Jesus was perfect and the Bible clearly supports that fact. Along with being 100 percent man, He was also 100 percent God. There was no sin, thus making Him the perfect sacrifice for our sin. He is the only perfect man to have ever walk this earth.
I say all of that to tell you that perfectionism is unattainable and frankly impossible for everyone else. JESUS came because God knew we couldn’t live up to the law or be sinless on our own. We needed a Savior and we needed grace. Is this grace a license to sin and do whatever we want? No! But it most certainly relieves us of the burden of being perfect. God understands we can’t do it and doesn’t expect it. What He does want is for us to get in His Word and allow it to transform our lives from the inside out.
When my husband answered the call to preach, I was filled with a million pre conceived notions of what a preacher’s family ought to look like. None of this image came from the Bible, but instead a bar I had set for myself by what I had seen in others. I wanted to always say the perfect thing, quit being so stinkin shy, have perfect kids, and have a perfect husband. It wasn’t long before I felt very inadequate and insecure about everything. I nagged and pushed everybody to fit some crazy standard. You’ll notice none of that includes me sitting and reading my Bible, growing in grace. Nope. I was more concerned about appearing to be a cute little preacher’s home than actually doing the work to please the Lord. Our home was a mess, I couldn’t handle my kids, I cried in defeat often, my husband and I shared little intimacy, and I never felt good enough. It had nothing to do with honoring God, but everything to do with pleasing self and man. Yuck. That’s where perfectionism gets messy. (Note: my husband did not encourage this. In fact, I stressed him out more than anything. He was raised a preacher’s kid and knows a thing or two about this, but I’m still learning.)
I had to come to a place where I recognized my weaknesses for what they are. I had to go to the Lord and ask for forgiveness and for help to improve in the areas I struggle. I decided that I would begin striving for excellence in my weak points, rather than being bogged down by trying to be perfect. I stepped back from all of the crazy and decided to be quiet, just letting the Lord work in me and our home. I quit flipping out over playing a clunker on the piano or not having every hair in place, although I hate the feeling of both. And I decided the heart of our home was what He desired to see cleaned up. I can say this has been life changing in the way I love my husband, my children, and the ministry in which I serve. I’m not perfect and I’m done trying to be.
I want to grow, learn, and mature in the way God would have me to … but that goes much further than looking the part, while my Bible sits neglected. I must set reasonable goals for myself and go forward in grace.
Do you struggle with perfectionism in your life? It’ll tear you up and render you disappointed and lifeless in the end. Seek JESUS first, set goals, and strive to do your best. Understand that there are days you’ll mess up and where the whole world will know it. Give yourself grace. Do better next time. Be more concerned with your heart and less with what people see. If God is working on the inside, it’ll certainly show on the outside.