The Desire to Make Everything Look Perfect

It’s tradition for me to host an annual tea party! This was the fourth year, and every year I try to make it a little different, special in its own way, and better than the last. I scrutinize over the menu, track down perfect Kate Spade linens, and plan the perfect outfit! As a recovering perfectionist…a tea party is like walking into a crack house for an addict! I mean, talk about an opportunity to try and make everything look picture perfect and Pinterest-worthy!!

How or Why Would Being a Perfectionist be a Problem?

Over the last year, God has been revealing to me that perfectionism is not pleasing to him, in fact, it is a problem! At first, I couldn’t comprehend it…why would trying to do things “right” or try my “best” be a problem? Why wouldn’t that please God? This is the verse he revealed to me…

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9-11

When I appear perfect, or all together…only one person gets the glory and that’s me. When I am who I really am…a hot mess who fails miserably, yet something good comes out of it – God gets the glory! But, I don’t want to look like a mess. I don’t want to look like a failure. I want to look like I’ve got my life together!

Perfectionism – the Thorn in My Side

So the last year has been a constant struggle of me trying to submit my perfectionism to God. But man, has it been difficult?! The truth is, I want to live a life glorifying to God, but I also want to do everything in my power to make sure everything is done perfectly. And, I just cannot let go of that! You know people who say things like, “It’s okay, it doesn’t have to be perfect?” Those words would never come out of my mouth! I mean, maybe I would say that to other people, but never to myself about something I had to do! And there is a simple reason for that, because I really think everything has to be perfect or its best! It is DEEPLY INGRAINED in me and I need a GOD-SIZED MIRACLE to TRANSFORM me from the INSIDE OUT!

Juggling a Million Responsibilities

Lately, I’ve been feeling seriously overwhelmed by all my obligations. Currently, I’m working retail, going to school, starting a small business, blogging, and trying to grow my Instagram. Sometimes, friends will say, maybe you should give up one of those things. The reality is, I feel called to do all of them! Each one of those things, I sense God has put there for a reason. So, I really can’t give anything up as long as God calls me to it. Trust me, there are some obligations I wouldn’t mind giving up in a heartbeat! Especially, when I feel like I’m failing at all of these things! My business is failing, my blog and Instagram aren’t growing, working commission seems like a dead end, and I’m a terrible student! And when I feel like I’m failing…I seriously don’t want to get out of bed! I literally want to stay in the fetal position because I am so paralyzed about how I am a complete failure at life! To a normal person, this sounds crazy…To a perfectionist, this probably hits home! It’s A LOT! Then, this past week, I had the tea party to plan! Mind you, I have a 30 page research paper due next week! I felt completely overwhelmed and frenzied!

What Went Wrong at the Tea Party
  • Blueberry scones w/ lemon curd and mascarpone cream
    • Blueberry scones – I forgot to add more than HALF the sugar!!!! (Kill me!) They looked so cute, mini, and perfect! Until you bit into them…they tasted like cardboard!! Sure, when you added the lemon curd and cream, they were fine! But not everyone knew to do that!! So most of the scones were left over!
    • Lemon curd – so easy to make…and yet egg whites formed!! I think it was fine until I had to run out of the house. It wasn’t cool enough to put up, so I left it in the pot w/ a lid on. I think the steam continued to cook the curd!!! (I was dying!)
    • Mascarpone cream – I’ve made this so many times without issue! For some reason, it did not come together like a whipped cream! Just looked wet and heavy! Hardly anyone touched it. Why? Because it didn’t look awesome and fluffy like it should!!
  • Chai Tea Cupcakes w/ a Cinnamon Buttercream
    • Chai Tea Cupcakes – I thought I had chai tea at home – well, I didn’t! So I had to use earl gray tea and then add all the spices like it was a chai tea! (What the first rule in baking?! No substitutes or major changes!)
    • Cinnamon Buttercream – oh man… it was perfect the night before. Then, I refrigerated it and it was too hard to spread. I asked my neice to stir it so that it would become softer…BIG MISTAKE! The butter separated!! LUMPY FROSTING! (Again, dying!)
  • Goat Cheese & Peach Tarts
    • I forgot to brush egg on the tart to make it glisten! So it looked like a dull pastry that was slightly overcooked! Sad!
  • Custard Tarts
    • The custard….I added cornstarch and it got SUPER LUMPY! Couldn’t get all the lumps out!! When you bit into it, there were hard lumps! (OMG, had I known they were so hard and lumpy, I probably would have trashed them!)
    • The tart – forgot to brush it with eggs…not shiny!
  • Egg Salad Sandwiches
    • I don’t know what came over me! I added way too much black pepper and the egg salad didn’t look white anymore!! It looked gray!! (Seriously?! What’s wrong with  me?!)
My Response to Everything that Went Terribly Wrong!

Normally, I would have been FREAKING OUT! Basically, everything that could have gone wrong when it came to food – went wrong! In my perfectionist eyes – TERRIBLY WRONG! But for some reason, I didn’t completely freak out. I was a little overwhelmed by how much I had to do and how little time I had to do it, but surprisingly, I wasn’t that stressed. A year ago, if any of those things happened, I would have thrown a dish out and started over! Seriously! I would have remade the custard, whipped mascarpone cream, lemon curd, and cinnamon buttercream frosting! I would have died on the inside if I had to serve it! But this year, my reaction was different! I was relatively calm and collected! I didn’t throw anything out. I served everything just as it was, even though it was far from perfect. WHY?! What came over me?!

You will have to read about it in PART 2! 

And to be fair, everything went well overall. All the guests had a great time and it was so nice to spend time with friends! Read more about the friendship fun aspect of the party in my guest post on Bailey T. Hurley’s blog!

Thanks for visiting!

-Mel

 

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4 thoughts on “A Tea Party and a Recovering Perfectionist – PART 1”

  1. This gathering was such an encouragement to me and my ministry! Praising Jesus for your bold moves!

    1. Hi Bailey! Glad to hear that!! Now, I have to figure out other ways to meet with my friends more regularly! You’re helping keep me accountable!

  2. I liked eating blueberry scones with half the sugar. It’s healthier and it means I can add more lemon curd…. 😅

    But I’m thankful God is revealing these things to you that He wants you to surrender and give to Him for His glory. Praise God for His mercies and may He continue to mold you more and more into His likeness for His glory.

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