As a recovering perfectionist, hints of chaos is an unpleasant sight. For some reason, I feel the need to give the impression that I have it all together. Everything is fine, it is well with my soul. I wish this was the case, but often I find myself on the verge on collapse. Hanging by a thread, like the classic Mike and the Mechanics song. Thus, if you want a simple answer, no I don’t have it all together.
Now while they were on their way, Jesus entered a village [called Bethany], and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord’s feet and was continually listening to His teaching. 40 But Martha was very busy and distracted with all of her serving responsibilities; and she approached Him and said, “Lord, is it of no concern to You that my sister has left me to do the serving alone? Tell her to help me and do her part,” Luke 10:38-40.
While admission, confession is the first step on the road to recovery, the next logical question is if I don’t have it all together, what’s the problem? To start with, perfectionists like me tend to suffer from the Martha complex. A first century doctor refers to this condition as concentrating and fixating on the external. Instead of entering into a deep and meaningful conversation with Jesus, Martha was focused on making her house spotless. Consumed by trying to be a good host, Martha missed the point, life is about relationships not perfection.
But the Lord replied to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered and anxious about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part [that which is to her advantage], which will not be taken away from her,” Luke 10:41-42.
Part of my perfectionist rehab involves abstaining from the need to be a workaholic by slowing down enough to entertain small talk. While these daily conversations may not get very far or amount to anything, they set the stage for permanent meaningful conversations to begin. If you spend most of your time on earth busy, running around like your head is cut off (old youthism), you’ll never know what you have in common with others. Therefore, as Christmas approaches, make sure you follow in the steps of Mary by choosing conversation as a means to pass time with family.
by Jay Mankus