Are you a perfectionist? Maybe you’re questioning if you are. First, here are few ways to figure out if you might be. A.) You’re a procrastinator. Oddly enough, procrastination is a characteristic of many perfectionists. B.) You’re a black and white thinker. All or nothing. Go big or go home. If something isn’t done right, then it isn’t worth doing. You struggle to find the gray areas of life. C.) You’re constantly comparing yourself to others. D.) You’re never satisfied. E.) You’re a control freak.
If you identified with the above qualities, then congrats—you’re in good company. I’m here to explain why it’s worth giving up the fight to be perfect.
1.) Perfect is UNATTAINABLE.
There is only one person who achieved perfection, and his name is Jesus Christ. He did for us what we simply could not do for ourselves. He lived the perfect life, died, and rose again. When Jesus was raised from the dead, we too were raised to new life. As a result of Jesus’ victory, we get to take part in “his perfect” not ours. We are made whole, righteous, and blemish free not because of anything we did or could do, but by what was done for us. Striving for anything greater than that is a losing fight.
“And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,”
Hebrews 5:9 ESV
2.) Trying to be perfect drains your energy.
If you are trying to attain something that is unattainable, you’re inevitably going to find yourself physically and emotionally exhausted. When you feel like you’ve finally reached that goal, then comes along that one person who did it better than you. It never ends.
“Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,”
Isaiah 46:8-10 ESV
Perfectionism goes hand in hand with pride. It’s an idol. Whatever our primary focus becomes, is our god. There is no other God besides Him. Nothing we can gain on this earth will remotely satisfy our innate hunger for holiness. When we try to fill ourselves up with anything less than that, we feel empty.
3.) Perfectionism is unattractive.
I’ve never looked at a stereotypical perfectionist and thought, “Wow, I want to be like them!” No. Instead I think, “That person looks stressed out and miserable!” (Usually I’m looking at myself in the mirror.) The point is, perfectionism is not admirable. A desirable person to be around tries their best, admits fault, laughs it off, and learns from their mistakes.
I’ve gotten into far too many arguments because of my perfectionistic nature. They were usually a result of me being controlling, wanting everything done a specific way, and being unable to let the small stuff go. It’s much more fun to be the desirable person.
“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.”
Matthew 11:29 NIV
It’s okay to make mistakes because I’m covered in the blood of Jesus. He is gentle, and promises to teach me if I am willing to listen. There isn’t any need to put heaping amounts of pressure on myself to get everything done right the first time.
Stop trying to be perfect, and start living in grace.