This is probably one of my favorite verses in the bible, Ephesians 2:10 (NIV) “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do.” The Greek word translation for “workmanship” means “work of art”. Some versions of the bible use masterpiece. Can you imagine, being a work of art? I know when I look in the mirror, that’s not always what I see.
I have a problem. It’s probably not what you think. I am a perfectionist. I’m the girl at the store all dressed up with perfect hair on saturday afternoon, my house is perfect, my life is perfect, my job is perfect. I strive to do everything perfectly. I believe in my heart if I don’t everything will fall apart. I will lose friends, I’ll get fired. The issue on the top of my list, “No man will love me until I’m perfect, I must keep working on myself to be perfect” Wow, that’s a lot of pressure!!
During my separation, I went through a biblically based 12 step program, Celebrate Recovery, to “recover” from divorce. My issues didn’t match the other issues in the room, but I knew something was broken and I wasn’t going to repeat the same mistake twice. I learned I’m actually a mess. I struggle with co-dependance, people pleasing and perfectionism. Yep, people it’s an ISM. Having perfectionism is a symptom of dysfunction. It’s how people cope when everything is a mess inside, but they don’t want anyone on the outside to know. What’s strikes me as interesting about perfectionism, it’s counterintuitive. Let me explain.
I had a date recently with a very nice and attractive christian man. We both enjoyed racing triathlons, hiking, spending time with our boys, being outdoors. He was a man of great character and we had so much to talk about. At the end of our second date, he went in for the kiss and all I could think was “don’t kiss me, please don’t kiss me”. When I drove off, I was so frustrated with myself that I wasn’t in the least bit attracted to this really great man. I knew instinctively something was wrong with my heart.
I picked up the book “Boundaries In Dating” by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. While on the plane to some great adventure with my girlfriends, I read about being attracted to the wrong person and why that would be. “If you have always been the ‘good’ person, you may be drawn to someone who embodies some sort of ‘dark’ side. The dark side could be sexual, substance abuse, irresponsibility, or impulsivity (this explains my marriage and the Faaaaa). . .This common pattern occurs when you are not able to look at and integrate your own ‘badness’. You may feel ashamed that you are not perfect, and you don’t want to face some of the aspects of your own soul that need to be addressed. . .You have a good-bad split inside that shows up by your being good but being attracted to the bad. The resolution for this is to become neither ‘good’ nor ‘bad’, in a split way (think of the movie “The Black Swan” with Natalie Portman), but real with both good and bad parts.”
AHA!!! I will never find the amazing man I’m seeking if I’m trying to be perfect because I will always be attracted to the “bad boy”. Only when I accept my imperfections, can I live a more emotionally healthy life. My life will not completely fall apart, THUS, being attracted to the RIGHT man!
I think of the Mona Lisa when I think about a work of art. I envision the amount of dark and bright paint that it took to put her together. That’s how God created us, with lots of dark and bright spots. Without them, we could not fulfill His purpose. The dark spots make the bright spots brighter. I am a work of art, YOU are a work of art!