I am the ultimate perfectionist.  Yes, me.  I even got a fortune cookie one time that said, "You have a yearning for perfection," do you believe that?"  Even Confucius knows it!


But it's a real battle for me.  I expect things from myself that I would never expect from anyone else, and it really messes with my bipolar disorder, because, well, no one's perfect, and no one can live with that kind of stress.


So I was talking to someone about it lately, and they told me, "It's ok to strive for perfection, as long as you don't expect to arrive at perfection."


It's ok to make mistakes.  That's what I've been learning.  If you don't learn that, you'll be bound up in fear (another thing that's bad for our bipolar disorder). 


In one of the devotionals I read every morning, I read, "We are willing to make mistakes and to stumble, provided we are always stumbling forward.  We are not so interested in what we are as in what we are becoming.  We are on the way, not at the goal.  And we will be on the way as long as we live."


I really like that.  I try to be so perfect with my writing.  But when I saw this, it was like it gave me permission to make mistakes, to not always expect such perfection from myself or my writing.


And that it's ok to stumble, as long as we're always stumbling forward.  Too many of us think that if we stumble, we fail.  And then we don't get up.  We get depressed.  And then the next thing you know, we're in a bipolar depressive episode. 


Well, I am hereby giving you permission to not be perfect, to make mistakes, and to stumble, as long as you stumble forward, just as that permission was given to me.


Whew – that was such a load off my back when I read that!


I especially love the line that says, "We are not so interested in what we are as in what we are becoming."


In that strive for perfection, I was always trying to be something I'm not.  Trying to be the "perfect Michele."  But this past week I realized I already am the "perfect Michele," because I am the way God made me.  Now, that doesn't mean I can't stop growing.  Sure, I need a few tweaks here and there – we all do – because I can't stop growing.


But we need to accept ourselves as God accepts us – just the way we are.


Then we can accept the line from the reading that says, "We are on the way, not at the goal.  And we will be on the way as long as we live."