Thursday, October 2, 2008

Perfectionism: A Too Familiar Tune

Once again I find myself in a familiar place: battling perfectionistic thinking. This time it stems from a new job as the assistant to the director of the Greater Kansas City Writing Project. (Katie, the director, refers to me as the assistant director, but I can't quite own that label!)

I love Katie and so many other people I get to work with, and I love the work. More than once in the last several years, I have said being someone's assistant would be fun, and then Katie asked me to take this position for this school year. What a blessing! After (minimal-- I confess -- perhaps my first mistake) prayer, I agreed.

As I settle into a routine, anxiety sits on my chest, much like a 100-pound gorilla. This is old stuff, and I've pulled out every tool God has given me to have victory: reciting scripture, praying, confessing, seeking wise counsel -- yet nothing has changed the fluttery heart and shortness of breath.

Yesterday at Bible Study Fellowship (where we are studying Moses) our teaching leader commented on how Moses 'messed up' when he tried to help a fellow Israelite by murdering an Egyptian. She went on to talk about our 'mess ups' -- in our relationships, in our educational experience, with our children, on the job. And in the middle of her list, God whispered (in my mind) Will you let me be the God of your 'mess ups'? In that simple question, the Holy Spirit revealed that in my fears, I am ultimately saying my mistakes are too big for God to handle. How arrogant of me! I repent and am thankful for a merciful God who forgives.

The question did not have a magical effect by removing every trace of anxiety, but I purpose to go on with God, and I am greatly comforted to know that He promises to never leave me nor forsake me. I'm in good hands.

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