There’s been a lot of self-reflection happening lately, as I’ve officially moved out of something that’s been a huge part of my life and I am preparing to move to an even bigger, new part of life. The Lord has been so faithful in this season.
This week I met up with some adults who’ve been walking through this year with me specifically to look back at the start of this season, see how far I’ve come, and celebrate His faithfulness. One of them asked me, “What now? What’s your new mountain you need Him to help you climb?” Some struggles with my mentality, how my personality plays into it, and lies I’ve been believing came to mind.
It was the first time I’d really thought about them since discovering them in November. Since that conversation, I’ve been analyzing my mind, trying to understand when Satan is at play, when I need to tell my inner critic to shut up, and just overall figure out how my brain works. I’m an Enneagram Type 1, (Enneagram rocks, check it out), and I’ve been researching all kinds of things about my type, trying to understand how my mind and personality work.
Here’s the thing about Type 1’s. We’re the Reformers. We tend to be perfectionists, simply because we see how the world could be. We sometimes come off as critical because we show love by trying to help others improve. There’s a lot of good things I learned about Type 1’s, like how we’re driven, thrive on being productive, and want to do our best to improve the world.
But we also strive for perfection in ourselves, to a fault.
A Type 1’s core fear is of being corrupt, evil, or defective. That’s why we strive to be good and strive for righteousness. Everything I read warned about trying to hold on too tightly to control, because when unhealthy, Type 1’s tend to become very angry with themselves if things are out of control or if they don’t meet their own standards of perfection.
I kinda started to freak out, because everything I was reading sounded like me. I do tend to be hard on myself and put my worth in my work and performance. The purpose in all of this to begin with was for me to find out how I could fight that mentality and break that habit, but everything I was reading was basically telling me that this is just how I function. Great.
As I freaked about my seemingly permanent state of functioning, I continued to freak myself out trying to force myself to understand, “I need to find my worth in Jesus. I can never be perfect. God offers grace for this specific reason.” But because I am the drama queen that I am, this forced me into the opposite perspective of thinking, and I ran from the gospel in shame because my Type 1 inner critic made it very clear. Yes, God offers grace, but no, I am not perfect and I definitely don’t deserve it. Therefore, the natural solution in my brain is to run as far away as possible and hide in a hole. Way to go, me.
Unfortunately, even outside of this mental war, this week sucked. Like it was just BAD.😂My chemistry test ended up lasting all week, I got a solid F on said chemistry test, and a lot was going on that I hadn’t planned well or had forgotten about, and anything that I had planned just fell to pieces.
I really just wanted to go to Disney and forget about anything else, because particularly school and the chemistry test were adding to my freakout in my mind. My main priority right now is school, and I couldn’t even do the normal work right, and I couldn’t have studied any harder for the test that would make any difference to the F.
All of this left me feeling horribly defeated and completely losing my mind all week. Here I was, having just had all these fantastic discussions with these amazing people about how good and kind our God is, celebrating how far I had come, and now I was as miserable as I was when I started, drowning in my mind and running from the gospel that I was so desperate for. It felt like a complete 180.
I’m not perfect. Shocker, I know.
My reputation likes to pretend that I am, and for the sake of my performance and sanity I sometimes pretend I am. But I’m not. I’m not perfect. I will never be perfect.
But God is.
God is perfect so that I don’t have to be.
Maybe I freaked myself out because I was so focused on my mind and on catching my mindset. Maybe it was because I was focusing on making it perfect.
I’m going to work on going outside more. I’m not doing the big AU show this year 😦 so I have more time on my hands. Something I read online recommended Christian Type 1’s going outside more to breathe. I kinda have a thing about sunsets and sunrises, and apparently that’s not uncommon for my Type.
Going outside even for just a few minutes to look at the clouds or the stars is a common practice for Christian Type 1’s, because we can see the perfection of Creation’s design and its Creator and breathe for a second. We can take a moment to rest from striving to be good, from striving to be the perfect Christian we want to be, and rest in the perfection of the only one who is completely perfect.
The key to fixing my mentality and experiencing perfection isn’t by continuing its cycle, zeroing in on that category of failures in addition to all my others, and trapping myself in the cycle of trying to impossibly force perfection and kicking myself when I continuously fail. No.
The key to fixing my mentality and experiencing perfection is by not focusing on myself or my brain at all, but by focusing on the glory and perfection of our God, and living out of His Grace He has poured out over us.
Because He is good when we are not. He is faithful when we are not. He is perfect because we are not.
All we are is Grace.