Often, when God is trying to teach me something a message will appear everywhere: in what people tell me, what I read, and what I listen to. Other people have told me that God communicates to them this way as well. So when I hear a message from multiple people in multiple ways, I try to pay attention. Recently, messages like “Perfection is not possible. Quit striving for perfection, it will only disappoint you” have confused me. I didn’t understand why I was receiving this message. I am not a perfectionist. My house is not perfect. My relationships are not perfect. I spend way too much time on the internet to be striving for perfection.
I didn’t start to understand my perfectionism until my thinking was changed (which required hearing it from more than one source). The desire for perfection leads to procrastination, because we don’t think we don’t have time to do it perfectly. Then, we run out of time, and then things aren’t accomplished or barely accomplished. Then, we beat ourselves up, because we know we could have done better.
That was message I could relate to. I do have a problem with procrastination (which might explain excessive internet time). I do have a problem with criticizing myself. I don’t like to do anything that I am not confident that I can do with excellence. I haven’t pursued leadership roles, because of my lack of confidence. My house gets messy and I don’t clean it, because it will never stay clean. Last fall, I quit blogging, because my blogs didn’t look like I wanted them to, and I have wanted to quit this spring, because those same issue still exist. Of course, when conflicts arise within relationships, I want to deny responsibility for my faults. I am beginning to realize that all of these problems arise, because I want to be perfect.
I am beginning to realize that I have missed out on opportunities to be great, because of my hidden perfectionism. I am trying to stop the cycle by not criticizing my past rather to learn from my past. Criticism doesn’t make anyone better, not myself, not my husband, and not my child. No one can benefit from criticism more than they can benefit from love. (That fact is hard to remember when you are frustrated). I could act like the solution is to lower my standards or to not care so much, but I don’t think that would help. I think I have found a better mantra.
My new mantra is “Not to be perfect, but to know the one who is perfect.”
In my most recent posts, I have discussed how Satan lies to us and twists the truth. He also hides the truth from us. When God is trying to teach you, he will convince you that the lesson isn’t for you. Satan did this to me when he was telling me that I wasn’t a perfectionist.
Knowing the one who is perfect, Jesus Christ, is how we keep Satan from lying to us, and twisting God’s truth, and hiding the truth from us. Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). If we want to combat Satan’s lies, we have to realize that we cannot do this on our own. We need to come to Jesus. Determining how to make Jesus the focus of your life is how to get the abundant life that God has promised to us.