By Jess Robichaud
Are you refusing to play the perfection game, or are you all caught up in it? Here’s how to know whether you’re playing this game and what you should do about it.
Refusing to Play the Perfection Game
Have you ever played the board game “Perfection”? It is this horrible little game where you have 60 seconds to get tiny puzzle pieces into their correct slot. If you don’t complete the game in the allotted time, the game “pops” and throws out all of the pieces that you did get in the right spots.
Does your life sometimes feel like this game? Juggling expectations (ours and others), schedules, kids, chores, work, Bible studies, church, exercise, diets…and whatever else we can add onto the list of things to do? A game you’re trying to get everything “right” and trying to stay afloat?
Life can feel exhausting sometimes. It can be so easy to get into our rhythms and routines and function normally with stress.
Here is the question…if our life looks like this game, how can we have a close relationship with the Lord? What about our relationship with our spouse or kids? How can we make wise, thoughtful decisions if this is the space we are in?
The truth is, living life this way will negatively impact every area of our lives.
Friend, it’s time to intentionally slow down and take some deep breaths. As we begin this journey of slowing things down and being intentional, let’s ask ourselves two important questions to help us start refusing to play the perfection game.
Question 1: What is your race?
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV)
Focus on this part of the verse: Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
This is not the race that we have chosen, but the one that God has specifically called us to take.
Not only do I have a tendency to take on a lot of projects at once, but I want to put my all into them and want to give them all my full attention. This only works so well for so long. Eventually I get burned out and the negative impact trickles down to my relationships and my mental health.
Remember that you don’t have to do ALL the things. You are only responsible to do what God has called you to do.
Friend, where might you be taking on races that are not yours to complete?
Question 2: Where are you “shoulding” yourself?
The other day, we were invited to dinner with a friend and her husband. She asked me if I would bring dessert. My hospitality side wanted to make something from scratch and show up with a beautiful, homemade dessert.
But the more I thought about it, the more stressed I became. I was trying to figure out how I could get this dessert done in the midst of my busy work schedule. I could have made it work (sort of), but I could feel my stress levels continuing to rise as I thought, “I should do this.”.
I was shoulding myself.
I took some deep breaths, realizing that this was not worth the stress I was putting on myself…and I ended up buying some ice cream on my way to their house.
By not shoulding myself, my stress level was non-existent, I could focus on my tasks, and I really enjoyed my time with our friends. Plus, they were grateful for the gift of ice cream.
If baking the dessert would have been relaxing for you and enjoyable, then go for it. The only question is, is it causing more stress than necessary?
Our expectations, others’ expectations, or perceived expectations can’t be dictating the choices that we make. The only expectations that we should concern ourselves with are the Lord’s, and that frees us to stop shoulding ourselves in the game of perfection.
Why Refusing to Play the Perfection Game Matters
Refusing to play the game of perfection will take intentionality and purposeful planning. It may feel awkward and uncomfortable at first.
In a weird way, staying in the game of perfection may feel more normal and comfortable than walking away. When we are in the game, we are figuring life out on our own and are “in charge”.
Stepping away will require us to trust the Lord and give our control over to him.
Rather than us frantically figuring out where the pieces go, he will become the one who dictates the game, the pieces, and the timing.
Are you willing to let go of the perfection game so you can have a rich relationship with the Lord and your family, and be able to make wise decisions that are in line with his will?
Wife Step: Take some time today to reflect on how you might be playing the perfection game and why it would be good to refuse to play it anymore.
Jess is passionate about helping couples have an awesome marriage built on the foundation of Christ. Out of their own marriage struggles, Jess and her husband, Adam, founded Radiant Marriage to challenge and encourage couples towards deep levels of intimacy with each other and with the Lord. Jess is also a licensed associate marriage and family therapist where she walks with couples through trauma to bring healing. Together with her husband, their main goal is to radiate the love of Christ and bring hope to couples in the midst of difficulty.