Do you deal with perfectionism? It can be a sneaky thing that creeps up on you with different names. I never saw myself as a perfectionist because my coping mechanism a/k/a flesh pattern is to quit, give up and withdraw. My belief system was I can never do anything right so why even try. So how could I be a perfectionist?
Well, first of all I’m not a perfectionist and neither are you, if you are in the family of God. You are a Holy, Righteous Child of God. God did tell us in the Sermon on the Mount to be perfect as our Heavenly Father in heaven is perfect, so what’s that about? If you don’t understand the difference in the Old Covenant and the New Covenant you can easily misunderstand the Bible. In the gospels, Jesus was speaking to people under the Old Covenant. He was trying to show them their need for a Savior and that they could not become righteous using their own resources. Do you remember the stories in the Old Testament? Just give us a king, that’s all we need! Ten Commandments are not enough, give us more. Did you know there are 600 laws in the Old Testament? The Pharisee’s really thought they had arrived and that they were the cream of the crop. That’s why Jesus said, “If Moses said do not commit adultery, I say if you even look at a woman with lust you have committed adultery.” He was trying to show them it was a heart issue, not a behavioral issue. Perfection and righteousness is a gift that can only be received from Jesus. Romans 5:17…those who received the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life!
This weekend we had another phenomenal ladies retreat. I was speaking twice and had prepared for hours. For some reason, God has been working in my life in some interesting ways. The past three times I accepted an invitation to speak, I never end up sharing what I had on the paper in front of me. I don’t like that! So, this weekend I prepared before I left home. However, on Saturday night I felt strongly impressed to share something different. And to be honest, I argued with God before I got up there. So, after I spoke, I went to my room and started looking over my notes for the next morning. Here was my prayer: “God, please give me an outline I can follow. Please let me feel confident in what I’m going to share in the morning.” What do you think happened when I shared?
You guessed it. Not only did the topic get switched but my computer started giving me problems and the clock seemed to be speeding by. I could not believe it when I looked at the clock and it was already close to 11:00 which was our ending time. There was no doubt that God had me share what HE wanted me to share from the response in the room. So fast forward a couple of hours and I’m riding home with my friend, Donna. I cannot even remember what I shared! God began opening my eyes to the fact that if I could remember I would be going over my check list making sure I did it all correct with extreme perfection. Ya’ll THAT IS BONDAGE! God was freeing me from perfectionistic coping skills. It was a gift. But sometimes a gift does not feel like a gift. It can feel very uncomfortable.
Do you know what this is really about? It’s about trust and identity. The very things I’ve been teaching for years. I always wish everyone could understand how real God is and how interactive he really is in our lives. I’ve been teaching people for years that your identity does not come from your behavior but comes from birth in the family God. I’ve been teaching people your righteousness (being right, having worth) does not come from performance but is a gift. I knew God was trying to get me to trust him on a different level when I spoke. But I didn’t realize my worth was still getting caught up in it but when you can’t bear failure it is a red flag. I sometimes forget the truth and still think perfect performance makes me okay. Thank you, Lord, for ALWAYS working on me, and opening my eyes to more and more truth. Thank you for loving me enough to let me feel uncomfortable at times so I can grow in my faith. Thank you, Lord, that you are the great physician who performs surgeries with great precision and skill, and then you pour on the healing so we can live from a whole heart.
So if you deal with perfectionistic tendencies, will you ask God to take you to the root of where it started? I promise you he will do it. And HE can help you (sometimes with a friend or counselor) discover a way to repent (change your mind and think differently) and to heal from any wound that caused you to believe lies and wear yourself out performing. I hope this helps you as much as it has helped me.
And guess what? To prove my point, I’m not going to have my dear friend edit this before I post it. I’m going to send it out this time with possible errors in grammar or spelling. Because I don’t have to present a perfect blog; I just have to bask in my perfect God who has given me true perfection straight from my Jesus.