Photo credit: Martin Spiske, At Play School, CC-BY.
In the world of architecture, there is a rule: form follows function. The idea is that if a structure is not safe or sound, there’s no point in making it pretty. A pretty building that can’t stand up is useless.
In the world of vocation (call, purpose), the opposite is true: function follows form.
Let me explain.
PHOTO CREDIT: Golf Ball, Markus Spiske, CC-BY
Like you, I often want to get things perfect. It’s true in the big things. I want my parenting to be perfect. I want to be the perfect husband. I want to be the perfect employee. I want to be the perfect leader.
But my perfectionism also cares about the small, less noble things: I want my lawn to look perfect. I want my skin to look perfect. I’d like my hair to look perfect. And, of course, I’d like to write the perfect blog post.
When I don’t get things perfect, I berate myself. I get angry. I get depressed and cranky. I distance myself from others. I become a generally unpleasant person to be with. I also stop pursuing activities that would help me out of my funk like a good run or a good book. “What’s the point, anyway?” I lament.
As you and I both know (when we’re being perfectly honest about it), perfectionism is like a constipated, tyrannical dictator. It wants us under its cranky control. It wants to stop us from even attempting something we might not get perfect. It loves to taunt us, slap us around, and throw us into solitary confinement.
Photo Credit: Markus Spiske, Clock, CC-BY 2.0
I’ve been noticing a pattern in my life and I wonder if it’s true for you, as well:
The less margin I have in my life, the more my best self gets pushed to the margins.
In other words, the less time, energy, money, heart/head space, and sleep I have, the more my weaknesses flare up and take over. I completely forget about my strengths, lose sight of my unique design, and start trying desperately to be someone I’m not.
Waiting is hard.
Waiting to hear back about whether or not you got the job is hard. Do they want me? Will I make rent this month?
Waiting to hear back from that someone you’ve fallen for is hard. Does she feel the same? Will he break up with me?
Waiting to hear back about the test results is hard. Is it cancer? Am I going to have to have surgery?
Waiting is hard, and it’s amazing how much life is composed of waiting. Like, most of it.
So how do we wait without becoming an anxious mess? How do we wait instead with hopeful anticipation?