Recovering Perfectionist [Archie Norman]
By Norman, Archie
My name is Archie and I am a recovering perfectionist. I have been enabled most of my life by the things I have had others impress upon me:
· Do your best.
· God deserves excellence.
· Give 110% (I am pretty good at math but this was outside my range of comprehension.)
· You can do better.
· Do not settle for second best.
For a time my disease (meant to be humorous) almost drove me over the edge of sanity and some may think it was successful. No matter what I saw the Lord do in my life there always seem to be more that could have happened if I had only prayed more or worked harder. For some reason I never found myself comparing myself with those who were less successful, rather always looking at those who were more successful. Trust me when I say that such comparison is both unscriptural as well as very frustrating.
Unfortunately it did not just affect me but included all those I came into contact with. I most regret those years before I was diagnosed when I used my perfectionism to guilt my wife and children and constantly leaving them with the sense they could never be good enough. With thanksgiving I say that once I entered recovery they for the most part overcame my foolishness.
Having been a Pastor for 30 years I cannot know for sure that the people I ministered to were always as fortunate as my family. I shudder at the times I used the Scripture as a tool not to produce conviction but instead as a means to manipulate people into trying harder, giving more or increased productivity. Hopefully the grace of God overcame my ignorance and most of them have found the right way.
It was the amazing life in Christ that set me free, that has allowed me to labor more abundantly than before, yet not me but the grace of God in me. (I Corinthians 15:10) Occasionally I find my flesh attempting to draw me back into the twisted “work harder” mentality as a logical way out of some mess I am in, but I rejoice that the power of the Spirit is greater. I have learned that grace is sweet and more powerful and life changing than any of my addiction to human ability and effort. No way am I going back.