The perfectionist pressure they put on themselves has created such a diluted focus in their life that a self-loathing state is the only comfort they can find–even though it is a false peace. They have high standards – people admire them, but they stand at a distance, because they are often scared to let anyone in. Perfectionists push people away, making others feel they are not good enough.
Fear of Making Mistakes
Fear coming out of insecurity is one of the biggest driving forces in a perfectionists life. Underneath the high standards and drivenness is someone who is deeply afraid; afraid of failure and afraid that you will see their brokenness. For you to see their flaws would be their worst nightmare.
Fear of making a mistake is a big one here, which usually comes from how we were raised. Fear of failure is THE driving force to many “successful” people in ministry and business. Although showing the outward signs of success, they are often rotting inside while losing the value of whole relationships in the name of making a name for themselves.
Fear coming out of abandonment will drive a perfectionist mindset. – we feel we are on our own in the journey. If its to be, its all up to me. Its all on me. No one is gonna help me–fine I will do this all on my own. But if this doesn’t work out, its all because of me. There becomes a withdrawal of relationship. In addition there is no allowance for weakness, vulnerability and the need for others. Control becomes a dominant driving force.
Self-Righteousness and Pride
The truth is, Christians who are afraid of making mistakes can become very self-focused and self-afraid. They can also develop a focus on self- righteousness and not on the righteousness of God in Christ. They have not processed how God sees them through the cross of Christ. They are looking to self as a source and evaluating life from the lens of self. They are trying to please God in the same way they were trained to please their earthly parents, in performance. Yet our understanding and practice of perfection is totally different from God’s as it pertains to His people.
As far as man’s abilities and upright living, Job was perfect. He wasn’t sinless, but he walked with a ton of integrity. During his days, Job served God out of his conscious. Job lived long before the law, so he had no Bible and no Christian books to draw from. All he had was a conscious that believed there was a God and he served God out of his conscious. (This is important to understand when gleaning from Job’s story.) Job certainly had spiritual vulnerabilities and flaws, but he was considered blameless and full of integrity overall.
He was about as perfect as men could get. Yet he had his fears and self-righteous pride. But in feeling too perfect, he had no mistakes to draw from. Without mistakes, Job really did not know God very well. Once God granted the devil freedom to attack Job in his weak areas, especially his fear door point, Job’s hidden mistakes were revealed.
Immediately Job’s reaction was to focus on himself and his self- righteousness. When we are in trials, we can became defensive, which is often an outgrowth of pride.
If you are defensive about yourself, even the very thought of making a mistake becomes a bondage to you. Those who are secure in their frailty and vulnerability are not thrown off course when their issues are noticed or revealed. Mistakes are part of our journey and we will continue to make mistakes. There must be room that we make for this in our lives, or self versus self bondage and self-conflict will rule us.
How Do You See Your Imperfections?
In fact, this may scare some, but there will even be some sin issues that you may battle with until the day you die. That is not a sentence, because in Christ, freedom from any sin battle is more than possible. Yet we all have certain unperfected areas that will be not be completely sanctified at our death bed. Is God OK with this? Of course He is.
Because of Christ, there is a beautiful covering of grace over us, giving us the room to walk out our freedom. The key is not how perfect you are. The key is, what is your attitude towards sin? Do you hate it? It’s not how sinless you are, but do you hate every sin area that seeks to manifest in your life? If so, you are probably in the right place.
In addition, have you received the perfection of Christ as your robe to wear? Have you received the fact that God accepts you in Christ Jesus as righteous, even though you have not been perfected fully in your life? Can you accept that God sees you in Christ as perfect, even though you are still in a faith journey of being perfected? Can you accept the fact that God is content to walk with you from glory to glory in relationship, to grow you up as a son or daughter of Father God? Can you accept the fact that you have not arrived, but you are in process each day? Perfectionism wont let you be content in these revelations.
Perfectionism and Disease
Living as a perfectionist, you can be sure some patterns will follow you and certain diseases will find their way into your life. Perfectionists can suffer anxiety, stress and even panic attacks. They will struggle with low self- esteem and insecurity. Perfectionism is a risk factor for obsessive compulsive personality disorder, eating disorders, social anxiety, social phobia, body dysmorphic disorder, workaholism, self harm, substance abuse, and clinical depression. The subtle torment these perfectionism chains often bring can be debilitating if not remedied in God’s freedom.
Perfectionism creates a heavy weight on our minds and our physiology, leading to chronic stress. Perfectionist carry a tension that will deeply affect the spiritual and physical heart. Heart disease can certainly develop from the inward tension and hostility, along with the daily stress pressure. Perfectionists are also clear candidates to becoming vulnerable to cardiovascular issues like high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Trying to be perfect for a loved one or a parent can lead to issues like chronic fatigue syndrome. It can also develop what we often call “false burden bearing.” an issue that certainly breaks down the body’s ability to maintain wholeness and peace.
Perfectionism manifests stress-pressure, brought on internally in thought or by others around. Funny thing is that the stress release can actually create a burst or a rush of energy. Many people can become addicted to this stress rush and become trained to live daily in a rush of tension. This stress driven lifestyle that leaves us vulnerable to the consequences day and night. Living in perfectionism, you cannot be at rest, which means your body will suffer the consequences.
Self-Accusation, Condemnation and Guilt
Perfectionists are constantly uneasy within, because they are conflicted in their inner thought word. They are rarely at peace. When things slow down, they don’t know what to do with themselves, because they are so used the constant noise that is going on in their heart and mind. One of the biggest reasons is they are constantly in conflict with themselves. They are super aware of everything that is wrong with themselves and constantly finding things to be critical about.
To understand this with spiritual eyes, you must realize that we are never in battle with ourselves. Self-conflict is a setup by the enemy. Ephesians 6 says “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood.” What is flesh and blood? Another human being. That means you do not battle anyone around you, but you battle an invisible enemy over which thought system will win over. This also means you are not an enemy to yourself. Some people say, “I am my own worst enemy.” They have just given into one of the most destructive lies, setting themselves up for a world of conflict. Meanwhile the enemy is walking away laughing as he keeps himself hidden from view.
The enemy is subtle and sly about this when it comes to getting accusing thoughts, especially thoughts that are self-accusing and condemning. The accuser of the brethren releases an accusing thought as thought it is your own-it will sound like the thought had an origin in your own thinking. If not taken captive, you will struggle with a world of self versus self–where you never take peace with your life, your role and your actions. You become prone to constantly second guessing yourself, always anticipating the worst, guilt ridden decisions and fear pressure all the time.
Satan is a legalist, so when he comes he projects thoughts that accuse you with “facts.” They are legalistic statements about your past, your weakness and your battles, with the hopes that you will lose your confidence and attempt to work your way into higher standing with more performance and drivenness.
A major part of breaking through this is to recognize the source of your self vs self thoughts; those thoughts that produce guilt, shame, accusation, unworthiness and performance pressure on you. See your enemy for who he is, a defeated foe that is trying to accuse you into trying to perfect in striving and performance. Begin to come out of agreement and take your peace back. The pressure has to be unloaded, because if Jesus Christ died on the cross so that you would still have to live with unrelenting performance and perfectionism standards, then what’s the point? We mind as well go back to the law and live that way. Its insanity. But we give into this counterfeit mindset all the time.
We cannot emphasize this enough–God is content to walk with you in process and to grow you from glory to glory. Perfectionism won’t receive God’s strength because we are driven into our own strength, the inward demands and the constant pressure. When we enter into His rest (Heb 4) we develop a new pace to take our peace and to lay down this heavy weight that binds.
We have given the chains of perfectionism some thorough examination. Now we need to come to terms with how to become free from this prison.
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