If you are a perfectionist, you already know that you hate being a “beginner” at anything. A new game or a new job or social situation is enough to send you over the edge. You fear the embarrassment of not performing perfectly or to your own standards. You fear having someone look over your shoulder in a training situation because they will see that you are not perfect and make mistakes. Even when you know that you don’t know what you are doing, and by all rights shouldn’t know what you are doing, you become angry at yourself for making errors. If someone should criticize you, you are devastated and beat yourself up inside (and sometimes outside) for not being perfect.
This is one tough way to live! We are commanded to be holy, which implies perfection but we are not commanded to be perfect.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to do a good job or with wanting to excel at something. It is even alright to want to do an excellent or superior job! However, constantly having to be the best is nothing more than pride. When being the best causes me to sin in my anger it is not a righteous goal any longer. When wanting to be better than others means I tear them down or step on them to get there, it is sinful.
To get a handle on this life-dominating sin you must be willing to be honest with yourself and to evaluate your actions and most of all evaluate your heart through the grid of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
- You must ask yourself some tough questions to get to the heart of the matter!
- Must you always look good to other people?
- Do you make excuses when you are confronted with mistakes?
- Are you defensive when confronted?
- Do you get angry with yourself thinking, “I should not make such a mistake?”
- Are you judgmental toward people who do not live up to your standards?
- Is it true that nothing is ever good enough for you? Is the glass always half empty?
- Have you become a grumbler?
- Are you ungrateful to God for all His blessings because they are not “perfect” in your judgment?
Answering questions like these is only the beginning of addressing this horrible issue. Once you understand that your perfectionism is truly a visible display of the pride in your heart you must take steps to overcome it by God’s grace and power.
Romans 12:2 tells us to be transformed or changed completely (inside and out) by the renewing of our minds. Our minds are renewed through reading and meditation on the Bible. Your thoughts will be impacted by those precious words of God’s as they weave their way into your heart. Your desires will change as your heart changes and what God wants for you becomes more important to you than being perfect is right now. Your actions will change as your desires change and your thoughts change.
This is not going to be an easy area to address in your life. You most likely have years of ingrained habits that you will have to overcome and address one at a time. You may find discouragement right around the corner as you desire to change. Please let me encourage you by reminding you that Jesus Christ died for your sins, including pride and perfectionism. There is no sin that by His power and grace you cannot overcome.