Perfection: a blessing and a curse

Monday, November 16th, 2015

Perfection: it can be a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing to have a target like perfection to shoot for. It is what allows me and others to succeed in sport or life. If I aim at nothing, I’ll certainly hit it. Yet on the curse side of things, if I know I can’t be perfect, sometimes I procrastinate and actually dread even trying. Nothing has shown this more than writing my first blog for my revamped website. Obviously the blog has to be perfect, set the right tone for years to come, and be impactful on readers’ lives so that they will forever be changed and inspired!

And yet, my website has been launched for I’m embarrassed to say how many weeks, and the first blog has gone unwritten. I’ve written it in my mind on many runs over several weeks. It’s been on far too many to-do lists.

The irony is that as a Mom, coach, athlete, and Christian, I tout not to let the drive to be perfect inhibit one from living.

When I meet another Mom of twins, the first piece of advice I give is about checking perfectionism at the door. When both my boys were crying with dirty diapers, I couldn’t appease them at the same time. Now if they were both crying and hungry, THAT I could do! Getting through those infant years made me understand how women could drink in the afternoon and how a parent could be at the brink to hit their child. By God’s grace I escaped both of those, but there were definitely days where my boys broke me, where I gave myself a time-out in my room, usually buried under my quilt in tears. Survival is very far from perfection, a pretty low bar that I was barely making over some days!

As a coach, I tell my athletes not to get stuck in an “all or nothing” mentalityTP Strength when it comes to starting a workout. When I have written a 30 minute strength session and an athlete only has 14 minutes because life got in the way, it’s way better to finish 14 minutes than do nothing at all. A lot can get accomplished in 14 minutes, even if it means the workout shows up as “red” in Training Peaks, thereby logging imperfection for eternity!

As a Christian, the saying goes: “I’m not perfect, but I’m forgiven.” To me, the main purpose of the law of the Old Testament is to show that we will always fall short of perfection (Romans 3:23). Not even Moses or King David could reach the bar. The only person to walk this earth who was perfect is Jesus, and even though I’ve met some people who think they are God’s gift to mankind, only Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross fits that distinction as well. Being forgiven for my lack of perfection (sin) and being secure in my self-worth apart from being perfect is what allows me to live freely.

As I try not to compete with the world’s view of perfection, I can grab onto God’s grace as Psalms 18:32 tells me that “It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.” He does not make me perfect, but rather I can rest in the fact that the plan He has for me is perfect.

So here I am, the end of my first blog, and I’ve actually covered a few of the topics I’d like to write about: the joys and trials from being a Mom; stories from my triathlon racing days which have formed who I am as a coach; how my faith allows me to be free from the condemnation of imperfection. The only thing I didn’t mention is my golf game, which as a new golfer, just seemed ridiculous to mention in a blog about perfection.

Barb Golf card

Last 9 holes of the seasons with my family: I met my goal of no “double digits.” Next year I’m eliminating those “snowmen.” (8’s). I did, though, get my first par; last one in the family to do so!