While I was going through a mini Bible study with about ten other people, we began discussing perfectionism. I wonder if everyone struggles with some degree of perfectionism, since it seemed that everyone in that room did. Interestingly, the lesson paired perfectionism with fear. Is it because we fear failure that we strive so hard to be perfect? And why do I have such a fear of failure? Is that based on pride…what others might think?
Someone called perfectionism a sin, which surprised me a bit. I have always seen it as a bit obsessive, but more good than bad—something that we roll our eyes about and need to relax at times, but not a sin, surely! After all, it produces some very good work! I was mulling that this morning and realized that in fact, perfectionism was the basis for the original sin! In Genesis 3:5, the tempting serpent used the words, “You will be like God,” and how could anything be more God-like than perfection?
Somehow it had never entered my consciousness that not only is perfection impossible, but it is also an attempt to become God. When we are unable to accept our own work as good enough, aren’t we actually saying that we are dissatisfied with what God has given? Hebrews 13:5 says to be content with what you have, for God will never desert or forsake you. 2 Cor 12:9 says, “My grace is enough for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.” God gives us weakness on purpose, so that His perfect power can shine through it. He loves for His grace to cover our imperfections!
Lord, remind me to focus on pleasing YOU,
not other people.
Help me to realize that the gaps
where I am unable to achieve perfection
are actually windows for Your glory to shine through!