I am a perfectionist or more correctly I am a discouraged perfectionist. If I am not able to do something correctly the first time, I am easily discouraged and give up or sometimes I won’t even try at all because what is the point in trying when I know that I’m going to mess it up?
Being a perfectionist has its good points. You set high standards for yourself and others. You care about the work you do and try to do your best in all you do.
But being a perfectionist also has its bad points. It can make you judgmental and critical. You try to “earn” your way in relationships and it frequently backfires. You try to convince yourself that you don’t need God because you are “good enough” and can make it to heaven on your own merits. Or you become discouraged because you can’t do everything perfectly so you stop trying to do anything.
Letting go of perfection is something that I have been working on for years. (Okay, my whole life. ;-P) I remember becoming easily upset and embarrassed when I would answer a question wrong in class so I stopped answering even if I knew the correct answer. I remember wanting to join the volleyball team in junior high school but deciding not to join because I didn’t think I would be good enough and I didn’t want to embarrass myself. I tried to be the “perfect” daughter, the “perfect” student, etc and when I couldn’t be, I just gave up.
And after all these years I think that I have finally found the key to letting go of perfectionism.
Grace, sweet refreshing grace
When we allow God’s grace to flow through our lives, we are able to let go of being perfect. We no longer need to strive for perfection because through God’s grace we are enough. We are able to start seeing ourselves through His eyes and able to extend grace to ourselves and to others.
When we let go of perfection and cling to grace, then we allow God to work in our lives to sanctify us and make us holy. As God sanctifies us, our hearts change and we are able to extend even more grace. We become who we are meant to be and our hearts become more like Christ’s.
And I don’t know about you, but I want a heart like Christ’s.
Let go of perfection. Cling to grace and let God sanctify you.