Photo Credit: www.stockmonkeys.com (Creative Commons)
I’ve always struggled with strong perfectionist tendencies, as well as a knack for procrastination. Together, the two make a deadly combination. I tend to procrastinate on projects or tasks, and then when I dive in, I wreak havoc on myself by demanding perfection from my performance. As you might imagine, this caused unnecessary stress during my school days—even an emotional breakdown or two around exam time.
Over the years, I have learned to schedule my tasks more effectively to avoid procrastinating, and I continually try to convince myself that no matter how hard I try, my work will not be perfect, so I shouldn’t torture myself trying to make it so. In the often-repeated words of one of my favorite bloggers, The Nester, “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.” This applies to so many aspects of life. So often, I think we have a hard time accepting the fact that nothing in life will ever be perfect. But we would save ourselves so much heartache if we could simply learn to embrace this reality.
At the same time, however, we should never use this fact as an excuse to pass off shoddy work with the dismissal, “Well, it’s never going to be perfect.” Of course we should strive for excellence. Of course we should want our work reflect our best efforts. The Bible does teach that, even as Christians, we will never reach a state of perfect obedience in this life—but that doesn’t mean we don’t try to walk in Christ’s perfect footsteps. God still demands that we seek to walk in obedience and love, by His grace, even though we will never do so perfectly.
As with so many other things in life, it all becomes a matter of balance. On the one hand, I don’t want to expect perfection of myself and therefore never truly accomplish anything. At the same time, however, I also want to avoid making a half-hearted effort that results in sloppy art. Is it possible to find the right balance? I believe it is. Will that balance be easy? Definitely not.
I have keenly felt this struggle with the launch of my website and my new blog. This feels like such a giant endeavor, and I have already procrastinated for several months before finally taking the plunge last week. I could still have done more research, I could have created a larger pool of starting content, I could have spent more time on my custom design, and a million other considerations. But I have embraced what Michael Hyatt calls “permanent beta” and pushed forward with this new beginning. Instead of being paralyzed by considering all the things that I could improve, I have embraced the imperfection and just made a start, with the intention that I will continue to improve and tweak as I go along. I still have big plans for more enhancements to my site, and I fully intend to push forward to make those a reality. But I don’t want to allow the hazy possibility of “perfection someday” to destroy the real possibility of “very good” right now.