Six Years of Shame
Epiphany 2

Perfectionism Again

Posted for John Lobell.....

John     Good Morning, Jesus.

Jesus    Good morning, John.

John     I awoke with the radio alarm at 7 this morning, but didn't feel slept out, so I went back to sleep and woke at 8:30, feeling rested.  But I'm resentful that I'm getting such a late start for my day.  I still have a split mind on how to run my life: "by the numbers" or more intuitively. Both have their advantages.  These past few years I have consistently moved toward intuition, and I connect that movement with my deepening life in you, Jesus.  My body/mind/spirit has so much wisdom that my mind alone can't account for or replace.  My experience certainly finds the intuitive stance more helpful.  You are wonderfully wise, Jesus, and in no way do I find you living or teaching "by the numbers."  Your yardstick is rooted in love, not numbers, laws or any measurable units.  I can remember very few times in my life when I have not been aware of clock time - time measured by numbers.  I used to try to live my day in hourly or half-hourly increments.  This long pre-dates my occupational "need" to see clients for an hourly visit; it has to do with trying to be "efficient" in some vague way; if I measured my time I could find out how well I was "using" it.  I never worked out a way to actually use this notion, but measuring time remains a persistent habit. Even today, I can't imagine not wearing my watch just for this one day.  My dis-ease with sleeping more (because my body told me to sleep more) is rooted in my old habit of allotting so much clock time for this and so much clock time for that.  Today my whole day feels out of sync because the clocks are an hour and half ahead of my usual daily schedule.  This seems goofy to me; does it seem goofy to you?

Jesus    Do you need to ask?

John     Unh!  No.  I wish I could just let go of all the craziness I still carry around.  I've spent a lot of my time (personal and occupational) in the last half of my life digging out such foolishness in myself and changing it.  Recently I've been more into letting you change it.  That works better. It's more efficient.  Oh, God!  How can I let go of this craziness?  It's
still guiding my thoughts as I share it with you.  More "efficient!"  This is all a variant of my old perfectionism, isn't it?

Jesus    Unh!  Do you need to ask?

John     No.  I'm sad and angry that I should still be so deeply stuck in old habits.  Even as I thank and praise you for the wonderful changes you're making in me, I'm thinking in terms of the kinds of "success" that I deplore.

Jesus    John, John.  Slow down.  Remember you're human.  You're imperfect. You will be imperfect when you die.  Being perfect is not what this life is about.  It really isn't.  What your life is about is exactly what you are doing: slowly and steadily turning your will over to me, in love.  Of course this disturbs and upsets your ego and all it's desires for you!  That won't change.  As you learn to come to me, and surrender to me and my love, I am giving you rest.  You experience that.  It doesn't seem like that to your ego.  It's painful to your ego.  And to the rest of your body/mind/spirit it's glorious.  You're facing into the basic choice that God offers you, as was offered me: Whom will you serve?  I affirm that you are choosing me over your ego.  Your ego hurts and resists.  As you persist in this change, your ego will shrink (not disappear) but will become tolerable, as you're discovering physical pain is tolerable.  Hang in, John.  You're on your way home.

John     Thanks be to God.  And to you, Jesus.  I love you.

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