I’m a perfectionist. I would have never identified myself as such, but the more I learn I see the stark contrast between my and God’s definition of perfection. My definition of good enough and the expectations I have of myself and others, often tend to be too high. As I read, 14Signs Your Perfectionism Has Gotten Out of Control, in the Huffington Post; I started to see it more clearly.
At the root of perfectionism and control lies fear.
1Peter3:6 “…you are her daughters (Sarah’s) if you do not give way to fear.”
God never fails to bring to the surface the deep convictions that have shaped the way we see ourselves and him. In the Greek the word fear above also translates to terror. God exposes my real fear. What drives my actions is what I believe, that is my true conviction. He exposes what I really believe and aligns my convictions with his truth. My pursuit of perfection has been driven through achievement and fear of failure.
1John4:18 “There is no fear in Love. But perfect love drive out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
God defines perfection differently than I do. It’s not about my performance or earning his acceptance and love through achievement. To God, to be perfect is to be whole, mature and complete in Christ. In him, my pursuit of perfection is that of becoming more whole in Christ. Many of us know this in our heads but don't necessarily accept it in our hearts nor do our actions always demonstrate it. In my pursuit of godly perfection, I am no longer driven by a desire to achieve, by fear of failure or disappointing him and others. I am made perfect, whole, and complete in Him when I allow his love to drive out my fear. I empty myself of the fear and fill myself with God who is love. This is where the pursuit begins.
1 John 4:16-17 “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like him.”
I can rely completely on God’s love for me. I do not need to try to earn it through my performance or achievements. His love is trustworthy and that gives me confidence. It cannot be earned and there is nothing I can do to get less or more. It is whole and complete, not lacking anything. He will not take it away, even when I falter; it is constant. There isn't a mistake I can make that God cannot fix. I'm not talking about consequences of sin here, those are real, rather the decisions I chose to make and what I allow to drive me.
Pv 29:25 “Every word of God proves true. He defends all who come to him for protection.”
Psalm 122:6-7” May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.”
When I strive to be perfect by my standard I rely on myself for protection. I strive to excel and am critical of myself and therefore others. My pursuit of perfection will help me achieve a great deal, and it has, but it will not help me to have intimate relationships with God or people. Ultimately, the battle for my heart is one for where my self-worth will come from. When it comes from God I give others and myself more room to be imperfect and that is ok. Falling short when I’m walking with God does not make me any less lovable. In the sacrifice of his son, God declared me lovable.
1 John 4:4 “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
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