3 hairs on the floor. 5 pin-sized specks of toothpaste on the mirror. 2 pieces of dead grass that are nearly invisible against the brown carpeting in the room. Slight smudge marks on the bottom of a door. Dust build-up in a minuscule crack that only a cockroach would ever notice (or else why would there be any dust?).
Oh, the curse of being an anal-retentive, type-A personality! Every minute speck of dust, every small piece of clutter – it’s like blinding light in my eyes when I have a really bad migraine, compelling me to pick it up and throw it away to relieve the pain. And the worst part of it is, I don’t even have to try. Sherlock Holmes, you know what I mean. You enter a room, and you’re bombarded by every detail of your surroundings from the first glance, your head swelling with the information overload. (Side note: I just found 5 ant-sized pieces of trash camouflaging themselves in the grass as I walked 50 yards from Lower Jays up to The Inn. Sigh!).
God has made me a perfectionist. That is to say, there is a part of me that endlessly strives for excellence in everything I do, and He is the one who put that there. I remember playing with Legos as a young kid (Ok. Maybe it was 15 minutes ago too). It was impossible for me to build anything without it being completely streamlined, well-designed, and aesthetically appealing. It had to be perfect. (Yes. That nerdy, annoying kid who took all your best pieces…that was me. Sorry.). In retrospect, I’d have to say that this quality (not the nerdy, annoying one…but the perfectionism) was very similar to the skill that God gave to Bezalel for crafting items for the tabernacle (Exodus 35). It definitely has it’s origins in God’s nature and creative design.
That being said, there is a part of this trait in me that definitely finds itself on the opposite end of the spectrum. For example, because I want everything to be perfect, it’s easy to feel like nothing is accomplished because there is one small matter “out of place” (No. I’m not still talking about Legos). Or it’s easy to want to criticize other’s efforts because they’re “not good enough.” And what’s more, some of this comes, I believe, from my ongoing efforts to earn God’s acceptance. This is where I fail miserably in my understanding of God and His purposes.
One of the amazing things about living at CTCI is how God begins to bring out a balance in these areas of our lives. In all of us there are places of great strength that often tend to be areas that need a little (or a lot of) equilibrium, and through God’s patient work, He shows us how to walk the tight rope of our personalities. Personally, He is showing me how to walk in this perfectionism (a.k.a. “striving for excellence”), all while living in His grace, acceptance, and love, for myself and for others. What a relief and a joy it is to be able to live in this place! When I begin to see the God-given nature of these personality traits, I begin to appreciate not only myself and others more, but God as well. His personality is so colorful, so eclectic, so much more than I tend to realize. And it is a blessing to be able to see these well-balanced elements displayed in all of us. It’s for this reason that I can continue to thank God and Mr. Holmes for their wonderful lessons in the art of intense situational scrutiny and perfectionism that will surely prove beneficial in whatever precarious predicaments may befall me in the future. Cheers!