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When the Thing You Hate Shows Up In Your Child

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You want to know what’s hard about sin and struggle and strongholds? Seeing it in your child. The day I first realized Lydia was going to struggle with perfectionism was a sobering one. For three decades now, I’ve wrestled with this beast. I’ve shed many tears and beat myself up about it. (Which, by the way, is one indication you have it … when you beat yourself up over being imperfect it’s a good indicator that you struggle with perfectionism.) Today, we were at our homeschool group, and she got to a part of her science project that she couldn’t do. And she lost it. She started crying, and once I got her in the hallway she told me through big, crocodile tears that she just couldn’t do it. My heart broke to see her so upset, and then I was angry. Angry that she fights the same battle I fight every day. Angry that Satan doesn’t just attack big people. He attacks little ones too.

After nap time, I woke her up and snuggled in the bed with her. I shared with her about my struggle with perfectionism. I talked to her about freedom and that Christ didn’t come for us because we deserved it. But that while we were still sinners. While we were still imperfect. While we were still messing up. While we still felt less than, Christ died for us. And I could hear God whisper, “It’s true for you too, Elissa.”

I remember telling my best friend one time that I’m tired of struggling with the same thing every day. I’m tired of fighting perfectionism and control every single day of my life. But I’m learning something from the stories I hear from people in recovery. We aren’t ever “fixed”–not this side of heaven. On this side of heaven, we are recovering. We are waging battle daily against the darts Satan hurls. Some days we are valiant in our victory. Other days, we can barely hoist our armor. But we battle on because the battle might be ongoing, but the war has already been won. I battle on because this isn’t just about my battle anymore. It’s about hers too.

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Romans 5:8-10 ESV

 

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4 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. So needed to read this today. Perfectionism is definitely one of my demons and I want to spit nails when I see it paralyze my youngest. When he comes to that point of utter defeat I just want to scoop him up and remind him that he is enough. I also need to be reminded that even in all my imperfection, God says I am enough.

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  2. Elissa, I am so appreciative of your blog and can relate to so much of what you say. I had my third baby August 2nd and let me tell you- as a fellow perfectionist- this third little blessing has helped me relinquish a lot of my perfectionist tendencies. I’m a lot more “chill” than I used to be, and can more easily turn my cares over to God… Hope the same happens for you! I wish you a healthy delivery and a smooth transition!

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    • Jen, thank you so much for the encouraging comment. Each child has certainly chipped away at my perfectionist tendencies, and I expect your experience to be mine as well. Best wishes!

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