Dear Perfection...

By Kim Moraghan

August 10, 2018

It’s early in the morning and sleep escapes me. It feels wrong to rise before the sun and yet, I submit. Walking to the kitchen I notice the glow of a lamp in my sacred space. It’s an invitation to step away.

I accept.

Settling in comfy chair, my mind floats…back to a quarrel between the girls in the car yesterday…ahead to the responsibilities of the day…next to our first child in the process of moving out…on to unfinished chores…Which of these is causing a disruption in my sleep?  I feel the Lord nudge me back from the world of my thoughts and towards His thoughts for me.

Ah yes, I remember and gently make myself present to the One who is always present to me.

It’s hard for me to commit, I am learning this about myself. This might not be something that is readily apparent to others, but in the stillness, He shows me. I like things to be perfect…so I work them and re-work them. It’s difficult for me to finish…to walk away…to put a period at the end of the sentence…to commit to finality. And so, I live in the in-between.

Dear Perfection,

I love you. I love the way you stare back at me filling me up with satisfaction at the end of a project. I love the way you communicate so clearly and concisely. I love your job well done. Although you are a very hard worker, I have to be honest with you…I know your secret.

See, I have noticed that I am never really sure if I’ve achieved what you want so I can’t commit. It turns out that we aren’t such a good match because although I thought we were comrades, working side by side, I now know that you steal from me and we aren’t so mutual after all. You have blatantly taken so much: parts of my day, parts of my thoughts, parts of my confidence, most of my rest and too much attention…this is just a start to the list. Even when the task at hand has reached a “sweet spot of perfection”, I am left with a gaping hole of uncertainty.

I now know the truth, you’re a bully. You tease and taunt and promise- all with the illusion of satisfaction, but in reality, it’s a mere effort to control. It’s taken me 42 years, but I’ve learned your trick. I don’t have room for you anymore on my staff. This is your official termination notice, effective immediately.

Your Boss

Jesus reminds me that I am in “process” and He’s not in a hurry. As I take the time to be still I can feel His warming smile within and sense His joy in the process. It is the very process I attempt to evade, but He loves to watch me learn and form and grow. Unconsciously I argue the why’s.

Why I need to figure out how to help the girls nurture their relationship.

Why it’s healthy to journal my feelings about life changing events.

Why I need to finish cleaning out the garage…but as quickly as I list the “why’s’’ he lists the “why nots.”

You’re working so hard for what has already been provided.

What you want is peace-trust me in this process and you will find peace.

You want closure, but not everything can be complete.

You are searching hard for something that you will not find where you are looking.

You’re so tired you’re awake. How is that for irony?

The stillness you want will come when you can stay with me IN THE PROCESS.

This is about being present to NOW. Always now. My hands are large enough to hold the rest.

I read it again and again and I ponder it…

So today and every day the invitation for me is:

to trust that He is at work and will help me handle anything.

to notice when I am starting “the hustle” on my own.

to hand Him my hustle and in exchange hold His hand.

I pick up a small heart icon to put in my pocket to help me remember.  It will serve as a reminder to trust him with the process throughout the day.

As I walk out of my sacred space, a pile of books on the table catch my eye. I can’t help but laugh to myself because trapped beneath “Raising Your Spirited Child” and “Parenting Teens with Love and Logic” is “Mornings with Thomas Merton”. This stack of books is a symbol of how I walked into this sacred space this morning…it's more doing than being.

As I close the door behind me I touch the heart in my pocket, I’m gonna need some help with this one, Jesus, I hope you’re on your A-game…

I sense a smile in his patient response, “I always am Child”.

Kim Moraghan graduated from Ashland Theological Seminary with a master's degree in Clinical Pastoral Counseling, serves as the Director of the Certificate Program in Formational Prayer, works as a licensed clinical counselor and has a ministry in formational prayer.

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Comments (18) - Post a Comment
Thank you sister Kim. My season of change in Life wares and tares me down. Thank you for the reminder I am His child. He is always present, right here, right now. There are few “periods” or completions but that is ok in Christ. It is trusting the process of the Father’s Love through the Spirit that I find refreshing peace. Thanx again. DAle
Dale Thomas at 6:50am EDT - August 10, 2018
Thank you--that is lovely. Lovely that He is here. Lovely that I am ALWAYS His child. Lovely that there is Peace.
Barbara Swearingen at 7:47am EDT - August 10, 2018
Oh,Kim...thank you for sharing so intimately. In the morning as I am waking up, I am so looking forward to making coffee and going to my chair to read my Streams in the Desert and spending quiet time with Jesus. Yet, in the few steps between the coffeemaker and my chair, I start noticing things that need put away, folded, cleaned, and that familiar sense of urgency that says “ just go ahead and do this now before you forget” interrupts. Before I know it, it is an hour later, and my quiet time with the Lord has still not happened. I am discouraged that my mind is so fickle and scattered. I think.. I will focus on getting started right tomorrow. I feel sad.
Diane LaBadie at 8:11am EDT - August 10, 2018
Dear Kim - thank you so much for this! As a recovering perfectionist I struggle with all the above. This helps so much. I will print out and refer to "Dear Perfection" as the interruptions, distractions and doing-it-right-enough assault me. Blessings galore to you!
Paula Holtz at 8:46am EDT - August 10, 2018
Thanks so much for sharing Kim. It is so easy to become a human doing instead of a human being. To rest in the Lord. I too am a recovering perfectionist, it's a heavy armor! Blessings!
Lori Yoder at 8:53am EDT - August 10, 2018
Thank you, Kim, and the rest of you, too, for reminding me I am not alone in this struggle. Perhaps my quiet time needs to happen right here in my bedroom, because between my bed and where my Bible waits is a reminder of at least a dozen reminders of all the things I didn't accomplish yesterday. Before I manage to get to my quiet space, perfection has defeated me yet again. Not today, though. Thank you all for reminding me the battle is not against imperfection but against the one who would convince me I could ever attain perfection in the first place.

You've all inspired me to embrace my imperfections and take back my life one day at a time...starting today!
Angela at 9:51am EDT - August 10, 2018
May I please follow up and say I struggled with my comments displaying properly on my phone as I typed the note above? As a recovering perfectionist, I cringed to see the overlooked editing error midway into my comment! How perfect!! For today, though, I am going to smile and let it go!!
Angela at 9:56am EDT - August 10, 2018
Great and timely word, Kim, and well written!! ❤️
Cindy at 10:33am EDT - August 10, 2018
Such a timely reminder for me Kim. Thank you for sharing Jesus' heart to you.
pat hinkle at 11:49am EDT - August 10, 2018
Thank you, dear Kim. A timely reminder for me ~ and added joy to see your name. :)
Bethany at 12:30pm EDT - August 10, 2018
Beautifully written, Kim...and clearly honest. I felt a sweet, deep, resting breath within as I read toward the conclusion. Blessings, and thank you!
Bonnie NIETZ at 3:35pm EDT - August 10, 2018
Love your letter to Perfection and can relate. Thank you for your courage and inspiring words!
Becky at 4:17pm EDT - August 10, 2018
I love reading all these comments. It's comforting to know I am not alone. We may need to form a support group---I resisted (many times) emailing Darlene to ask her to fix my typo of his in the last line since I had capitalized all the pronouns for God and to be consistent it should be His...*sigh! Baby steps people, I am taking baby steps♥️
Kim Moraghan at 6:55pm EDT - August 10, 2018
Beautifully written. I too woke in the night, wondering what was keeping me up.
Beth Mcqueen at 9:10pm EDT - August 10, 2018
I cannot believe how much I learned about you from your story. As a perfectionist myself, I forgot and realized at the same time that God is in control of my life and when trusting him - the outcome is going to be what he wants, and consequently, what I really need it to be. Thank you for sharing!!
Gail M at 10:05pm EDT - August 10, 2018
A note of sincere thanks to my amazing loving daughter who shared this inspiring essay written by her friend. This speaks to my heart, still afflicted with that burden and trying to accept that He accepts me as I am, and He will never let go.
Barb C at 1:32pm EDT - August 11, 2018
A note of sincere thanks to my amazing loving daughter who shared your essay. I am still afflicted with this burden and trying to accept the He accepts me as I am.
Barb C at 1:36pm EDT - August 11, 2018
Loved this piece, Kim. So many nights I seek Jesus in the wee hours of the morning trying to release to him what is wearing on my mind....Laura
Laura Tradowsky at 11:25am EDT - August 15, 2018

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