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Confessions of a Perfectionist

I often compare myself to an onion. A little rough on the outside with many layers to peel back. Each layer represents a deeper layer of my perfectionism nature. Ask my children and they will tell you. As they were growing up, I often expected perfection from them. I also expected perfection from myself. I expected them to work hard to have perfect grades no matter what it cost them. I expected them to have perfect rooms without an item out of place. I held high expectations of my performance at work so I thought it was only natural for me to expect the same thing from my kids.

Is this fair? No. Was I a perfect person? NO! So how then, could I expect perfection from someone else? Perfectionism is something so many of us suffer from. We hold high expectations of ourselves and those around us. When we or they fail to meet them, we are severely disappointed and sometimes become angry. We believe the more we do and the more we accomplish, the better and more successful we will be. Why do we torture ourselves this way? Why do we hold performance and success at such high revere?

I am not perfect. You are not perfect. But, we are perfected!

  • Through the loving sacrifice of Jesus, we have been perfected. - "For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy." - Hebrews 10:14

  • If we know God, his love makes us perfect - "God abides in us and his love is perfected in us." - 1 John 4:12b

  • God has placed good works within us that we do for his glory not ours. - " being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." - Philippians 1:6

I am called to strive for perfection in Christ and for his glory, not for my own. My success should not be measured by how well I perform at my job, how well behaved my children are, how many cars I have, how large my home is. No. My success will be measured by God one day, but I can rest knowing it will have nothing to do with the clothes I wear or what I look like on the outside. It will have to do with the condition of my heart and my faith in Christ.

Perfection is not only about how well I follow Jesus in my walk with him, but more so about the condition of my heart while I walk with him. Yes, I should make every effort to be more like Jesus, who is perfect, but I should also love the Lord my God with all my heart, all my soul and all my mind (Matthew 22:37). My heart should be in the right place. If my heart is not right with God, I cannot strive for perfection. My focus should be on Jesus not on the next new thing.

My definition of perfect is not the same as it once was. Perfect is having a pure heart for Jesus and doing all I can for his Kingdom.

This is my story, what’s yours? I would love to hear from you! Click on the “Tell Me Your Story” link and know that all stories shared are done so in confidence. I may even contact you for permission to use your story as a featured post in the future! Inspire others with your story!