I am a perfectionist. I like presenting my life as a nice, clean, pretty package for all the world to ooh and ah over. I like my Facebook profile to coordinate. If I don’t get one hundred percent on a test I feel as if I’ve failed- even if I get 95%. If I stutter over my words in public, I am left feeling ridiculous for the rest of the day. I hate it when my struggles are exposed. When my life looks a little messy.
Perhaps you are nodding your head in complete agreement. Maybe- just maybe- you can relate.
The thing about perfectionism, however, is that you are setting up your own standards. For me, perfection is generally defined as those wonderful moments when I feel happy- also known as those moments when everything is going my way. When I feel accomplished. When I feel successful. Then, when life is not going my way and I feel stressed, not accomplished, and far from successful I define myself as a failure.
“I can never live up to my own standard.”
If I set my own standard of perfection, then I will never be ‘good enough’ and I will never be able to reach the heights of “happy”. If I set my own standard of perfection, then I will always remain a failure in my own eyes. I can never live up to my own standard. And that’s why it is so comforting to know that I don’t have to define myself according to my failures or successes- I am defined by God! He calls me His very own masterpiece.
Christian celebration band, Rend Collective, recently posted the following on social media: “…Maybe you’re wrestling with the phrase ‘good enough’- we all do sometimes. The thing is, we don’t claim our victories for ourselves and toss our failure into the arms of Jesus. He claims them all. He claims us entirely. Which means we’re no longer slaves to our failure or our successes. There’s no longer ‘good enough’, there’s just ‘His’.”
I absolutely love these words! We can never be ‘enough’ but, as Christians, we are His. This is the truth we must rest in.
You see, if I am completely honest with myself, I idolize perfection. Instead of relying on God, I struggle to be ‘good enough’. While God has already defined me as His precious child, I blindly scramble around, trying to control my own life and reach the heights of perfectionism. That said, time and time again, I only reach the depths of depression and stress.
I am missing out on living this life fully because instead of crying out to God and admitting ‘I can’t live this life without You!’ I am reaching inward and trying to satisfy my own self, hopelessly attempting to reach my standard of perfection… trying to prove myself perfect in the sight of those I know and love.
“To be like Christ doesn’t mean we have to be perfect.”
God calls us to be like Him. To be like Christ doesn’t mean we have to be perfect. Rather, we are trying to be like Him because we aren’t perfect and He is.
I don’t want people to see my ugly side. I don’t want them to see my struggle in a school subject, my struggles in life, attitude, etc. I want to appear perfect. I want to be perfect. But sometimes, we need to share our stories and ugliness. Remember, it was through Jesus’ scars that doubting Thomas believed.
Through our stories, struggles, and messiness, maybe-just maybe- we’ll bring encouragement and Light to others. Struggles- even the seemingly little ones (like math!)- are what make us human. Friends, family, and even those we don’t really know, crave transparency. They desire honesty. Just like you and I foolishly believe we’re the only ones who struggle, so do they. And sometimes, all it takes is admitting, “I am not perfect, but God is.”
“Sometimes, all it takes is admitting, ‘I am not perfect, but God is.’”
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. 1 John 1: 8-10
Yes. Yes. Yes. Faye, this is exactly me! As I read the first paragraph, all I could think was, “I thought I was the only one!” Thank you so much for being vulnerable and sharing your struggles, because it really helped me. What a perfect reminder this Friday–although I am far from perfect, I serve a God who always is 🙂
You are very welcome, Hailey! am so glad that you found encouragement! 🙂
What a wonderful encouraging article! I am such a perfectionist to the point that my perfectionism can be harmful to me. Thank you for writing this article. 🙂
You are welcome! Thank you for reading.
This is so me. That’s me in a nutshell. This was so helpful! Thank you Faye (:
Thank you for reading, Haven! 🙂
Thanks. I’ve been feeling anxious today about all of the things I have to do, and wasn’t sure why. It wasn’t really failing to finish the things, but (I realize now) failing to live up to this imaginary ideal of myself, that I’m afraid of.
The ideal always finishes assignments days ahead of the deadline, completes tasks in record time with a cheerfulness that is blinding, and never complains or gets depressed over how hard the things are that she has to do. She is faithful, and deserving. She is patient, grateful and kind. She doesn’t have bad days. She is consistent. She is … impossibly perfect, and she isn’t me.
This is what happens whenever I take my eyes off of Jesus, and focus on myself and my problems instead of loving others, and following Him.
We could all learn a thing or two from Mary and Martha, right? (Luke 10:41-42)
You are so right, Mallory! Trust me, it’s a DAILY learning curve for me. Some days it just seems near to impossible to keep my eyes on Jesus!
Thank you for reading. I’m so happy that you found encouragement through these words! 🙂
Thanks, and this is me. It’s hard because I mostly worry about being perfect at school. It’s hard because at school, at least for me, there’s some people who you want to be seen as different, and others who you want to be seen as yourself. In all reality it only matters what God sees me as, His child. I feel myself constantly being reminded every day of that. I should be thinking about how I’m honoring God with what I say, think, and do. Honoring God should be my top priority throughout my days, at school, and at home.
You are completely correct, Emma! Thank you for reading. I am thankful that you were encouraged! 😉
wow, this is profound! Definitely a perfectionist so this is really something for me to think about! Thank you!!
Thank you so much Liana… and thank you for reading! 🙂
Wow, I can relate. Thanks for the encouragement 🙂
You are very welcome! Thank you so much for reading! 😉
Of course! <3
So much truth to think about here. I can most definitely relate. That Rend Collective quote is fantastic! Thanks you for this beautiful piece, Faye!
Yes! I love Rend Collective… their words are always so beautiful and honest (as well as their music!). Thank you for reading, Haylie! I’m glad you were encouraged!
Wow, this really hit home for me. I am an ultra perfectionist as well and all those struggles totally relate to me. Thank you this wonderful article that really put things into perspective.