You Can Be Excellent Without Being a Perfectionist

If you are not a perfectionist, this post may not make much sense. (As ever, it’s important to know where you are to know where you need to aim. If you don’t suffer with perfectionism, the advice below probably doesn’t apply to you.)

As a Christian, I’ve really struggled with sorting out my perfectionism. Doesn’t the scripture exhort us to “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect”? If I want things to be perfect, isn’t that a good thing?

Turns out, perfection isn’t that simple. God’s perfection and my perfection are different things. Continue Reading

Seek Wise Guidance

(Learn to Discern, Principle #9)

Have you ever found yourself looking for help with difficult decision, only to leave the conversation feeling like the other person’s ideas just didn’t fit?  Or worse, have you ever followed a piece of advice, only to realise later that it was terrible advice for you, even if the person giving it meant well? Maybe you’ve received good advice, but were in a place where you just weren’t ready to hear it?

It seems like there are very few occasions in life that are helped by direct advice: either it doesn’t really work for our unique situation, or we need to move forward on our own in order to discover our own best path.

Of course, sometimes in the process of discernment, we can get stuck in our own heads, trapped in a circle of thoughts that don’t seem to lead anywhere. Our position as an ‘insider’ to our own situation can make us unable to see outside things. Sometimes we can even miss things that are glaringly obvious! Continue Reading

Where Do You Get Your Significance?

“And what I’ve realized is that I cling to stress because I fear I am not worthy unless I am busy. I maintain an overbooked schedule because it makes me feel needed and successful. To give up the sensation of feeling stressed, for me, would be to give up feeling significant.”

These words really caused me to think. I’ve been consciously trying to stop hurrying and to build more margin into my days. I don’t like being “busy” for the sake of it, and there are few things I enjoy more than a lazy afternoon spent reading a good novel. But what about this idea of “feeling significant”?

This is a question that seems to plague almost everyone I meet: what makes you feel significant? What makes you feel like you matter? Where does your worth come from? Continue Reading

Maximizing Prayer

Have you ever had a difficult decision to make, and found yourself praying, “Lord, you decide. Just tell me, and I’ll do it!”?  I know I have.

In his podcast on “Four helpful rules for discernment,” Fr. Mike Schmitz points out that sometimes (not every time, but sometimes,) we ask God what His Will is, for the simple reason that we don’t want to make the decision.

It might seem really godly of us to do whatever the Father wills – but sometimes it’s an excuse for us not taking responsibility for our own choices. Continue Reading

Taking the Hint

I once had a job offer that I was fairly excited about. It was the kind of thing I enjoyed doing and the employer seemed to think I would be an excellent fit. The only difficulty was the calendar: I needed to be assured that the school schedule they followed would work for me. We went back and forth with negotiations, and they were eager to accommodate my requests.

When the final phone call for formal acceptance arrived, I found myself with an uneasy feeling. With [what seemed to be] no reason whatsoever, I said no to the job.

I didn’t have any other prospects, I wasn’t dreaming of doing something else – I just found myself unable to say yes to the thing I [thought I] wanted.

It didn’t seem like a very rational decision at the time, but it worked out because my life took a turn in a different direction soon after.

How did I know to do that? I certainly didn’t plan to turn down the position: I didn’t even know I was going to, until the very last minute! Was it the Holy Spirit nudging me? Was it some kind of foresight I didn’t know I had? Was it my gut, telling me that something was “off”, even though I couldn’t say what? Continue Reading