“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)
Would you consider yourself to be a perfectionist?
Perfectionism may seem harmless. In fact, it may seem like a good quality to have. After all, isn’t it good to strive to be perfect?
Unfortunately, perfectionism has the potential to negatively impact our faith in Christ. When we have a perfectionist attitude, we set ourselves up for disappointment. We hold ourselves to high standards that are impossible to attain.
Perfectionism is a vicious cycle. Even when we do meet our own standards, it is never enough. There is always something else to complete, and there is always something else to worry about.
As Christians, we aren’t called to achieve. In fact, we are called to acknowledge our need for Christ and make ourselves available for Him to work in us. Philippians 1:6 says, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
When we are consumed by perfectionism, we rely on our own strength. Our greatest fear is falling short and disappointing ourselves or others. In addition, we often hold ourselves back from beginning new things, because we feel as though we must wait for the perfect circumstance.
Perfectionism also hurts the relationships we have with one another, because we tend to hold others to the standards to which we hold ourselves. This, too, only leads to disappointment, because we cannot meet the perfect expectations of one another.
The only one we can truly put our hope and expectation in is Christ. Isaiah 40:31 says, “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” We can rest in the work of Christ that was already completed on the cross.
Being a perfectionist can also lead you down the dangerous path of finding your identity in your accomplishments. However, we are called to find our identity in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
We can find comfort in knowing that God is transforming us and making us more like Him. We do not have to do this work ourselves, but rather allow God to make us new again.
Overcoming perfectionism is challenging, but I encourage you to remember that God is bigger than your fear of falling short. Rely on His strength alone and allow Him to work in your life. You will be amazed at what God can do when you truly let go and submit to His perfect plan.
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