I’m a perfectionist. I’m not your average, every day perfectionist, however. I don’t bust my gut day in and day out working above and beyond what your every day average Joe would. My perfectionism comes out in slightly different ways.
When I was in high school, there was a particular subject I thought I was ridiculously stupid at. I thought everyone was far better at it than I was. So I ended up not really trying – I thought to myself “what the heck, I’m going to fail it anyway – so why even bother?” Perfectionists have the glass half empty; they’re down on themselves often. My ED was about being perfect – being good at something for once. I could exercise and restrict and lose weight – I had this need to lose weight. I had to do something right for once in my damn life. This could not be just like any other thing that I had started and failed.
Uni last year was added to the list of ‘Can’t Do’s’ – just like the HSC, it became this big, overwhelming and looming thing that I was not good enough for. I had to be the best, and I knew I couldn’t be. So I quit before I even really began. That was one of my favourite things in coming to Bible College. I’m actually going to finish my Diploma and maybe even an Advanced Diploma and I’m going to finish it well. And yeah, there’ll be some learning curves on the way and lots and lots of stress and maybe a few crappy marks that I’m really not happy with at all – but in the long run, it really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. I don’t need to be the best, I can rest assured God loves me regardless. Which is really, really cool.
I do a subject called ‘Foundations for Creative Ministries’. It’s awesome. One of my favourites. And we read a book recently called ‘The Heart of the Artist’ by Rory Noland. He talks about a few issues that artists struggle with, perfectionism being one of them. I’m a writer and a musician. I am an artist. And yes, in addition to that, I am a perfectionist. But we don’t need to be the best. We don’t need to be glorifying ourselves through our own actions and our own work, we need to be glorifying God.
So today I will write an essay on Paulie Saulie Paul of Tarsus. I will reference my big, fat theological books. I will not be overwhelmed by the prospect of failure. I will not be afraid to admit that I don’t know everything. And I will remember that it’s not about me, but about the One who has so graciously saved me, despite my failures.
Don’t use your ED as a tool to being perfect. Don’t let fear overwhelm you, don’t et the ED whisper in your ear that you’re really not good enough at all. Give it a kick in the face.
Your eating disorder is a liar.
P.S – Whenever you start getting overwhelmed with all this perfectionist thinking, try and imagine it to be like a zone that you’ve entered into. Be aware of your thoughts and emotions – know why it is that you’ve entered the perfectionist zone and then do exactly as the picture says – Run! But not literally, of course. Especially if you’re not allowed to exercise yet 😉