Perfectionism is the lie that we can earn God’s favor. Or that we need to!
The truth of God’s word is that God already loves us to the moon and back (my paraphrase of Ps.103:11) and accepts us as is (Rom 15:7).
There are many strategies to overcome the compulsion to be perfect that we’ve addressed in previous devotionals, but let’s review them before I give you the best bad news and ultimate solution for overcoming perfectionism.
In a devotional titled, The Dis-Ease of Perfection I suggested that you STOP measuring yourself against what you see in other people. Stop COMPARING yourself to what you think you see in others.
Replace the lie that you don’t measure up with the truth of God’s word. He loves you so much, he sacrificed his son, Jesus, to pay for your sins so you could establish an unhindered relationship with him.
No performance required.
God loves you with an everlasting love. Jer. 31:3
I wrote that Chasing Perfection Steals Your Time,
Recognize that striving for perfection wastes your time. Replace the lie that your work needs to be perfect with the truth of God’s word that says you only need to do your best.
Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
Remember Perfection is an Evil Taskmaster!
Needing to be perfect keeps you from experiencing new things and new people. Replace the lie that you can’t try anything new because you’ll look foolish or fail with the truth that God is powerful enough to rescue you or redeem you or teach you.
Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21 (NIV)
Please Don’t Live In Isolation!
Replace the lie that you are insignificant to God (and therefore unworthy of good relationships) with the truth that He made you, blessed you and calls you his own. Gen. 1:26-28.
He says you are all that and a bag of chips plus a brownie (my translation of Ps. 139:14) He declares you a masterpiece Eph. 2:10 and promises to equip you to do the work he has called you to do. Heb. 13:21
With that in mind, consider all you have to offer in relationships with others.
The fifth way to overcome the tyranny of perfectionism is to come to terms with the fact that you will never be finished.
The house, the job, the parenting, the marriage, the book, your own spiritual development or self-awareness are all works in progress. There’s always something to tweak, modify, improve or edit.
To a perfectionist this is lousy news. Perfectionists need a destination, an accomplishment, a finish line, completion!
Unfortunately, we get one area of life wrangled into submission, only to find another aspect wriggling out of control.
It wasn’t so long ago that I found myself completely overwhelmed by all the new things I had to learn and all the content I had to create to move my speaking hobby into a full time sustainable ministry.
The mounting frustration got so bad I finally sought professional help. My counselor gave two words that changed my life.
He showed me how to look at life as a divine journey rather than a destination, one that is never completely finished, but that has some lovely oasis’ along the way to enjoy. Completion of any piece of a project or line item on my list is an oasis that I can stop at, take satisfaction in, and take refreshment from before I continue onto the next thing in my divine journey.
Overcome the lie that you can finish your ( fill in the blank ) perfectly with the truth that you’re on a divine journey of learning, doing, resting and trusting. God will lead, guide, and direct you perfectly on your way.
I’d love to hear how you overcome the tyranny of perfection. Leave me a comment below to tell me how you let yourself be perfectly imperfect?
Verse for today: “Do not be afraid—I will save you.
I have called you by name—you are mine.
When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you;
your troubles will not overwhelm you.
When you pass through fire, you will not be burned;
the hard trials that come will not hurt you.
For I am the Lord your God,
the holy God of Israel, who saves you. Isaiah 43:1-3
Prayer: Lord God Almighty. Thank you for creating me in your image and declaring me good! Very good. Good enough. Help me to see myself the way you see me. Release me from the In Jesus Name, Amen.