Being Perfect Stinks

perfect-pic“Your room is perfect!” A friend said this to me after seeing my room in college for the first time. I asked, “What do you mean?” They replied, “Everything is in perfect alignment; even the papers and pens on your desk are in perfect proportion and distance from the edges and the corners.” My friend was right. I hadn’t even noticed this before, and it got me thinking, “Yeah…why do I have my room and things so ‘perfect?’”

This seemingly “insignificant” event was used by the Lord to stir new thoughts inside my mind and heart. I started asking myself questions like, “Have I become one of those weird people who do weird things and have weird quirks?” Such questions drew my mind to the past when I had encountered other people doing “weird” things that seemed strange but “harmless.” Such as, one person I knew vacuumed the carpet in their entire house almost every day. I found out this person couldn’t stand it when people walked on the carpet and left footprints. So, they vacuumed daily to get the carpet fibers all leaning in the same direction.

Then there is a guy I played baseball with. He was a pitcher, and just about every time he prepared to throw a pitch he would tap his hand on the top of his cap. This same teammate also took 5-6 showers every day. I thought to myself, “He can’t stink that bad…why so much showering? I barely take one shower a day, do I need more showers so I don’t stink?”

Years later, at around the age of 27, I began “RECOVERY.” Meaning, I began to deal with my “weird” quirks, which were actually symptoms and “covers.” My “covers” were connected to emotional confusion, which was connected to depression and internal friction, which was connected to pain deep inside my heart and mind. In other words, the dots of my life journey to that point began to be connected and “uncovered.” When I began to ask myself these questions, and answered these questions with honesty, my mind seemed to quietly open up, and I began to understand myself, and others, and the world around me, better.

As I look back, I now know that my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, began to reveal truth to me back then. As I moved out of denial about my issues and stopped “overspiritualizing” so many things, I realized, and understood, life on an entirely new level. I realized the reason that person vacuumed the carpet every day had nothing to do with removing dirt, but rather it was a distraction they used in an attempt to deny, and not deal with, whatever deeper, unresolved issues they had inside. The same with my baseball teammate; his cap tapping and numerous daily showers were symptoms of something deeper going on inside of him.

The more I dug into my weird behaviors and the emotions hiding beneath these behaviors, the truth came out—I was trying to be perfect! Without being fully conscious of it, my “perfect” room was me attempting to compensate for how “imperfect” I felt in the core of who I was. On the fringe of my personality existed a young man scared to admit to himself, and to others, and especially to God, that he had some quirks, and some issues, and some pain. I attempted to control these deep reservoirs of pain and insecurity by being compulsively focused on my external behaviors. I was trying to be perfect on the outside to balance how horribly imperfect I felt on the inside. I reached a point where I smacked myself in the face, yanked my hair, and said to myself, “Scott, snap out of it…being perfect stinks! Trying to be perfect is exhausting! Attempting perfection is frustrating! Hiding behind perfectionism is not God’s plan for my life! The time has come for me to stop this painful and pressurized pursuit of perfection and to begin making changes in my life! Jesus…please help me to change.”

Well, I’m sure you are not surprised to hear that this was a major turning point in my life, and in my recovery, and in my ministry! As I began to learn more, and to heal more, and to grow more as a person, it was like being “born-again AGAIN!” I began to experience life with less of a “weight” on my emotions and my mind…the world was lifted off my back, so to speak. Life became easier and more manageable. I began to experience that this new NOT BEING PERFECT approach to life was so much easier and healthier! I began to intentionally leave my desk messy and tell myself, “Jesus loves messy people! Jesus loves weird people! Jesus adores quirky people! Jesus delights in those of us who are imperfect!”

I am now in my 22nd year of recovery; working through perfectionism was one of the initial phases. I still have my quirks and “weirdnesses,” but they’ve greatly diminished and are deflated of the former drive and wounded emotions that fueled them. Even today, those old “habits” and “tapes” will begin to replay inside of me. But, now I quickly recognize them and shift my focus from external behaviors to what is really happening in my heart, mind, emotions, and spirit. I look to my insides to find out what is really going on by asking Jesus to help me. My desk today is nowhere near perfect. Actually, as I write this, I look to my right and there is my desk…dusty, with open books, objects strewn about, and all kinds of stuff scattered haphazardly, and I say aloud to my desk (and to all attempts to perfectionism), “Let the dust arise and let the papers and the junk compound on my desk…I do not care because Jesus, and my family, and my friends, love and accept me just as I am—imperfect!”

Do you mind if I ask you…are you trying to be perfect like I tried to be? Or, are you weird, and quirky, and imperfect like me? Or, maybe you haven’t really thought about such things before? Maybe today would be the day you can express the courage inside of you—through Jesus Christ—and begin to explore and dig a little bit…it could change your life.

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens [and are trying to be perfect], and I will give you rest.”

– Jesus Christ
Matthew 10:39

If I can be of help in any way, be sure and let me know. Our ministry is here to serve, and to help, and to love on, imperfect people!

Not perfect and loving it…and living it,

signature-scott

Scott Nute

2 Responses — Written on October 13, 2016 — Filed in Blog

2 Responses

  1. crucesrev on October 13, 2016 at 7:08 pm Reply

    Great column! We all need to remember how powerful God’s grace is in freeing us from having to perform for his acceptance and love. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Nina on October 13, 2016 at 9:56 pm Reply

    Thanks, Scott. This was a great reminder. The times I find myself being a perfectionist mainly have to do with how others perceive me…..like having to have my house perfectly clean before guests come over. I feel like it’s a reflection on me if it isn’t. I have to remind myself that I shouldn’t be so concerned about what others think. Instead, I need to remember that Jesus cares about what’s on the inside and that is what I need to “keep clean”!

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