The topic of perfectionism is so familiar to me because I have struggled with it for as long as I can remember. I found it both an attractive and a tiring trait. People like for things to be perfect, but perfection is not possible. Trying to do something that is literally impossible is draining. It is no wonder why most people who are so concerned with perfection, are the ones who are so stressed. It is hard to let down when you are a perfectionist. One of the things that I have realized about myself, is that perfectionism has often covered another aspect of myself. I realized I had a lot of insecurities. Those were hiding behind a perfectionist personality. I had to ask the question, "What does NOT being perfect say about me?" The answer was that I would be 'unworthy.'
It Started Young
I grew up in an unhealthy household. A place where I often heard that I was not good enough, which I interpreted as 'unworthy'. So, as I grew older, I tried to be worthy by being 'good enough.'
The problem with that is I then had to ask the question,"What is good enough?" The answer, well, I could not answer that one. I knew there would always be a better way, something missed, or something that should not have been. But, when your aim is set to prove your worth by being good enough, it leads to a cycle of constant stress and an unhappy life. We are not resting in Christ. We are striving and will never win because it is impossible! I will tell you, I was often exhausted!
Don't Tell Me This
The perfectionist doesn't want to hear this though. Being perfect brings about a good reputation. But, as a Christians, desiring the approval of man and the praise of what we have done, is sinful. All praise is to go to God. So if we are wanting the glory that comes from being a perfectionist, we are trying to steal God's glory. We are not giving God what He deserves.
It is also important to note that God doesn't like to use proud people. He delights in using weak people. So, for the perfectionist, that is trying to find security in what they are capable of doing, is not the kind of person God would be pleased to use. He is not searching for the strong ones to do His work. God uses the broken ones.
But I'm Scared
I personally know the fear of humility, which is pride if we are being honest. This is the theory - If we believe we really are worthless, then we try to overcompensate to prove to ourselves that we are not failures. However, if we were to fail, the argument is that we will have then proven the fact that we are indeed worthless, and then we feel bad about ourselves. And..will probably try harder.
That is a mind twister, I know, but a perfectionist will understand that train of thought.
And because of him, you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord." 1 Corinthians 1:30-31
We can say from our hearts that we may not feel smart, but He is wise! We don't have a need to be smart enough if our God is God. We can boast in His wisdom!
Ask yourself these questions,
"Why do I want to be perfect? Is it to be praised? Does being praised make me feel like a more important person? Is this the deep reason for my perfectionism?"
If it is for boasting, then it is sin. We are to boast in Christ. A group named the Getty's have a song called "My worth is not in what I own." It is a song that talks about how our identity should rest on the foundation of Christ. One line says, "I will boast in knowing Christ, at the cross!" That should be what we praise and what we seek to show. Christ! When reading the verse I quoted above, we see that Paul, who had lots to boast about, told us to boast in God alone. Remember, anything that is good comes from God. All of our gifts are His.
Find Rest In Him
When I am feeling really stressed out because of something that seems overwhelming to me I find this verse helpful.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
There is no need to be anxious or to feel like the weight is on you for all things to go well. He who loves you is working all thing together for your good. So, Stop worrying! We put so much pressure on ourselves. An artist names Jonathan McReynolds created a song called 'Pressure.' It talks about this exact topic. You should give it a listen.
Can we just be okay with being a human- not perfect? Let us admit to it and make peace with it. Realize God is not looking for you to be perfect in order to use you
Here is an example of the kinds of people God used greatly, from 'diosmundanzas.tumblr.com'
We will have to be okay with the fact that we will never be perfect. However, we can look at the perfect one, and He will continue to make us more like Himself, which is perfection. And one day we will all be glorified!
I don't want you to misunderstand what I am saying. It's okay to desire excellence if we desire it to please God! It's not okay to find an identity in perfection. That is prideful, and it is a stressor that hinders day to day living. We all desire for things be right. That is okay! It is actually how God made us, but some of us lose ourselves in trying to prove to ourselves and others how capable and worthy we are. We are then trying to mask the fact that we feel useless.
Trust me, I know the struggle! I still have to remind myself daily that this life is not about me. The most important thing is for Christ to be seen in your work and life. This is better than perfectionism. He finds the weak ones who come to Him precious, and what they bring to Him is precious. All that you bring to Him is washed with the perfect blood of Christ. It is perfect to Him.
I like the song "In Christ alone." It says that our hope is found in Him. But, remind yourself that your identity is also found in Him, not how perfect you are!
I mentioned a couple of songs on this blog. I think they may be helpful reminders to listen to when struggling with perfectionism and identity issues.
I will link them below
Pressure by Jonathan McReynolds
My worth is not in what I own by the Getty's
In Christ alone by the Gettys.
Thanks for reading! If you have personally found ways that help with feelings of worthlessness, please comment below.
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