Perfection is Not Required

I love reading about other artists' processes on their blogs or in books, seeing what each stage of a piece looked like before it was finished.  Seeing the steps that go into a piece -- as well as the seeming imperfections -- really inspires and encourages me.  So here is the evolution of the most recent Christmas card I've created (you saw its beginnings yesterday).

{in progress}

{in progress}

{in progress}

Hark

I had such a fun time creating this piece -- until the end.  Then the perfectionism monster grabbed me and would not let go.  After I affixed the words, I grimaced at how mustard yellow they looked.  But at the same time I knew that I couldn't remove the words without literally tearing holes in the piece.  So I decided to deal with the yellow -- when I realized that I'd forgotten to give the angel a second wing!  Sigh.  I can't decide if it looks totally doofy.  What do you think?

Still, not all is lost.  I can fix the wing issue, and the printed Christmas card version of this piece doesn't reveal that there's a lack of wing.  And most of all, I'm trying to use this rather frustrating experience to learn something about myself and my need to "be perfect" all the time.  A few weeks ago God planted a thought in my head that has really stuck with me -- perfection is not required.

"Really?" I wanted to ask, already knowing the answer and not liking it one bit.

"Really," I felt God replied.

Oh.

So . . . the creation of this piece reminded me of that.  I don't need to be perfect.  My art does not need to be perfect.  What is required is an openness to God, to growth, to grace.  The state of my heart, not the quality of my importance, is what's important to Him. 

I think that it will take me a long, long time to fully learn this lesson.  A lifetime, perhaps.  I don't know why I resist the idea that I don't have to be perfect so much.  Shouldn't this truth come as a relief?  Perhaps I take issue more with the fact that it is impossible to be perfect.  So I'll have to learn, and keep learning, this lesson.  But I believe that, in the end, it will prove to be a lesson worth learning.

Do you struggle with perfectionism?  How do you deal with it? 

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