Excerpt from our online study: Becoming Me Through Him
I spent a lot of years wanting to look like I had it all together with the perfect little life.
Wife and mom…bible study, worship leader….I was hiding from my past by being good.
The enemy loves perfectionism because it halts our healing. A woman who struggles with shame will often use perfectionism to conceal her pain. It’s a giant wall that we hide behind, thinking it’s keeping us safe but it’s really just keeping us captive.
Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfectly, look perfectly and act perfectly, we can avoid the pain of shame and no one will know that behind that pretty church face is a scared little girl who desperately wants approval.
In the church world perfectionism can take on a few different looks:
The church lady who “lives at” the church taking care of everything from the office to the nursery and leading Bible study.
The Bible “know it all.”
The beautifully dressed woman with the perfectly manicured nails and smooth hair and the kids who look like they star in a Macy’s commercial.
The house, neat as a pin, in fact the pins even have their own special drawer…nothing is ever out of place.
The good wife or mom who leaves all other women feeling “less than” in her presence.
And I’m sure you can think of more…
Please don’t feel beat up if this is you, we are just peeling back another layer of lies…with the goal of getting free and finding out who He created us to be.
There is nothing wrong with a clean house or nice clothes, but if we are living this way because it gives us a sense of security or we want to impress others, then it is perfectionism. The question is, what drives or motivates us? What is behind our actions? Do we feel better about ourselves when we “perform” well?
“Acting” like a Christian makes you an actor. Living an honest, imperfect relationship with the Lord makes you real. When perfectionism is our game, we never really feel worthy of love because we know that we’re being fake.
We are all imperfect. But, when we see that TODAY He loves us and He believes we are worthy of love…we start to accept ourselves and we can live authentic lives and let Him redeem the broken parts.
The desire for perfection is another sign of brokenness. We think that being “perfect” will bring us comfort and happiness but nothing could be farther from the truth. It sets us up for failure, promising something that it can never give us: love and belonging.
Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” NIV
Now read it in the Message translation: Matthew 11:28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Religion has a way of pushing us to perform. Jesus did not come to bring us more religion, in fact he exposed religion for the lie that it was…
Matthew 23:27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
Jesus exposed perfectionism and called it wicked. He knew that it will only keep us from a relationship with the Father. Jesus came to show us a better way, He came to teach us about relationship not religion.
Religion is man’s best way to figure out how to perform better for God. Relationship is about family.
Having it all together on the outside while inside we’re striving for love, is empty and lonely. Let’s put perfectionism behind us ladies. We can’t be “good enough” to deserve God’s unconditional love. Unconditional =no conditions, no performance, no earning it.
I pray that the heavy weight of perfectionism is lifted off of you. Stop struggling to “get it all right” and start living. You were not created to be perfect, you were created to be His. Relationship first. Rest in Him. Let Him show you the ‘unforced rhythms of grace.’
You are loved.