November 12-Guest Blogger Nicki Jacoby on Striving for Perfection

Welcome back to my blog, as we approach the midway point of this month of November. I am continuing with my thematic blog posts, based on ideas from the Ultra Blog Challenge and the Article Writing Challenge. Wednesdays are designated as guest blogger days, so for this Wednesday, November 12th post, I wanted to “re-share” Nicki’s guest blog post from a few months ago.

My friend and fellow freelance writer,  Nicki Jacoby, offered this post from an older entry in her blog, Happy Wife of a Human Husband, on the relationship between striving for perfection…and the bathroom (aka, the “necessary room” in our homes!)

The “Necessary Room”

[Source: morgueFile free photos]

 

Here is Nicki’s bio, adapted from her Writer Access profile:

Nickolina specializes in blog writing, product descriptions, Christian exhortation and counseling. She enjoys home-related activities and keeps toys around for visiting children who keep coming back.

Nicki homeschooled her children through graduation in Pennsylvania (a state requiring extensive documentation) and by doing so, she gained wide background knowledge in many subjects, including insights on working with children and teens.

As an artist, she has illustrated a children’s book and created a workbook for children explaining the effects of a grandmother’s stroke. She works as a temporary contractor for the FCC in the Auctions Division and call center, and spent three years helping callers during the DTV transition.

Nicki has taught Sunday School and Bible Club for over 30 years. She is an artist who works in a variety of mediums and has interest in quilts and sewing, particularly the art of reusing or refurbishing articles. She enjoys reading and words and collects books so she can enjoy reading them again. Her homeschooled children all went on to college and did well. Her current project is decorating eggshells to make commemorative ornaments for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

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Now onto what Nicki has to share with us today.

On Striving for Perfection–Insights from Romans 7

It has been a while since posting, and my son asked me why.  When I am talking a lot to real people, I don’t have time to write about it!  But this thought has been on my mind:

A friend is struggling in her first year of homeschooling, feeling defeated by her failure to be that perfectly calm, happy mom who cheerfully controls her brood as they eagerly learn all she has prepared to teach them.  This lady is a myth!  Not a person!  We are humans, and we fail.  We are sinners who know the good we should do and do not do it.  We yell at the kids, complain about our lives, and brood over our lack.

We are stuck in Romans 7…frustrated by our inability to do the impossible and feeling defeated. The chapter doesn’t end focused on that frustration because it brings in a Rescuer: Jesus Christ.

Romans 8 goes on to explain why we get so frustrated with trying to be perfect.  We can’t, because we don’t have the ability or the strength.  Anything we do on our own is inadequate.  The frustration comes because we have this crazy idea that we can always be the perfect person who never makes a mistake.  We need to get over ourselves and stop this self-centered focus on our inadequacies.

Romans 8 is a chapter that is worthy of memorization, because the process will force you to really look at what is being said.  It is kind of like God giving us a new hard drive and rebooting our lives to be radically different by being strong in our weaknesses.  We don’t do it, God does it.  We are promised that all things will work together for our good…even those failures.  Even the times we yell.  Even the piles we didn’t get around to dealing with.

When your children see you fail, that is a time to show them the hope you have in Jesus.  The problem isn’t that we fail, it is that we don’t show how to deal with failure.  I don’t need perfect friends, I need friends who share how God has helped them in their failures so I can see what God says in His word about sin and how Jesus provided the way to be cleansed of it.

It’s that old bathroom illustration again…if we need a bathroom in our home, we are acknowledging that we produce filth that needs to be flushed away and that we get filthy during the day and need to be cleansed.

1 John makes it clear that Christians sin, but are not comfortable with sinning, and that confessing our sins cleanses us.  Think about it……

Pretending to be perfect in all you do

is like pretending you don’t need a bathroom in your house.  

 

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Nicki, thanks for sharing your insight here with a bit of humor thrown in. Obviously we will never reach such a pinnacle of perfection that we will transcend our humanity and its limitations!

I know I also had my days of frustration as a homeschooling Mom for over 11 years, striving to be “perfect” or at least “as good as” another homeschooling parent I perceived to be better than me. I can also relate to the struggle of striving to be “perfect” in other areas, as a writer, quilter, and doctoral candidate!

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Blog readers–what are your thoughts on striving for perfection? Do you agree with Nicki’s interpretation of the insights from Romans 7 and 8? How about the bathroom analogy?

 

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14 comments to “November 12-Guest Blogger Nicki Jacoby on Striving for Perfection”

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  1. Alana - November 12, 2014 Reply

    Timely post, because the daughter of a co worker just pulled her children out of school (in NY, which has stringent reporting requirements, too)and is embarking on homeschooling. She also has two younger children including an infant. The last thing she has to worry about is being perfect!
    Alana recently posted..Fall Fancies – We’ll Always Have Yesterday

  2. Mary - November 12, 2014 Reply

    Thank you for this. I grew up in a home where perfection was expected. Made for some real struggles!
    Mary recently posted..Nov 12, 2014 Wild Cherry

  3. Brittany @ Equipping Godly Women - November 12, 2014 Reply

    I like to call it the “powder room.” Just because things happen in there doesn’t mean that they need to be discussed! Although, as Christians, I suppose sometimes they do.

  4. elly stornebrink - November 13, 2014 Reply

    First of all, I’d like to say I’m impressed, blown away actually by Nicki’s bio even before I read her post. Secondly, I think the bathroom analogy is an interesting and amusing one. And thirdly, I think that striving for perfection is a double-edged sword…there is a grey line: on the one hand, it is an ideal to strive towards, though not necessarily as an ultimate target at the expense of oneself or others. 😉 <3
    elly stornebrink recently posted..Writer’s Block: Not?

  5. Francene Stanley - November 13, 2014 Reply

    Dealing with failure is a wonderful topic. I so often fail to follow my own advice. The only thing to do is promise to stay stronger next time and learn from your mistake. It helps if you can feel a loving presence guiding you too.
    Francene Stanley recently posted..Should we take our survival for granted?

  6. Kristen from The Road to Domestication - November 13, 2014 Reply

    This is a great post that really resonates with me as a perfectionist LOL Good analogy!
    Kristen from The Road to Domestication recently posted..Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip Cookies

  7. Amalia - November 13, 2014 Reply

    I am a perfectionist, in a lot of things, but I don’t pretend to be perfect-being a perfectionist, I see what isn’t perfect better! 😉

  8. Alexandria Gunn - November 13, 2014 Reply

    Wow! A brilliant post. It’s so true as well. It’s just a shame that it doesn’t always dull that voice in my head telling me I have to be perfect in everything that I do. But I think that comes from my memories of school when I would do something wrong in class. Now I want to get everything right the first time.
    Alexandria Gunn recently posted..Tax Time as a Freelance Writer: Claiming Your Home Office Costs

  9. Nicole - November 13, 2014 Reply

    Such an encouraging message that I definitely needed to hear today. Loved the part in the article where it pointed out the importance of knowing how to deal with failure and how that’s so much more important than being a perfectionist. So true!
    Nicole recently posted..4 Essential Books on Writing for Every Writer’s Toolbox

  10. Victoria Virgo - November 13, 2014 Reply

    I think everyone has a problem with wanting to be perfect. Loved that last line about the bathroom. We have to remember that we are humans, and humans are not and will never be perfect.
    Victoria Virgo recently posted..Monthly Review & Income Report for October 2014

  11. Joan Harrington - November 13, 2014 Reply

    Hi Nicki 🙂

    I definately know how that is to strive for “perfection” in such an imperfect world 😉 I can not even count how many times I have failed to live up to those expectations that I set for myself but as long as I stay focused and consistent, and at least try and do my best, I know I will get where I need to be 🙂

    Fantastic post and awesome share!!!

    Thank you for sharing 🙂
    Joan Harrington recently posted..How To Get Off the Writing Tips Treadmill

  12. Sophie Bowns - November 13, 2014 Reply

    Failure is a hard thing to deal with, isn’t it?
    The hardest part is admitting it!
    Sophie Bowns recently posted..Pride

  13. Stephanie L. - November 13, 2014 Reply

    I am guilty myself of this…but getting better! Thanks for sharing Nicki!

  14. Dorit Sasson - November 14, 2014 Reply

    You know the saying, you fail if you never try! Great post!
    Dorit Sasson recently posted..The Power of One Woman’s Quest: Everything I Ever Learned I Got from Serving in the Israel Defense Forces

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