Let’s Talk About it: Priorities

perfectionist 2
Image by Katiya (Singhing again) via Flickr


 I don’t know about you, but I tend to spend a good portion of my day focusing on what I do well and neglecting what I think I don’t do well. I love to study, teach Bible Studies, write, work with artists, and promote events for charity. All of those are great things it’s just that, I hate housework. I don’t mean dislike, I mean really really HATE it. My excuse is, I’m just not good at it, which is code for I can’t do it to my standards and therefore I tend to avoid it.   

 Then I let things build up to such a point that I nearly kill myself putting it back in order again.  When I really think about it, that’s how I approach my health, my weight, my spiritual life, my work. I let things slide if I don’t think I can do them well enough and then kill myself putting my house back in order again.        

Yep, I’m a perfectionist.         

I did argue that with someone once. I told her that a perfectionist is someone who does things perfectly all the time, I don’t even come close to well enough in my opinion, much less perfect so there is no way ……         

 I’ve learned something though. Eating disorders and perfection are very closely tied. Both are about control. If my world feels out of control than I find something external to focus on like my body or a project or a person or whatever. And I’ll use that to numb the fear. I’m afraid of what I can’t control. If I can’t control it, I might be disappointed, and I don’t like pain.         

Control is why I         

  • Work out for hours a day when practicing Tai Chi or train for other events. I don’t want to practice an art, I want to WIN. It’s never about playing the game, it’s really about winning.
  • If I think I can’t win, I quit.
  • Starve myself when I want to achieve a certain weight goal.
  • Avoid uncomfortable conversations when I’m feeling hurt or rejected.
  • Stuff my “out of control” feelings with food, or work, or religion.
  • Hyper focus on what I’m good at and ignore everything else, thinking I can control my world.

I need balance and better priorities.         

I did discover FLYLADY a few years back and her programs and schedules do help me stay prioritized. It’s just a tool though, and it only works, when I work it. Through Marla’s web site and encouragement, I am learning how to be less of a perfectionist and more of a person.       

Another thing I do is remember what King David writes in the psalms, Psalm 121:1-2 I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.     

God helps me with my perfection, my fears, my eating and hyper focusing and everything else. I can’t get there by myself. The more I reach out through prayer and through listening the better able I am to make better choices and find peace.    

What about you?         

Are you a perfectionist?         

How do you prioritize your day?         

This post written by Deana O’Hara, for Confessions of a Spiritual Bulimic. All rights reserved. September 10, 2010.

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