Let’s begin with a little self-evaluation quiz. Consider how you’d answer these questions:
- Do you ever feel guilty when you relax, knowing you’ve got a lot to do?
- Do you often feel dissatisfied or discontent with yourself or your situation?
- Do you have a tendency to see something wrong with things rather than what’s right?
- Do you ever find yourself using these phrases regularly, “I have to… I must.. I ought to…”
- Do you ever feel frustrated or maybe even angry at God, feeling that His expectations on you are unreasonable?
- Does your relationship with God seem like a burden rather than a blessing?
If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions, you’re probably afflicted with perfectionism. Perfectionism is trying to prove my worth by being perfect. It is a counterfeit of spiritual maturity. It’s not the real thing. Perfectionism is one of the key hang ups of dedicated believers, dedicated Christians.
Scriptures – Gal 3:3, Ecc 11:4, Ecc 7:16, Ps 119:96, 1 John 3:1, 1 Peter 5:7, Eph 2:8, Matt. 11:28-30
Verse – Galatians 3:3 “You began your life in Christ by the Spirit. Now are you trying to make it complete by your own power. This is foolish.”
Thought – Your worst nag lives under your skin. If you’re typical, you are your own worst critic. Since we tend to resent and even dislike people who nag us, if you’re always nagging yourself, what’s that saying about you? You don’t like you. That’s what it’s saying. You think you’re not good enough. And you think by nagging yourself into what’s wrong with you that’s going to motivate you into doing the right thing. It’s not. That’s called perfectionism. And perfectionism causes you to constantly criticize yourself, put yourself down, demean yourself, degrade yourself and have this conversation. What is the antidote to that kind of perfectionism, because we all have it to one degree or another? It’s not found in any therapy and it’s not found in any pill. It’s not in some tape series. It’s not psychological, pull yourself up by your bootstraps type of thinking. There’s only one antidote to perfectionism: Experience the grace of God. Learn to RELAX in the grace of God.
Realize nobody’s perfect.
Enjoy God’s unconditional love.
Let God handle things
Act in faith, not in fear
eXchange my perfectionism for God’s peace
Questions – Why do you think we try so hard to be perfect? What do you think it takes to enjoy God’s unconditional love? How tough is it for you to let go and let God handle things? Can you recall a time when you acted in faith? How did that feel? Can you recall a time you acted in fear? How did that feel? Where do you need God’s peace in your life today?
Response – God is perfect and because God is perfect, He expects His children to be perfect. Jesus even said it. He said, “Be ye perfect even as I am perfect.” But He also knows there’s no chance you’re going to be perfect. He knows that’s impossible. So He came up with grace. That’s why God sent Jesus, because Jesus was perfect. And we get in on His perfection. You can either try all you want to, or you can just accept the perfection of Christ and say, “Let me in on His ticket.”
Prayer – Dear God, I need Your grace. I realize I’m not perfect. In fact, I’m far from it. But I want to enjoy Your unconditional love. Thank You for Your grace. I put my trust in Your grace today. I ask You to make me a part of Your family. Make me Your child, not because I deserve it but because of Your unconditional love. Help me to believe that You’re for me and not against me. Help me to let You handle things in my life, to relax and to cast my cares and anxiety on You. Lord, I know from today that it’s just putting my faith in Your grace that saves me and so I do that. But I also ask You to help me put my faith in Your grace to live the life that You meant for me to live. I am tired and I am worn out, but I come to You today. Help me to learn the unforced rhythms of grace. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.