Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist

In my mind I can often have a perfect picture of what things should be. What I look like; what my relationship and our story should be; what my career trajectory should be. Yet it’s a facade, one I cannot live up to. It only frustrates me and those exposed to it.

Jms4:2-3″ You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

When I hold onto my picture of perfection too tightly I lose sight of God’s perspective. It can ultimately leave me devastated and unforgiving for longer than I care to admit. It results in me being more upset about the stain on my picture than the stain of my sins. Sins which include being overly critical at work, unforgiving and assuming the worst of those I love, and being unkind to myself or others because they messed up how I wanted things to be.

1Sam 16:7 “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

God calls me to lay down my pursuits, along with the disappointments and burden they bring, and rest in Him. He calls me to see beauty and perfection through His eyes. He calls me to trust his way over my own.

1Cor11:31 (Amplified) “For if we searchingly examined ourselves [detecting our short-comings and recognizing our own condition], we should not be judged…”

Through my perfectionism I can bring the wrong kind of judgment on myself and others. I focus on the wrong things not recognizing my own condition that only God can free me from. At the root my perfectionism is my pride and arrogates because perfectionism is about my way and me. While, dependence on God is at the heart of humility. To Him, it’s not enough for us to know we are loved. God wants us to be rooted and established in His love – to be anchored and defined by it. His definition of perfection is to make us complete in Him. He just wants me to submit my will to His, because His ways are best.

2Cor13:5 (Amp) “Examine, test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it.”

When I am faithful I exchange my ideas of perfection for God’s. He calls me to examine myself so I can bare the fruit of His perfection, not my own. My ways grasp for control and self-protection. They focus on me as my own savior and enslave me to everything he set me free from. My ways are driven by fear not faith.

Pv31:25 “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.”

The Proverbs 31 woman was not afraid because she allowed God’s love to drive out fear. Her faith, and trust in Him, gave her courage as her worth was found in God. I have access to this same faith. When I misplace my worth and allow my heart to chase after things that fail, I miss out on a deeper, all-consuming relationship with my loving God.

Eph2:10 “We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

When I compare, I am choosing to run a race I cannot win. In my subconscious I decide that I myself or my circumstances are not good enough. But then I am forced to ask myself, “Enough to who and for what?” Me or God?

The truth is God does not seek to change me so He can love me; His love is unconditional and not based on my behavior. When he calls me to change it’s not about me doing more but becoming more like him. God wants me to be fruitful. He wants my life and my example to draw others to Him.

Jms4:8 “Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world”

When I choose perfectionism, I choose the world. I chose pushing for my will over God’s. But God’s grace meets me where I am. In my imperfection God makes me what He wants me to be, if I surrender my will to His. He sets my course on a race I have already won, in Him. So even on the darkest day I can choose perfect faith over perfectionism.

Lam3:21-22 “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassion never fails.”

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