Wednesday, October 26, 2011

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}


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.


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? 


  1. i'm in a war with myself, a daily thing, about letting go of my incesent perfection.

    it's a war i am loosing. He is winning for me.

  2. Rachel, you said, "He is winning for me."

    Oh my goodness. YES. This is it exactly. Thank you for summing it up so beautifully.

  3. How about a perspective from a non-artist? What draws me to the picture you created are not the things that you see as imperfections. I think the artist is more critical than those who look to see what the art is saying. Sometimes I feel like an angel with one wing. I relate to her and I noticed her upward gaze. It encouraged me to look up.

    I pray you don't struggle with perfectionism for a lifetime. Instead, I hope you will continue see the struggle as a pursuit of growth and excellence to the glory of God.

    Good post, Beth.

  4. Thank you so much, Dea.

  5. I think your girl is lovely...and I know exactly what you mean...that monster gets me, too and it is soooo very frustrating. Honestly I think the yellow is awesome and wouldn't have ever thought otherwise!!

    Thanks for sharing.


  6. There is no such thing as perfection we are human after all!! Well done your girl is lovely!

  7. Thank you, Leslie and Manon!

  8. I totally struggle with perfectionism and lately the dreaded "will other people like it" syndrome. But you are so right~ the process and being open to the gift that we are blessed with is more important. Thanks for the reminder:)

    Love your work and seeing the process.

  9. Wait you suffer from the "will other people like it" syndrome, too, Stephanie? ;) Glad I'm not alone.

  10. Perfectionism, Oh yes! I can relate to that struggle. But I try to remind myself that I am covered in the perfect work of my Saviour on my behalf. But oh how easy it it to forget!

    I love your card! and no, I don't think your words are too yellow!

    Blessings xo,

  11. Jennifer @ Studio JRUOctober 28, 2011 at 7:20 PM

    I love that God planted that thought in your head... perfection is not required. Something I need to remind myself often. I struggle with that perfectionism monster. I love your Christmas card. Beautiful!

  12. Debbie, why is it so hard to remember (as you called it) "the perfect work of my Saviour"? Sigh...we'll get it in there for good one day... :)

    Thank you, Jennifer! And thanks for inviting me to the Friday linky!

  13. her eyes are so SO gorgeous! so glad that you stuck with this piece!

  14. I'm not an artist but I think what you created is beautiful!

  15. Thank you so much, Robin and Renee! :)


"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King