Perfectionism And What to Do With it - Hope 103.2

Perfectionism And What to Do With it

A message for the perfectionists among us... and a Biblical alternative to perfectionist thinking.

By David ReayMonday 8 Jan 2018LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 2 minutes

Read Philippians 3:12-14

12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. (NLT)

Perfectionists are very hard to live with, and they find it very hard to live with anyone else. They cannot accept that earth is not heaven, or that they or anyone else is only human. They find it hard to accept that our institutions are not always reliable or honest, or that the world is infected with injustice and corruption.

Whereas others lament such realities and even try to alleviate them, a perfectionist will become overwhelmed with them and become frustrated and even bitter. If we expect perfection of ourselves or others we will never be satisfied and will fail to appreciate what might be good about ourselves or others. If we condemn the world for not being as it ought to be, we will miss out on the traces of beauty and goodness placed there by the common grace of God.

To expect perfection of anyone other than God is to crush them. To expect perfection of ourselves is to condemn ourselves to constant dissatisfaction with ourselves and a draining of any joy out of our lives.

Best to follow the example of Paul who admitted he was not perfect. And yet who said he pressed on to become more mature. And yet who was assured that one day he would be perfect. None of us is as he or she should be. But we can seek the help of God to be on the way to what is an assured goal. Give up trying to be a model of perfection. Aim instead to be a model of growth.

David Reay