After reading my Christmas Funk post, you are probably wondering if I am ever happy or satisfied.
That’s difficult to answer. I am naturally a perfectionist in many areas. I am creative. That often translates to moody. I’m not as moody as I could be or as I once was. But it is part of my DNA.
Perfectionism is hard on relationships
Once I realized how damaging that attitude was to relationships of all kinds, I realized how damaging a perfectionistic attitude really is. I can’t say it solved all my problems, but I find if I edit my initial thoughts and reactions to people and situations, it helps.
I’m not a grace loving person naturally. I had to learn it. I’m an oldest child and strong on my version of justice! My love of grace has usually been that I love grace when it affects me and mine! I don’t think I’m unusual there!
The other problem with that attitude is that perfectionism tends to be very difficult on the people around me. That’s why I try not to let that part of me show. You know, sort of like trying to keep from showing your slip or parts of your underwear? It can be pretty in the right setting, but most of the time, it just isn’t appropriate!
Resentment is an even more difficult burden to carry around!
But the underside of being a perfectionist is that it isn’t easy on me either. There is a voice in my head that talks incessantly. Often it accuses. It certainly is very judgemental…of me… and my motives for everything I do!
“Yes, that was really nice, but we all know that underneath what you did was the self-serving motive of x.”
It isn’t a fun voice to have in your head…and it robs joy from the most happy occasion! I mention this not make anyone feel sorry for me, but to help all of us realize that there are lots of people walking around just like me.
GOD isn’t like many of us. His love is patient AND kind…
More recently (this past Sunday in fact!), I’ve been reminded that GOD’s love is patient and kind as we change and He waits for it. He isn’t waiting with His sarcastic comments to be critical or drumming His fingers impatiently as we fail AGAIN in the process of change!
He is truly patient and deals kindly with us as we fail repeatedly. That’s the kind of love He shows us. For people like me, that is a huge comfort because I am incredibly impatient with myself and my failure!
Step two in learning to live happily ever after?
Learning to love and accept the life GOD has given you now…including where I am in the process of change.
There is a healthy way to do that and an unhealthy way to do that.
The unhealthy way to do that is to passively give up on changing much and say things like:
“This is who I am. People will just have to learn to accept me for who I am.”
“I don’t believe in setting goals. If I am supposed to change, I will.” (as if it somehow happens magically!)
“This situation I am in can’t be changed. It is impossible and hopeless!”
Here are some more healthy responses.
“I realize that my attitude of ___ has contributed to the problems in this relationship. I need GOD to change ME in this way in the relationship.”
“I need to learn to listen more to this person or group to learn what their life situation is like so I can have some empathy for their situation. I realize that since I have never truly been in their situation, I need to listen well and observe so I can understand their feelings better.”
“I need to cultivate a grateful attitude based on who GOD is, what He has done and how He is working in history and the world. There is much that is happening that is not good, but if I look, I can see GOD at work all around me…and in me!”
These are just a few ways I can learn to accept what GOD is doing in my life, actively.
Is He is control of my life?
Is GOD sovereign over all the circumstances of my life?
If so, I can learn to be content with what I have now while learning to forgive, learn to love difficult people, and still grow and progress.
If I am single and want to marry I can learn to love the life I have but acknowledge that I would love something different. If I am childless, I can learn to accept the life I have, while seeking GOD’s will for the future in regards to having a child. I can learn to love and accept the stage where I am while working toward change if GOD so wills it just as a person in a career works to take extra courses to upgrade and support his family.
Present contentment breeds growth.
Dissatisfaction and bitterness breed resentment and stasis.
You get stuck in the past where your betterness is and can’t see a positive future.
Of course, that goes to a host of other situations. Learning to accept GOD’s present will for me simply means learning to find contentment now while realizing this present situation may not last the rest of my life. (A lie that Satan often tries to sell us.)
I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me.
Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it.
I am not saying this because I am in need,
for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.
I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation,
whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.