Perfection

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Who remembers that childhood game, Perfection? I hated that game.

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I didn’t find it at all fun or entertaining. It was stressful and anxiety ridden. The premise of the game, for those who aren’t familiar with it, is to fill a board of different shaped holes with the corresponding puzzle pieces while a timer ticks down ominously. You have 60 seconds to fill all the holes before the game blows up in your face and all the pieces you put into place go flying.

My boys pulled it out the other day to play and asked me to play with them. All that childhood anxiety came rushing back as I faced the ticking time bomb. For me the game always plays out in the same way. The timer begins. There is a feeling of confidence as you quickly locate piece #1 and put it in its place…then piece two…then piece three. You feel confident. There are still 50 seconds left. You think to yourself, “I can do this.” Then you inevitably peek at the timer and discover your time is about up. When did time start moving so quickly? Where is the star shape?? You start scanning the floor…it must have fallen. The timer picks up speed. “AHHHH…we are not going to make it! Who took the star!!” When  {{ BING}}  it all blows up in your face.

I remembered how much I hate that game as I crawled around on the floor looking for the pieces that went flying. The boys, however, found the game delightful. They cheered and laughed when the timer buzzed and the pieces when flying. I continued to think about our playtime long after it was over.

I hate the feelings of pressure and anxiety. I am not an adrenaline junky. (True adrenaline junkies would find it funny that I consider the game of Perfection a high adrenaline game)  🙂 The game of Perfection mimics too closely the very things that I hate most… stress, worry, anxiety, and fear about the future. The game, so aptly named, is an analogy for my days all too often. My day begins with an eagerness and hope. I look at my calendar. There are so may pieces I need to fit in…school with the kids, a call to a friend who is struggling, laundry, a trip to the store for cookie ingredients, some one on one time with a child who needs some extra TLC, a lesson to prepare for church, defrost chicken for dinner, maybe get a shower. There are so many things to do..so many good things..so many things I want to do… none of which, on their own, is stressful or overwhelming. I feel confident. I have the entire day ahead of me. Then the day goes on and I glance at the clock. I am running out of time. That is when the anxiety creeps in. I realize that I am going to run out of time, the buzzer is going to go off, and the pieces aren’t all in place…I won’t reach perfection. So how do we go from being anxious about the game board in front of us to finding joy and delight, like my boys did, in the task of filling those slots? I think it comes down to what we focus on. If we are focused on the buzzer or board as a whole we can easily become overwhelmed and anxious. If we live our life worrying about tomorrow and how we will get it all done we will find ourselves struggling with those same emotions SO we make a conscious choice. We chose to focus on the piece in our hand and the next slot that needs filled. We let go of the things we have no control over and we do the best we can with the ones we do. The goal of filling all the slots is unrealistic in certain seasons of our lives but we can’t let the inability to “Do it All” keep us from doing what we can. We pick up the next piece, we focus on the next task, we live minute by minute and find joy in the journey. And when it all blows up in our face, rather than weeping in despair, we laugh…knowing that we can try again tomorrow.

We are not called to play the game of Perfection.

Instead, pull up a chair and enjoy the game of Life.

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