Are you a perfectionist? Some see this as a completely admirable trait. Many fail to see the long term dangers that perfectionistic tendencies can have on our health, our wholeness and our relationships.
Dictionary.com defines the struggle of perfectionism as a personal standard, attitude, or philosophy that demands perfection and rejects anything less.
Here are some common characteristics that are indicators of this battle with perfectionism. Exposing this battleground is necessary to gain further freedom.
- Do you often avoid trying new things because you do not want others to see that you are not good at them?
- Do you usually think you should have done things better?
- Do you put things off because it will take too much time to do them perfectly? Like it says in Ecclesiastes 11:4 “Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap” (NIV). In other words, do you procrastinate because you are too busy observing all the challenging and opposing factors?
- Do you put off tasks because you do not know exactly how to do them perfectly?
- Do you repeatedly re-live mistakes you have made in public?
- Do you dislike the idea that you may be just “average” in some area of your life? Do you struggle with contentment in where you are in life?
- Do you often feel guilty because you do not accomplish the things that you see others doing?
- Do you feel that you have no purpose in life unless you can make a spectacular performance or contribution in some way?
- Do you often find yourself focusing on faults in other people or in their work? Do you find yourself often focusing on what others are doing wrong?
- Do you find it hard to believe compliments because you don’t meet your own standards?
- Do you miss out on the joy of living today, because you are so busy worrying about whether you will be able to do all the things you are committed to in the future?
- Do you feel that you won’t be able to get God’s special affection until you “shape up” and meet higher standards for prayer, Bible reading, devotions, and witnessing?
- Do you feel that keeping your appearance and home immaculate is important to keeping the approval of others or maintaining a sense of peace?
- Do you have a hard time letting things go, but instead obsess over them?
Do these statements ring true for you? If you find that you answer “yes” to many of these, it is a sign that these chains have a work in your life.
The Bible calls us to grow in being perfected, where we grow day by day in Christ. But the stranglehold of perfectionism is a demonic counterfeit that steals your peace in the journey. It does not allow you or those around you to grow up in Christ. It will constantly disqualify you and find areas where you do not measure up.
The stronghold of perfectionism uses Scriptures in an accusatory way, holding you to a standard that you can never meet. It is legalistic, but very subtle, in how it condemns you for not being a “better Christian” or a “better ‘whatever.’” It repeats verses like, “be perfect as God is perfect,” “holiness unto the Lord” and “take up your cross.” Through passages like these, perfectionism accuses and condemns you. If you listen to those thoughts and try to make adjustments, you will find that freedom does not come, because you have been trying to change by listening to accusation.
Perfectionism doesn’t allow you to simply grow day by day, from glory to glory. It is a belief that work or output that is anything less than perfect is unacceptable. Perfectionists are unable to feel satisfaction and contentment because nothing ever seems to be good enough in their own eyes. They never seem to be content or satisfied in their heart. This has a lot to do with the fact that perfectionists measure their worth based on how productive they are or how much they accomplish.
Find out more about how to drive out perfectionistic tendencies in the book, “Exposing the Rejection Mindset.”
Question: What makes perfectionism a challenging pattern to break?
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