Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Forgotten Cause of Perfectionism

Post by
Michelle Dowell, Contributor

When people write on perfectionism and how to improve, they forget about what drives it the most, the biggest force behind it: Pride.

It's evident that the world is not perfect. People are not perfect. Even computers or machines aren't perfect. Databases and computers have corrupted data over time simply from normal use. Machines break down.

Yet the perfectionist sees the imperfections in everyday life but still demands perfection of oneself. Why? Because of a refusal to trust in what one sees and knows, because they are so focused on proving that they are worth being loved or worth something, or deserve to keep or earn certain things. The focus is very intense on themselves and no one else in moments of perfectionism.

Our purpose isn't to prove that we are perfect or can create or do things perfectly. That's impossible, but it's also impossible to earn worth. We get that from Christ. In God's sovereignty we are often where we are because of God, too. We didn't necessarily earn our jobs or family or accomplishments. We had some big part in it, but ultimately, it's God's working in our hearts and the things around us that "earns" the place we are. He brings together people. We were in the right place at the right time.

It's time to stop focusing on ourselves, how we measure up, and just let it go. It's a difficult transition, but it's a time to rejoice, too, in God's willingness to be in the messiness of life, to reach down and let us know he loves us. A time to laugh at ourselves at times and recognize our weakness means we need God most of all and others too--people have different strengths than us.
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