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Procrastination and Perfectionism, What Gives?

Have you ever procrastinated? We all have at varying times and degrees. But the better question might be, “ Has it become a negative behavioural habit?” It was that for me, and it became an issue I had to address. I do not know all the reasons why other people might engage in procrastinating. It might be an attempt to delay or avoid an unpleasant task or boring chore. For me it was mostly rooted deeply in fear. When a task required me to go outside my comfort zone, I was fearful of failing. When I examined this pattern of behaviour in my life, I discovered that I had perfectionist tendencies. This seemed very ironic to me because I had struggled with an inferiority complex for a substantial portion of my life and often felt as if I was “not enough” or “good enough” to measure up to the standards of those around me. How could I be a perfectionist? But I had mistakenly perceived perfectionism as a personality trait belonging to those who could attain near perfect results. Of course, I knew no one was perfect but I figured they were better than me. It is only in recent years that I have come to understand what perfectionism means and freed from its crippling grip on my life.

Perfectionism is often the result of imperfect people caving into the pressure to perform to receive acceptance or to gain self worth. Such was the case for me. I did not want to attempt a task unless I knew I was able to do it well or be good at it. This was a desperate sign of pride. By procrastinating I was attempting to save myself from embarrassment. Procrastination, perfectionism, and pride often work together to a detrimental end. They hinder us from experiencing Gods intended purposes and peace for our lives.

Sadly, for me it meant not stepping into certain roles and living with fears and regrets. Because of my perfectionism I would sometimes withdraw from connecting with others for fear of not fitting in. I did not want others to see how weak and imperfect I really was. I never felt I could measure up to my own unrealistic standards, let alone the expectations of others. Yet, I desperately craved people’s approval and often completed tasks I did well just to reassure myself. This was such a selfish act of pride. I have confessed this harmful way of thinking and acting. God has graciously accepted me and forgiven my erroneous ways and is teaching me His wise and effective ways of living which are life-giving.

I am now walking in the freedom Christ provides. I am free from the grip of perfectionism. How wonderful it has been to let go of indecisiveness and procrastination. God has restored my joy. I have learned to lay down my pride, well on most days ;). I am still a work in progress and that is a wonderful thing. It shows that I am still growing in Christ. I am free to embrace uncomfortable callings and new things because I have learned that my confidence is in the sufficiency of my Saviour. He will supply what I need for every task. I can declare without fear, that I am not perfect. But I am a work progress. That is why the phrase, “Progress Over Perfection” resonates so deeply with me. The truth that, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” has kicked procrastination to the curb. Good riddance!

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