a better word. Maybe that something fits better under the description of an 'all-or-nothing' personality.
In so many areas of my life, if I am going to do something, I want to do it fully, do it well. I'd argue that's many people's M.O. The problem comes in with my 'or-nothing' side. If I cannot do it fully and well, I tend to not be motivated to do anything.
[Which, as a funny side note, I looked up what M.O. means because, I'll admit, I did not know - and what if we used the latin words instead of the abbreviation in casual talk?... "I'd argue that's most people's modus operandi." HA! No.]
I'll give some examples:
- If I'm going to clean my house (besides your normal 'straightening up' that just must be done on a regular basis) - and I mean really clean my house - I always want to wait until there is the perfect environment. Ideally, I put on my 'work' clothes, I clear the house of distractions (and distracting persons..), and I have hours upon hours to really strip the house and clean every crevice. Otherwise (subconsciously) I believe that there's really no use in beginning a 'deep' clean, only to be interrupted.
- If I'm going to study for school (praise Jesus that I'm almost done with this sort of example..), I tend to not even begin if I cannot have complete silence, a large clean space on which to work, and a few hours of quiet to really 'get in there' and learn.
- If I'm going to work out, ideally, I would have my cute workout outfit on, a block of time to drive to the gym, get a really solid workout in, shower immediately afterwards, and feel really accomplished at the end of it.
I could go on, but you get the picture.
If there are only a few minutes to spare or the day is full, I tend to avoid the things that I want to do 'more fully' or 'better' if I cannot create the perfect environment for them in my day.
My quiet time - if I cannot have soft music playing on Pandora ("Classical for Studying Radio", I highly recommend), my cup of coffee, and a warm blanket while I read and pray for an hour, then I may as well just not even try, right?
[Firstly, sorry for yet another example when I told you I was done. ]
[Secondly, I know that people are laughing at the trendy 'coffee quiet times' that so many Christian women enjoy - but if it is truly something you enjoy, just as you would a spa day, or night out with the girls - why should we discourage enjoyable, special time with the Lord? Ok, off soapbox.]
A quick prayer in the car while my child is whining in the back seat will more than suffice for some 'quiet time' with the Lord. Some crunches and push ups in my living room in between laundry loads will suffice for keeping my body healthy and in shape until I can get in a good run. Reading notecards in order to prepare for an exam as I am cooking dinner for my family will really help me to review some of the topics I'm trying to learn for school. Windex-ing (verb) the windows while my boy naps in the other room will ultimately help me get one step closer to having a clean home.
You cannot eat a whole elephant all at once.
You can only do so a bite at a time.
[My sister can vouch for me that this phrase, while one I use often, is one I have
butchered a number of times no thanks to my hectic brain - something
about eating elephants typically comes out, and I sound morbid.]
Give what you have, when you can, and you'll find that you're more motivated, more successful, and more energetic than if you wait for the perfect setting before you accomplish anything.
Whatever goal you've set for yourself, the reason it may seem daunting is that it is something unreached at present. If it is unreached, that means you have to 'reach' to obtain it; then it will have become 'reached'. Sometimes reaching is a struggle - especially if the goal is lofty. So reach as far as you are able for today, for this hour, for this minute. That's all you can do.
Ultimately, you'll be that one small step closer to whatever it is you've been trying to do.
Pretty obvious, I suppose.
I guess I just had to actually take that small step this week to realize that I was in a closer position to my goal than I had been.