“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
Perfectionism can be really hard to face day-in and day-out. It creates trauma within oneself where there lies lack of satisfaction unless whatever is being accomplished isn't just---perfect.
Isn't that the case though? If it's not perfect then I guess I am not perfect. If it's not perfect then I guess I am not in control. If it's not perfect then I guess people will be disappointed in me. If it's not perfect then I guess I will be disappointed in myself. If I don’t act or speak perfectly then people won’t like me. The list goes on and on and on…..
If we take perfectionism as far as the paragraph above, then we are only destroying ourselves. No one is perfect. Only God is, and when we take it upon ourselves to try and be perfect then we are trying to replace God in those aspects of our lives.
Philippians 3:10-12 says:
10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
This is great because it means that the only true thing that we should try to obtain on this earth is what God has called us to in His word. God is a God of grace and love. That's hard to chew on isn't it? Grace you ask? Well, I can't give myself grace because it has to be just right. I can't give myself grace because then people will be disappointed in me. I can't give myself grace because I will be disappointed in myself.
For people who have been hurt, they might even think "If I cannot give grace to myself, why should I give grace to others?" And then there is the issue of grace being abused so often that it is hard to even believe it anymore--therefore the mindset of "it's not going to be perfect unless I do it myself".
Hebrews 4:15-16 says “15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 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.”
If we can give grace to ourselves as God gives us grace, then we can let that flow through us to others. This, I believe, can be a position to stand on when we feel the need to be perfect, or otherwise put pressure on others to be perfect. We all make mistakes but we all have the ability to stand back up and try again. At the end of the day, if we tried our best and it’s still not perfect, that’s where grace fits into the picture.
“To be perfect or not to be?” is the question of the day. God’s grace means that we are accepted already, just as we are, imperfections and all, because of the cross.
I think striving for the better you is always the best thing but nothing can be accomplished without the love and grace flowing to you from God. If you are prone to perfection like I am, I encourage you to step back and ask God which direction you should go. Because nothing is perfect, only God is.
“No one is perfect; that’s why pencils have erasers.” ~Author unknown.