a conversation with a perfectionist

I'm a clear and definite Enneagram #1 (perfectionist) though I much prefer to go by improver. That has far more of a positive connotation than perfectionist...don't you think? The perfectionists do...I mean, us improvers do!

I've been fairly quiet here about personality types and how we're each wired, but it certainly comes up in conversations I'm a part of. If you're new to this or not sure what I'm even talking about, The Enneagram is a powerful tool for personal and collective transformation. Stemming from the Greek words ennea (nine) and grammos (a written symbol), the nine-pointed Enneagram symbol represents nine distinct strategies for relating to the self, others and the world. Each Enneagram type has a different pattern of thinking, feeling and acting that arises from a deeper inner motivation or worldview.

{taken from https://www.enneagramworldwide.com/the-enneagram/}

It has been helpful for me to learn that who I am is not for me to blame on my parents, my upbringing, my childhood, or my culture on how I live. Nor do all of these get all the credit! I have a unique personality and specific calling upon my life because of the love and grace of God and knowing who I am in my strengths and weaknesses, is helping me internalize how I can be the best, most honest, me I can be. I'm recognizing the level at which I expect too much from others, especially myself, and am having healthy self talks when I'm too critical and judgmental. This has certainly ramped up my prayer life and time of solitude and reflection at the start and end of the day. 

Basically, I'm learning to take much needed deep breaths and not feel guilty for it!

I invite you into this conversation I discovered between Jesus and a perfectionist.

In John 6, Jesus says, "Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal."

Then they said to Jesus, 'What must we do, to be doing the works of God?'

Jesus answered them {many perfectionists, I believe}, 'This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent...All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.'"

I want to know what I must do.

He says to believe.

Then I want to know what work He has to perform. 

He says He's performing right in front of me! He's offering Himself to me! He tells me to receive Him and my performance and perfection is complete. 

Fellow perfectionist, I mean, improver, stop it. Whatever task is before you, take a deep breath and surrender. Jesus completes you. He will never cast you out. Now when you pick that task back up, do it as unto your heavenly Father who loves you just as you are. Do it gladly, not perfectly. Do it with a smile, not with laser-focused, scowling eyes. Trust that He has your day planned and you get to walk in it. It might not go as you have planned, but it will not take God by surprise. And when you believe that He has set His seal upon you, His approval upon you, His love upon you, then you and me both will have an inner peace that can't be shaken. We will accept humanity with its faults and continue to love and serve deeply. We will accept ourselves with our faults and believe that the world kinda likes us! We will be more present with those around us and just might actually laugh a little! 

Any other improvers out there? Live with one? Work with one?

Let's chat in the comment section below. 

resources I've found helpful:

The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron

The Sacred Enneagram by Christopher L. Heuertz

Myers Briggs app (I'm ISTJ - The Inspector) You?

Typology podcast with Ian Morgan Cron

{image from http://www.fitzel.ca/enneagram/graphics.html}