I have been challenged by my dearest God to abandon my addiction to perfectionism. First of all let us make this clear; there is a difference between the pleasant Spirit motivated effort to become who Christ made you to be and the dreadful, life-draining pursuit of having everything perfect in your life, including yourself. The latter, hereon referred to as perfectionism, can manifest in many aspects of your life, like how you go about with your imperfect children, how you respond to your mistakes, how you keep your house so clean and freak out if anything spills on the floor to spending hours on your outward appearance before facing the world. It can lead to obsessive compulsive behaviour and in the end it can consume you, always thinking about everything that still needs to be fixed, never thinking about the things the Word urges us to think about (Phil. 4v8: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.)
Striving towards being the person God intended for you to be, is a peaceful journey, not easy, in fact it can be more challenging to address the imperfections the Holy Spirit reveals to you, but because it is revealed with so much love and hope, you feel inspired to change and you feel capable, because you know you have the trinity backing you. It starts with God, who loves you unconditionally. It enables you to calmly respond to the Holy Spirit’s unction because you are rooted in unconditional love, love that has surrounded you while you were still walking around with this flaw, Love that will carry you through as you address this flaw and Love that will not increase or decrease depending on how you react to this revelation from the Holy Spirit. Then you have Christ, Oh how glorious! Christ who has taken the burden of sin upon Himself so that you can know that this flaw, this imperfection is covered by the blood of the Lamb. Christ who conquered death and because we died and rose again with Him, we can also declare victory over death, over this imperfection. Christ has overcome it all for us long before we were even born. And then the Holy Spirit, the helper sent to us. The Holy Spirit who knows the depths of our souls and labours alongside us as we tackle this imperfection. He gives us strength, shows us the truth, encourages us and finally gives us a glimpse of the Glory that is to come; Coll. 3v4: “When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” and” Rom. 8v18 “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
I find that, in my own life and with others as well, that we would rather be perfectionists and become legalistic, focusing on the outward appearance of our faith than tackling the real sins who keep us tied up because it is the easy way to ‘feel holy’ although Christ strongly speaks against this (Matt. 23v27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.”)
If any of this speaks to you, I want to encourage you with the following verse: 2 Cor. 12v19: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” and concerning God’s acceptance of you; Acts 15v8: “God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us.” When you feel overwhelmed by all the things you still thinks need fixing and you wonder if you will ever be perfect; James 1v3-5: “knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. and let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.…”
Rest now, Child of God, rest in the knowledge that God sees you in Christ who is perfect, He accepts you right now and will accept you forever. Rest in the knowledge that no one can condemn you because of your shortcomings, bringing about only feelings of guilt and hopelessness. The Holy Spirit is the only one who can convict you and He only does that when it is the right time to address the issue He brings to your attention, when He knows you are able to deal with it and grow into the fullness of Christ. (note: He can use people to make you aware of something that needs to be addressed, but even so, it will still be done in love and hope)Matt. 11v29-30 encourages us to rather pursue God’s divine walk with us: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Leave your perfectionism behind, for it enslaves you and God has set you free; Gal 5v1: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
For those of you who haven’t accepted Christ as your saviour, I hope this blog post will show you that there is rest in Christ and deliverance from the never-ending chase for everything to be perfect, if you would only surrender all to Him.