For the Weary Perfectionist Whose Tank is Bone Dry

release perfection 2

As I turn my face toward the glow of the digital alarm clock, I can almost hear the seconds ticking away. I will myself not to look at the time, not wanting to know the limited hours until I must wake my son for school.

Instead of counting sheep, I talk to the Shepherd who keeps watch over them, but my thoughts are too many, too pressing, too jumbled to make sense in the unnamed hours. I silently mouth the words, “Oh, God…” and after more tossing, am finally able to slip into the abyss of sleep.

The perfectionist in me exhausts until my tank is far past empty. It is bone dry.

I wake the next morning and try to concoct a blog post, but the cursor blinks at me mockingly, flashing the seconds away as I sit without words. Why is it so hard to put text on a page?

I remember the thoughts from a recent book about how time can be our sanctuary if we let ourselves get lost in the moment, to be still in the weight of it, but right now the only thing I’m lost in is my inability to meet expectations. Mostly my own.

The laundry sits piled in the basket untouched and a list of uncompleted projects accumulates. Why can’t this mamma of two pull it together? Christ came so that I could have freedom, but I’m not free. I’m trapped in an unending chaos of motherhood, an aspiring writer trying to find balance between the pursuit of a dream and the reality of responsibility.

I abandon the computer, let the cursor win, and in the stillness of the morning I find a space to breathe. I hear the faint whisper of the Spirit calling ever so gently, “Come to me. Rest with me.” I reluctantly oblige.

Truth collides with my guilt when I open my Bible.

It falls open to the verses I so desperately need to hear, penetrating this stubborn vat of idealism which always leaves me hollow.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

I’m struck with the simplicity of it. He never intended for me to be perfect. His power rests on me when I say, “God, I am worn out. I am a mess. Please give me the strength I lack.”

Freedom in Christ comes when I relinquish my need for perfection and rest in Him.

By holding myself to a standard only Christ can attain, I am simply fooling myself. When I let Him fill the spaces and the shortcomings with the glory that is His, and only His, I find rest. Sweet, soul-quenching rest.

So today, I’m making a promise to myself, which I may need to make again tomorrow. To not let myself be burdened any longer to the yoke of perfection. If I could attain this lofty standard, Christ would never have come.

For the sake of weary perfectionists everywhere, I’m so glad He did.


*This post originally appeared on (in)Courage in July, 2014.

10 thoughts on “For the Weary Perfectionist Whose Tank is Bone Dry

  1. So thankful God overcame perfectionism. Abby, you are at a tough time…raising kids, being a wife, and forging a way in the writing world. Life is busy! (An who made alarm clocks anyway?!) So thankful His rest is available and you are right there in the midst of it. xo


  2. Abby,
    I am a recovering perfectionist. I see so much of my younger self in you…you are greatly gifted but are always striving to do better. To get to the other side of perfectionism, I had to wrestle with the fact that what I was dealing with was not just insecurity it was also pride. By denying that the one and only way I could be perfect was through Christ, and Christ alone I was actually being prideful because I was in essence saying that what Christ did was not enough to cover me. Like you said, if I could do it on my own, then I really didn’t need Jesus. I read a great quote in another blogger’s post. It was by her grandma. She said, ” I never have to worry about letting God down, because I was never holding Him up.” Praying for peace for you as you relax into His grace and His perfection. Jesus is truly enough!
    Love you girl…
    Bev xoxo


  3. This was so beautifully written. I know how these moments feel, you have been given the gift of writing Gods whispers to your heart, as you take that time being teachable by a Savior who wants nothing but the best for us! 🙂


  4. Amen, Abby! I’m with you and am continually working through perfectionism. Your title caught my eye, and I’m so glad it did. Thank you for your words of uplifting encouragement. Praising Jesus for taking this “imperfection” to the cross for us! Much love to you today!!


    • So glad to see your face here today, Julie. Amen, He finished it all on the cross and we are just his vessels to spread that love! Blessings my friend and have a wonderful weekend.


  5. You title caught my eye like it did Julie’s, and guess why? I’m also a weary perfectionist. I SO GET what you’re saying about trying to balance working towards a dream with everyday, real life responsibility. The dust gets thick around here. I’d rather spend time with God, write, and spend time with my family than be a perfect housekeeper. Lots of other things I’m not perfect at either!


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