Do you struggle with perfectionism? Are you able to be transparent and share with others that your life isn’t picture perfect?
When I was in high school, I had quotes and signs all over my room. Two signs I made said:
Nobody is perfect, but that is no excuse!
Practice makes improvement.
For years upon years, I lived my life trying to achieve the best. I would practice extra hours on the track. I would redo and rewrite papers and projects as much as needed until I had my projects and papers as close to perfect as I could get. I remember in college one of my professors commenting that I should have turned in my first draft instead of the 5th, because it would have worked too.
Part of me was doing it because I love a challenge and knew I could do better. The other part was doing it out of fear of failure. We need to distinguish what drives our need for perfection and take hold of it, if the root cause lies in fear and not love.
Now, I’m not saying that we should not try our best, but I’ve learned that we can waste a lot of time trying to be perfect.
What are we afraid of?
Sometimes, trying to reach perfection keeps us from taking action! It causes us to freeze in fear of messing up. What exactly are we afraid of if we do mess up?
- Doing it wrong?
- Feeling like we might be ridiculed?
- Feeling that we won’t be valuable?
- Believing God’s grace is insufficient for us?
- Thinking that we won’t be trusted if we can’t get it right?
We are called to live like we are loved not like we are perfect!
If we live in fear of messing up and not being perfect then we are like the one who was given a talent and instead of doing anything with it, hid it in the ground! He made no profit, didn’t even try. Instead, he did absolutely nothing productive. He froze in fear.
When the master returned to find that he didn’t even try to do anything with it, he was punished.
He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
We should never allow fear of imperfection keep us from working in God’s kingdom. God has put us right where we need to be, has given us access to what we need to accomplish the goals He has set before us, and doesn’t ask us to rely on ourselves. Instead, the Lord asks us to rely on Him. He will get us through any situation and will even use our weaknesses to bring about his glory.
Are you willing?
Are you willing to allow God to use your weakness or are you too scared to show others that you have any?
When we mask our weaknesses, we are not only being deceitful but we are hindering God from using them for his glory. Satan then can use this to make others feel alone, like they are the only ones having to fight this battle. Here’s the truth: You are not going through anything that someone else has not already gone through! You are not alone in your weakness!
But [the Lord] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
– The Lord to Paul, 2 Corinthians 12:9
Christ died for our imperfections.
Let’s not pretend like we don’t have any. And let us be gracious as we see the imperfections of others.
I still believe practice makes improvement and that we are not all perfect. But I am trying to no longer waste time in achieving absolute perfection. Not everything needs to be 100% perfect. Sometimes, we need to just do our best, not stress over potential failure, and trust that the Lord can use any weakness we have for his glory!
Every time I hear this song by Hawk Nelson called Live Like You’re Loved, I double check myself and see if I’m wasting time running after perfection because of fear. Are you ready to get rid of the picture perfect life?