Perfectionism is a dangerous path that always leads to disappointment and depression. Why? Because perfection, as mankind defines it, is impossible to obtain.
Perfectionism is about control. It’s not that different from cutting, drinking, doing drugs, or obsessive compulsive behavior. Peoeple who struggle with these dysfunctional behaviors all desire control.
The reasons why they need to control their environment can be vastly different. Usually there is something in their lives, or in their past, that they couldn’t control, so they latched on to a certain activity to control something.
Perfectionism can also have many beginnings, and it is important to understand those beginnings so the perfectionist can eventually confront those lies. But before that can be done effectively the perfectionist has to come to terms that their perfectionism is a part of the problem, and not a real solution.
This can be extremely difficult, because their whole life their perfectionism has been reinforced. Our society just loves a perfectionist, because their desire to please is so easily manipated. A perfectionist’s environment passively exploits and enables perfectionism, and those involved may not even mean to:
- The parents who lavished praise on the child with straight A’s and passively sent the message that B’s were not acceptable, even if it was the child’s best work to earn it.
- The parent that paid for homeruns in little league, and sent the message that singles and doubles weren’t enough, because they weren’t praised with money or words.
- Being described as “the good child” because they didn’t ever get into trouble, do drugs or have premarital sex.
Perfectionism is encouraged and enabled when performance is the defined of “good” or “acceptable.”
Churches are some of the worst enablers of perfectionism when they equate godliness with performance.
Here’s a verse that is commonly misused:
“Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:38
The Greek word for perfect has nothing to do with performance or measuring up to other people’s standards. The Greek word is teleios and means:
- brought to its end, finished
- wanting nothing necessary to completeness
- that which is perfect: consummate human integrity and virtue, or when used in defining men: full grown, adult, of full age, mature
God isn’t saying, “Measure up to my standard of performance!” When you look at this verse within the totality of scripture God is saying:
“Be complete in me. Do what I created you for and gifted you for. Be mature and stop striving after the world. Be you, because you are amazing just the way you are.
Avoid sin because it hurts you, those around you and our intimacy. If you do sin, repent; so relationships can be restored.
Go out there and live, love and laugh. Know that when I gave you a new nature you became complete, lacking in nothing!
Make mistakes, and keep learning. Fall down and get back up again.
Use My truth, for when you side with truth you are always right, and My truth is the highest form of truth there is.
Walk in your completeness, your acceptance, and your perfection as you continue to grow and mature.
Hold on to nothing of this world, as it is not your home. Do not crave its praise or its possessions. Your blessing aren’t here, they await you in heaven.
Everything you have here on earth is simply a resource. Give to others through the resources I have provided you, for that is exactly why I provided them.
Stop focusing on you. I have already completed you. Only focus on how you can love those around you.
Be willing to suffer for what is right and rejoice when truth is spoken or lived out. Delight in me and you will have all that you truly desire:
Your works mean nothing. They don’t bring you perfection, only God can do that through salvation and the new nature.
If you owned all the money in the world and you kept working to earn more, you’d be a fool. You already own it all. There is nothing more to earn.
In the same way, if you are in Christ you are already perfect. There is nothing left to perform, only a perfect life to live…..