Wednesday, March 27, 2019

An Imperfect Lent

I struggle with perfectionism. My childhood environment likely contributed to this tendency. Because I used to teach time management and spoke of the dangers of perfectionism, I hadn’t recognized it in myself until I was first introduced to the Enneagram. When I read about Enneagram type One, I realized I could not deny this part of who I am.

A social media post circulating just prior to Lent motivated me to practice a Lenten discipline of letting go of perfectionism. What I am realizing is just how subtle and insidious the demon of perfectionism acts in my life. I catch myself more often than I would have expected beating myself up for failing to do something I feel I ought to do.

Shoulds and oughts are the love language of the perfectionism demon! Grace is the antidote to combat the negative self-talk of should and oughts. Holding my successes and failures with equal grace is the discipline I am seeking to cultivate. The patience I extend to others who fail I also need to extend to myself.

I don’t expect to arrive at Easter Sunday perfectionism-free. The tendency is deep within me. However, as Enneagram literature tells me, the gift of being a One is the desire to improve the world. Improving the world means improving myself, and improving myself means allowing myself to fail with grace and without shame.