Hi, friends! You’re in for a bonus treat today. My friend Dawna Hetzler is sharing some beautiful thoughts on moving beyond the paralyzation of perfection. Please welcome Dawna!
I would tell you that I wasn’t staring at him, but I’d be lying. He immediately caught my attention as he wheeled himself down the isle. Stopping beside me, he said, “Hello.” I couldn’t take my eyes off of him.
He lifted himself up in his wheelchair. Unabashed, he balanced on his knees where his lower legs used to be. Unable to move, I watched him stretch, reaching for something on the store’s upper shelf.
What if he fell?
He wobbled as he grabbed his item, and then sat back down in his chair. Before I could offer to help, he’d completed his task. He nodded at me and continued his shopping.
I stood there immobilized by my thoughts. What empowered him to be so, whole?
His exterior shell broken, but inside—something beautifully different.
I was mesmerized by him, and suddenly it was clear; I’ve been living paralyzed by perfection. My perfection cripples me into believing that everything I do has to be impeccable—my worth rides on my success. But this guy taught me otherwise. He elevated his viewpoint, lived outside the lines, and appeared contented—all signs of living imperfectly.
Now I felt like the one with the handicap. Without a word, he taught me three ways to become unparalyzed by perfection.
Contorting our alignment, perfectionism bends our perspective—revealing untruths—like if we fail, we’re worthless. There’s a story in the Bible about a woman who had an infirmity for eighteen years and was bent at the waist. “When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, ‘Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.’ Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.” (Luke 13:12-13 NIV)
How long have you been bound by perfectionism? It’s time to straighten up! Go to Jesus. He’ll change your perspective. Now looking heavenward, you’ll see there’s only One who is perfect. Then you will be free to walk straight, seeing from the proper viewpoint.
Live Outside the Lines
Once you’re standing upright, do something out of your comfort zone—live outside the lines.
- Drive with the windows down and let your hair get incredibly messy.
- Get a cake and take a spoonful right from the center. Go ahead, eat from the middle.
- Color outside the lines in a coloring book—make the tree trunk bright orange, the leaves purple, and paint the sky green instead of blue.
Just do something that pushes you outside the lines of perfection that keep you restrained.
Love your life
On the radio, I interviewed a young man with down syndrome, he looked at me through cheerful eyes and as best he could articulate he said, “I la eye ife!” (I love my life!) I sat there in awe. This differently-abled person proclaimed contentment, even though he had every right to feel otherwise. He made a choice to love his life. At that moment, I felt a surge of conviction, transformed into gratefulness. And then I joined him in song, “I love my life too!”
Perfection doesn’t validate us, it makes us invalid.
That day, I walked out of the store transformed. Standing upright, challenging myself in a new way, and loving my life—unconfined from the handicap of perfectionism. And I walked out straighter than when I came in.
Your turn. I would love to hear how you’ve overcome perfectionism.
Dawna Hetzler is NOT a morning person and needs lots of coffee to get going, thinking, possibly even breathing. She is a speaker, author of Walls of a Warrior—Conquering the fears of our hearts, and the founder of a growing network of women called, The Jericho Girls.