Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Perfection is My Enemy

"Sometimes I believe that I can do anything/Yet other times I think I've got nothing good to bring/But You look at my heart and You tell me/That I've got all You seek." - Francesca Battistelli, "Free to be Me"

The last four days have taught me a lot about my own ego. That's funny, because I don't tend to think I have a fragile one (ego, that is). But I must have been on a pedestal because I came down from it really quick. Recent efforts to apply for scholarships have fallen through, making me doubt my writing ability and doubt the effort I put into my extracurriculars. Even more recently, peers (whom I respect) have administered constructive criticism of my work. 

Ever felt like everyone's out to get you? Like you can't do anything right? That's about where I'm at. It happens when I put my life on cruise-control, and I think everything is going swimmingly. Then...SMACK! I've hit a brick wall and I'm about to start bawling. 

I look at my work sometimes and see so many flaws. Writing's different from anything. When the writing is perfect (or near perfect) readers don't notice; they simply enjoy the story. But when there is a mistake, it sticks out like a sore thumb, and seems to be all anyone can concentrate on. 

I just finished reading some criticism the other day and felt about ready to just say, "Can I just take a break from writing? Maybe I'm tired of doing that 24/7. How 'bout that, God?"

But that's when I have to put it in perspective. I wouldn't be getting criticism of my work if I didn't need it. And if I didn't need to improve, that would mean I'm perfect. And if I was perfect, I would be like God. And I am certainly not God. 

Plus, I know that writing is a passion God has given to me. And he wants to use it for Him. So even if the process of writing is painful, frustrating or tiring, I know it will be put to use for Him someday (and even now as you're reading this!)

It's ironic, too, with Easter right behind me. Jesus atoned for all those times I am jealous, frustrated and that constant drive of perfection. I will never be perfect, and all my efforts will be futile. So maybe its not the attempt to be perfect that God wants from us, but rather the humility to accept our faults as they are.  


Fysh Phoenix-- said...

I'm sorry I forgot to follow you for a week :-( because your entries are thought provoking. I don't feel like I ever GET to write, though I'm sure I'm doing it. I used to be immersed in writing-- but not my own. Being a writing consultant forced me to change the way I looked at writing and criticism because I was forced to be encouraging constantly. I wonder if that's how I'm supposed to be as a Christian, except that everyone wants to be a better writer but----
Overcoming the product-paradigm was a big step. For a long time, I wouldn't show people my work at all (the fear still remains a little) because I felt like there was a piece of me was in it and I didn't want to be around when it was being worked on. When I became a consultant, I was forced to, for the first time, see that I was in the process as much as the product.

...but I still worry.

HeLeNa said...

You are wise beyond your years little one and I enjoy reading your blog. I've been stuggling with this same thing this week and though I'm still disheartened from some of the criticism, I'm learning how to see it not as a personal attack but as a reminder that as far as I've come I still have a ways to go.

"Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own" (Philippians 3:12, ESV)

Meg B said...

Thanks John and Helena for your kind words - I do appreciate it!

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