Monday, November 23, 2015

Perfectionism: Why are we so caught up in being perfect?

Definition of Perfectionism:
Perfectionism is refusal to accept any standard short of perfection.  A doctrine holding that religious, moral, social or political perfection is attainable, especially the theory that human moral or spiritual perfection should be or has been attained.

As a recovering perfectionist, I was asking myself, why do I get so caught up in being perfect?  The definition above says it is impossible to be perfect yet something deep within me drives these thoughts.  Pursuing perfection only pushes me into a vicious cycle that leads me down a path of destruction.  This pursuit leaves me feeling like a failure, frustrated, depressed, inadequate and unworthy.  Because I feel this way, it causes me to retreat, isolate myself, give up, engage in self harming behaviors and ruminate on what I could have done better.  Anybody with me?

Where does it say in God’s word that we have to be a certain body size or shape?  Where does it say we have to have a clean house?  Where does it say that we have to please everyone around us?  Where does it say we have to do everything right?  Where does it say we have to be the perfect wife, the perfect mother, have the perfect body, have the perfect house, the perfect kids?  God doesn’t call us to perfection.  HE calls us to Him. 

When we get stuck in that vicious cycle, we need to remember who God says we are: beloved, forgiven, redeemed, chosen, loved, holy, accepted, precious, a masterpiece, and worth dying for...

So why are we so caught up in being perfect? 
1. It's measurable: It allows us to judge how we are doing whereas love and grace are immeasurable.
2. Because perfect means that everything is good.  But life isn’t perfect. Its messy.  But if we are focused on this futuristic unattainable goal, we can’t live in the present.
a.     It makes our present imperfections become more pronounced
b.     It makes us feel like we are constantly failing, not measuring up
c.      It makes us feel like our wheels are spinning because we aren’t making progress
3. Because Jesus was perfect.  If we are going to be like Jesus then we have to be perfect, right? Wrong. Yes Jesus was perfect but does God demand perfection from us? NO. God doesn’t ask us to be perfect or to pursue perfection, He asks us to pursue Him.Through our pursuit of Him, He will make us more like Christ (more perfect). ONLY God can do the work

Example: If your child painted you a picture and she holds it up to you with a big smile and says “Mommy look what I made!”  Would you say—"that is terrible.  You didn’t even stay in the lines. Since when is a turtle purple? Y ou spelled your name wrong and some of the letters are backwards." NEVER!  You take delight in the picture they made for you.  You celebrate their effort.  You thank them and give them a hug.  Do you expect a 4 year old to color perfectly?  NO.  Just like I don’t expect perfection from my children, neither does our heavenly Father expect perfection from us. 

Reflect on these verses:
Romans 3:23 “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” 
God knows we aren’t perfect.  He knows we are going to sin.  But He doesn’t give up on us.  

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do”.  
Who prepared the works?  GOD!  Not us.  If we are pursuing the things we think will make us perfect, we are off track.  We must pursue the things God has for us.

Philippians 3:14  “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus”. 
Just like a 4 year old child grows and continues to learn and practice coloring, their skills are going to improve.  If we don’t keep growing and pursuing God our skills will remain stagnant as well. 
Pursue God.  

Beloved, if becoming perfect means becoming more like Christ, then are we really in pursuit of perfection if we are pursuing things of the world and not the things of God? 

Zechariah 1:3 "‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,"