“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” Matthew 5:48
Perfectionism is practically a positive word in our society, worn by many as a badge of honor. But much like magic weight loss pills, how can we know in our head that there’s no such thing, but in our heart believe it to be possible?
We know that no one is perfect. We know that no one can be perfect. So why do we strive so hard to attain this attribute? Does it make us feel better about our other dysfunctions? Or are we simply trying to distract ourselves from what would otherwise feel like emptiness?
Perfectionists have always fascinated me. I observe how they work so hard to give the appearance of having it all together–maybe it’s an obsessive amount of time in the gym, or multiple plastic surgeries.
Or perhaps it’s the insatiable need to show the world how “great” your family is: How little Timmy made high honor roll and hubby just made partner at the firm. Meanwhile, you’re praying that no one sees how insecure you feel or that anyone finds out about little Timmy’s issues and hubby’s “extra” drinking.
In the ever-growing world of social media, we are bombarded with what appears to be everyone else’s perfect life, leaving many to feel inferior and inadequate. But much like TV, we are only seeing glimpses, chosen snapshots (Photoshopped ones at that) of a person’s life.
Believe me, I have seen the years of tremendous pain, hurt and insecurity behind many “perfect” lives. I say this not to make you assume that when you see someone happy or promoted, you focus on their “other pain” instead of any feelings of inadequacy it may trigger in you. I say this because I truly long to expose this perfectionistic culture we live in today for what it is: A battle cry for self-worth.
In her book Running Nowhere in Every Direction author Karen Lee-Thorp says is this way:
“To ‘be perfect’, in the sense that Jesus means it, is to make room for growth, for the changes that bring us to maturity, to ripeness.”
Our society says “Be perfect; and if you can’t be, at least make it look like you are.” But Jesus says to make room for growth. How do we make room for growth in the midst of a phony façade? How do we make room for growth when our lives are in a tailspin?
That’s the point–we don’t. When we strive to be “perfect” the way this world would have us, it leaves us petrified. Like a deer in the headlights, fearful to make any wrong moves.
I don’t know about you, but I want to strive for growth. I want Jesus to bring me to maturity by allowing necessary changes into my life. And I recognize that means I have to lay down the badge of “perfectionism” and trust that He has more in store for me that I could possibly imagine…if I will just let go and tell my story with my whole heart. Leaving plenty of room for growth.
If you are ready to let go of perfectionism so that wonderful and holy new things can grow in your life, but aren’t sure how to proceed, I can help. Simply respond to this email and say, “Let’s talk about perfectionism.” I save room in my schedule each week for complementary coaching sessions—if this is a subject that speaks to you, claim yours today.
Kris Reece holds a Ph.D. in Christian Counseling and a Master’s Degree in Theology. As a Christian Life Coach, Personal Development Coach, Counselor, Author and practical Bible Teacher, her passion is to help others unleash to discover their potential and become everything they were created to be.