I think my parents probably really messed me up. Just kidding. No, really. I bet it’s their fault. Since they were hippies before they met and married, I think they just lived all carefree and sandals and flowy skirts and that they thought they’d raise little flower children, content to run around without shoes on… You know, all:
“live FREE chickie baby, live FREE…”
They were Christians. But long dresses and God-fearing traits aside, there was this anti-culture thing in them that fought against facades. Which I NOW appreciate… but at the ripe age of four and five, I liked the facades. I kinda yearned for the white-picket fenced “normal” because I FELT different. I liked shoes. I wanted my hair a certain way. I liked the Saturday morning routine of the neighbors’ across the street in suburban Wisconsin. They ritualistically power-washed their home’s perfect little Sears siding… While my parents hung macramé planters and dug in the dirty… dirt. On their knees in the front yard garden. 😉
Somehow, I felt strangely drawn to the power-washer people. 😉 no offense to the hobbies of macramé and gardening.
I just came out like this. A dislike for dirt and barefeet and leaving crust on my face. I was BORN with an eye for details, a desire to do “the right thing” and excessive self-awareness. I know my parents had a healthy understanding of God’s grace that’s why I could run to them for reassurance. They were cool. I was bit more high-strung. I remember going to them, wondering, if I’d still go to heaven if had done just one bad thing. At age 5.
God makes us all different. My siblings are all semi-normal …you know, running free… and stuff so… It’s not entirely that I’m a product of “environment.” BUT … and there’s always got to be a big but… sometimes we DO take on this “I’ve gotta be perfect” from external sources.
If you feel you HAVE to do things a certain way and look (or smell ;)) pristinely at all times… You might battle with this. Which is a vicious little cycle. Because then you MIGHT feel that others “SHOULD” look or smell or do things a certain way, as well. I mean, after all, we all WANT to smell good and be good examples. Get with the program PEOPLE! We should all be
Technically, yes, as Christians we all want to be excellent. But I don’t find it quite like that in the Bible. In fact, from experience I can say that “perfectionism” masked as “excellence,” gives us license to judge others and live preoccupied with ourselves.
Which, in the end, is arrogance and pride …and is, far from… perfect.
Some symptoms of non-hippy perfectionism are:
1. Self-criticism & excessive preoccupation with grooming and what others think
2. Expert eye for details, especially those “unfinished or incorrect”
3. Rapid ability to diagnose others’ problems
4. Blue eye makeup & Teased hair… Just kidding, I just threw that in to keep you reading..
5. Inflated expectations for the measurement of success
6. Guilt over feeling incompetent
7. Lack of productivity (procrastination) due to waiting for the “perfect” circumstances or moment to begin
8. Excessive listing
9. Blogging about being perfect
10. Excessive preoccupation with getting to number 10 on lists
You see, when you read the scripture
“Be ye perfect even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,” it is neither a command, nor a promise. It is an exhortation. And the context is one of “going above and beyond,” “loving our enemies” not just our friends, “telling the truth” even when it hurts.
The context is this:
Whatever character traits you see Jesus model (spitting image of His Father) BE that. And yes, God is so cool, there’s no other way to describe Him but perfect. Because in Him are all the varied and different attributes that He proudly placed in each of us, His children. Another version of Matthew 5:48 says it like this:
“But you must always act like your Father in heaven.”
Perfectionism binds you to an unattainable ideal. But acting like your Father means you will end up being the best YOU you can be. That sounds like a great book title for Joel Osteen.
Shoes, or barefeet…powerwashers or dirt lovers… We don’t have to be perfect. Just imitators of Christ.
In the end, let’s just all…
“live FREE chickie baby,
“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”
Me and my Hippies Summer ’77