on failure, or exposure therapy for the perfectionist

Sometimes I have blog drafts open on my computer for weeks at a time as I try to figure out what the end result will be. I hope that the longer I take to forumlate thoughts, the more clear and successful the post will be. This post is opposite of that in every sense of the word, as it fails at the goals I have set forth for myself in terms of what a “good blog post” should be.

fail·ure

1. an act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; lack of success
2. nonperformance of something due, required, or expected
3. a subnormal quantity or quality; an insufficiency
4. deterioration or decay, especially of vigor, strength, etc.

This last week has been chock-full of failure. Nothing monumental or catastrophic happened. There was no tragedy or  emergency.  But there was a lot of failure. Real failure and perceived failure. There isn’t even a way to redeemably discuss all the crap that happened last week, except to say that now it’s a little funny. Still bad, but at least a little funny in how bad it was and is and feels. Nothing beautiful has come of that week in my life. It wasn’t all fixed by some lovely conversation that made sense of it all. No one was especially pleased or encouraged by my tearfulness or moodiness. I didn’t make any new friends with my selfish and entitled attitude. Job application condolences are not withdrawn by my gracious response to their rejections. There’s no inspiration in brokenness and failure, save the motivation to keep going. I have no more wisdom to offer than I did before last week. I don’t know what lessons I’m “supposed to be” learning.
I struggle deeply with perfectionism, down to the very core of who I am and what I believe about myself and God. This gives failure way too much control over my life and my emotions. It unearths insecurity and shame in me in ways that are so ingrained they are hard to identify, sometimes. And above all, my pride loves to pretend that the perfectionism doesn’t exist, that everything comes naturally and without effort. Failure is the worst.
My desire for transparency and honesty demand that posts not always be cleverly crafted, and that I am honest without a desire for affirmation in the midst of this. I say that my faith in Christ remains, despite discouragement and fear. This post is putting my money where my mouth is.
If nothing else, I do not think that I am alone in this. And that means that you aren’t, either.

 

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