Monday, Dan Blanchard (Christian Counselor, Friend and all-around cool guy) shared his thoughts on Perfectionism from a therapist’s perspecitve.
Here is the balance of his thoughts.
Thanks again, Dan, for sharing your wisdom on God Speaks Today.
Perfectionism is Faith in the Wrong God: Me
Someone says: “Well, that’s a little harsh.” You’re right. But it’s no less true. Perfectionism is living in ultimate denial: that I as a deeply flawed, emotionally broken, spiritually fallen soul can be my own savior.
It is what even secular psychologists refer to as “a Jehovah Complex:” that I am so good and know so much that
1) I have no need for growth or improvement and
2) everyone else does.
God replies: “Oh, really?” Hear the Word on this: anyone who tries to live by his own effort, independent of God, is doomed to failure. Scripture backs this up: “Utterly cursed is every person who fails to carry out every detail written in the Book of the law” (Galatians 3:10, The Message). Does anyone seriously believe that he or she can do every last detail of every last doctrine of God’s will perfectly?? It’s an absolutely absurd way of thinking.
And it’s a relationship destroyer.
Perfectionism is the by-product of love withheld or conditional love combined with unrealistic expectations. It produces a highly insecure human being who believes she’s never good enough or that she’ll never measure up. And, in spite of her best intentions, she finds herself holding others in her life to the same impossible standard. It alienates parent from child and erodes intimacy between wives and their husbands.
Understand that there is but One truly perfect Being in the Universe
…and you are not Him
The Bible still reminds us of a haunting human truth: “As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one.” (Rom 3:10, NIV).
Another translation is even more dismal in its assessment of us: “No one is acceptable to God.” (CEV)
That mysterious writer, Anonymous, has observed, “No one is perfect; that’s why pencils have erasers.”
In other words, there is no possibility of moral flawlessness. No such thing as faultlessness.
This is our fallen human condition. To believe and act otherwise is the ultimate exercise in futility. Therefore, in all of our efforts, even the very best of what we have to offer, there may be success, there may be achievement, even peak moments, but not perfection. None of us is state-of-the-art. None of us have “arrived” in any area of our lives. (Philippians 3:12-13)
The church is not an elite country club for the morally flawless; it’s an ICU for the spiritually sick.
So take a deep breath. And exhale. Embrace this emancipating and energizing truth: Jesus came and lived a perfect life—so you and I would not have to!
“…We have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
God’s grace means that we are accepted already, just as we are, imperfections and all, because of the cross.
And when you accept this fully, you will shed the crushing weight of years, even decades, of accumulated self-imposed unrealistic expectations. And then your life—and relationships—can begin again, fresh and new.
“Never let ’em see you when you’re breaking
Never let ’em see you when you fall
That’s how we live and that’s how we try
Tell the world you’ve got it all together
Never let them see what’s underneath
Cover it up with a crooked smile
But it only lasts for a little while
There’s no such thing as perfect people
There’s no such thing as a perfect life
So come as you are, broken and scared
Lift up your heart and be amazed
And be changed by a perfect God
Suddenly it’s like a weight is lifted
When you hear the words that you are loved
He knows where you are and where you’ve been
And you never have to go there again.”
Natalie Grant © 2009