Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 1:26-31
“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor.”
~ Anne Lamott
I am a recovering perfectionist. I really really really want to be Supermom. I am so bummed and utterly devastated every time I realize I’m not.
To me, it feels like striving for perfection is positive quality to possess. Aiming for excellence is a good thing. However, I have learned that perfectionism is a curse, not an attribute. The more I think about it, the more I realize my perfectionism is actually rebellion against God.
God is the only perfect being in the universe. Everyone else has been created by Him for His glory. Satan’s desire from the beginning has been to be like God. His envy of God and subsequent self-exaltation is what got him kicked out of God’s court in the first place (Isaiah 14:12-15). Satan’s goal is to manipulate us to follow him instead of God. We become a reflection of who we choose to follow. Being frustrated and angry that I can’t be perfect is a reflection of Satan, not a pious or holy desire.
Our frustration at our own inadequacies is yet another of Satan’s lies designed to trap us in a pit of self-condemnation. That voice in your head that tells you, “You aren’t good enough. You can’t do this. You’re a failure.” That’s never God’s voice. Don’t listen to it.
Shut it down and replace it with God’s truth. “I failed, but I am not a failure. I am a beloved child of God. My Father loves me unconditionally in spite of my inadequacies. He will complete the good work He started in me and His joy will strengthen me to keep pressing forward.”
We were made to glorify God, not ourselves (Is 43:7). The desire for perfection is really ungodly pride that craves self-glorification. Anything that is perfected in me is the result of God’s work in my life, not my own effort and self-will. We are not perfect while we live on this earth, but God’s love is made perfect in us (1 John 4:17).
My weakness is actually a gift. It’s what drives me to closer fellowship with God. My inadequacies force me to lean on His all-sufficiency. In fact, I believe God intentionally designed us with weaknesses in order to motivate us to seek Him out, so He could provide what He longs to give when we ask for it.
God loves to use small, foolish, lowly, uneducated, weak, and imperfect people to do His work in this world (1 Cor 1:27-28). When God works through me in spite of my weakness He will get the glory. No one will be able to credit any success I have to my ability. It is through my weaknesses, not my strengths, that God uses me to minister to others.
So don’t waste any more energy beating yourself up. God hasn’t forgotten that He made us out of dirt. (Psalm 103:14) He doesn’t expect perfection from you. Don’t demand it from yourself.
Who are we to set a higher standard for ourselves and others that God Almighty Himself does not require of us?
Know that you are wonderfully and exquisitely made just as you are (Psalm 139:14). God designed you the way He wants you to be for the purposes He has in mind for you. You are not perfect, but you are perfectly designed for what God wants to do in and through you. God never makes mistakes.
He is perfect.
Father, forgive me for all the times I am dissatisfied with how you have created me and for being discouraged, frustrated, and impatient with the work you are doing in me. Reveal to me the reason you created me. What was I born to do? Grow me to bear fruit for your splendor. Help me to stop obsessing about what I’m not good at and instead focus on the purpose for which you designed me. May I live my life to give you glory.
In the name of Jesus, the only perfect man, Amen.
“Even Then” by Nicole Nordeman
To read other posts in this series, click the image below.