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The Cost of Dropping Perfection

Perfection on a piece of paper on the floor

“Part of the fear of dropping perfectionism is that it forces us to choose what we are called to go all in on and what we need to let go.”Made for More

My oldest daughter, Bailey, asks for my opinion on decisions she makes all of the time. She’s scared to make the wrong decision. Really, she just wants to make the best, most perfect, decision.

We were at Claire’s the other day. She had received a gift card for her birthday and she was overwhelmed with the choices that lay before her. She couldn’t decide what to go all in on. And that buy three, get three free deal is overwhelming at best.

She turned to me and said, “Mom, what would you buy?”

Honestly, I just wanted the large red, white, and blue unicorn pool float that was fifty percent off because it was the day after July Fourth. Spoiler alert! She didn’t choose that.

When she posed her usual question, it was one of those moments as a parent when I knew that the lesson being learned in that store was about so much more than jewelry, stick-on earrings, and hair bows.

I’d been there myself. Grasping for right answers, calculating the perfect scenarios in my head, and scared to make a decision.

I’d found myself in this situation too many times to count.

A few years ago, I knew God was leading me away from the perfectly crafted career that I had created for myself. I fought it for a long time, a few years maybe, as it slowly shattered around me before I raised my white flag in surrender.

What did fighting it look like for me?

I felt detached.

I felt like I didn’t fit in anywhere.

I felt a continual nudge toward something else.

I felt the need to manipulate and control.

This career in the business world that I had created and built for myself was all that I knew. It was safe. It was predictable if I played the game right, and I was super good at the game. It was perfect.

When I felt the call to write, I had a choice to make. I could go all in or just dabble in it on the side as I’d done for years. Besides, writing can always be a side hustle. It never has to be THE hustle.

When I let go of everything else and chose to go all in as a writer, a lot of things had to change.

I can’t always play it safe. I have to take risks.

I can’t always stay behind the scenes. I have to put myself in the center of attention at times.

I can’t always have a perfectly laid out plan. I have to fail and then get back up. Then repeat that a few more times.

Here’s the thing. Looking back, I had to choose to make changes but it really only cost me what I had created on my own.

It cost me my feeling of detachment and never fitting in.

It cost me my mirage of control.

It cost me my ability to manipulate my situation.

Yes, dropping my idea of perfect cost me. Honestly, it was scary to let go. It was painful at times looking at myself in the mirror and releasing all of those selfishly created expectations. But it was absolutely worth it. I would’ve lost so much more had I not let go of perfect.

I also learned that truly letting go and being obedient to God’s calling has provided me with so much God-given peace and freedom. Obedience over outcome is worth it every single time.

Oh, and Bailey, she bought a folding fan at Claire’s and saved the remainder of her gift card for later. She jumped all in on her decision and is at peace about it.

Me? I continue to wonder if that unicorn float is still fifty percent off…

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