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Thursday, December 3

Today’s Readings: Psalms 18:1-20; Amos 4:6-13; Matthew 21:33-46; 2 Peter 3:11-18

For many, many years I have lived with a coping mechanism that I became very comfortable with and dependent on. That coping mechanism was my perfectionism.

My perfectionism served a variety of purposes in my life. When I was struggling to come to terms with my sexual orientation, for instance, my perfectionism told me that if I was perfect then people would have to love me – even if they would otherwise be homophobic. In other words, my perfectionism pulled me through my coming out process. When I struggled to live in a world that was out of control at times, my perfectionism told me that by seizing control of things around me and doing them “right” I could restore order in the world (or at least my little corner of the world). By this, I thought my perfectionism brought order into a chaotic world. It served me in other ways as well, but I think you are starting to get the gist of what I mean.

One of the reasons I continued to on to my perfectionist tendencies for so long (and the reasons I continue to challenge myself to leave them behind to this very day) is that our society rewards perfectionists. Sure, we perfectionists may be hard to be around at times because we are incredibly controlling. In the bigger picture, however, let’s be honest: perfectionists get things done. Because of this perfectionists often rise through the ranks at shocking rates.

It’s took me many years to confront myself and be honest about the fact that for several years my perfectionism was the rock or fortress in my life – the thing I thought I could depend on. Sure, I would read passages like today’s Psalm, and think they were nice words. But I wouldn’t live by them. I’m just now starting to realize – I mean REALLY realize - what it means to take those words seriously: “I love you God – you make me strong. God is my bedrock under my feet, the castle in which I live, my rescuing knight” (Psalm 18:1-2 from The Message).

My question for you to consider today is this: what is your bedrock? Is it God, or is it something else? Til next time…

1 comment:

betsy said...

I spent about 20 min leavign you a comment and it vanished into outer space because my computer said I had taken to long to do it. I really do not like computers when they do such inhuman things. You were speaking of perfection and I can't remember what I wrote, but I too have perfectionistic tendencies in some areas-such as wanting to finish something I started and getting incensed when I am not allowed to do so, because something else takes precedence. Of course in an emergency I dn see the point of stopping. This obstinancy on my part comes from "entertaining" OCPD. It also drives me a litte "crazy" because the ADHD means that I often don't recall what I was doing, unless I stick with it. Thus the egg frying on the stove is not attended to because someone or thing caught or demanded my attention. This is not only crzay-making but once in a while dangerous! That is why the practice of contemplation and centering prayer is helpful in at least focusing silently during the day. Betsy Noorzay