I’ve done it again. As I was elbows deep in a project at work, I found myself stopping what I was doing to make some minor adjustments to one of the columns of the form I was typing. It was not lined up perfectly. Perfectionism strikes again!!! Just when I think I have this particular problem licked, it pops up again. The problem I am running across is not so much a perfection problem, but a problem in another area, pride. Ouch! The Deadly Duo strikes again!
When I work and work to perform perfectly, 100% of the time I have to deal with the issue of pride. For as far back as I can remember I have dealt with the drive to be perfect. As a girl I was not skinny, I was not large either just kind of average. I was picked on by the skinny girls in school. I often wore my feelings on my sleeve so I guess I made an easy target. In high school, I struggled with school work. It would drive me nuts to miss a problem on a test and to miss more was heart breaking. The same girls I had dealings with in grade school followed me into high school. The pokes and prods were more subtle, but we both knew what they meant. The drive to achieve and be liked were my primary focus. I had given my life to God, yet these issues were a constant struggle. The perfection I was trying to attain was my down fall. When I did something just right, I tended to gloat over that saying to myself, “Just look what you have done!”
Please, Please do not misunderstand what I am saying. I should always strive to do my best in whatever I undertake and when something is done well it gives me a good feeling inside. On the other hand, there is also an unhealthy pride that can cause me to filled up with myself and focus only on me, me, me. My focus should not be on what I have done, but on what God has accomplished through me. My focus should always be on doing my best for God’s glory, so He will receive the praise and others will be pointed to Him. It is all about relinquishing control. Most recovering and acting perfectionists can tell the difference and can identify when pride is an issue or not. Let me share with you what God has shown me this week.
In the Word of God, we can find the answers we need to combat the sin of perfectionism and pride. While reading last week, I found a portion of Scripture that I had read before, but God opened my eyes and gave me new understanding on this familiar passage. In Galatians 3:3, we read, “Are ye so foolish having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” Paul is addressing the problem the Galatians were having with Salvation. They were trying to add to what Christ had done on the cross, and reverting back to the law rather than having and acting in faith. Verse 3 continues with this thought, and that is how I had always viewed these verses. At once, I felt God asking me “Don’t you know you are being foolish? You have trusted me for the provision of Salvation, yet you are continually trying to perform perfectly in your flesh. It is time to give up control and trust me. You don’t have to be perfect. Let me work through you and leave the results to Me.” His gentle voice went straight to my heart. I have been thinking and acting in the flesh (which is full of pride) and not in the Spirit. Maybe you are with me on this, and you struggle with this issue also. There is hope for you and me. The more I am filled up with Him; the less I am filled up with myself.
The question is “How do we combat these sins of perfectionism and pride?” As with any sin the first step is to recognize it for what it is and ask our Heavenly Father for forgiveness. When this first became an issue I did not want to recognize that this “drive to be perfect” was a sin. Pride again was rearing its ugly head. Recognition and acknowledgment is where we must begin.
Secondly, Pray, Pray, Pray! When you find yourself tempted, pray for help. God has never turned away from us when we cried out to Him and He never will. Psalm 18:6 reads, “In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.” God is waiting to hear from you. He doesn’t want you to struggle. He wants you overcome and you can through Him.
Thirdly, Search God’s Word and find Scripture that you can run to when you need it most. The following verses in Psalm 18 helped me, “As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him… It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.”(Verse 30 & 32) When we see what God can do through us, It is so much better than for us to try and do it for ourselves. His way is perfect, so we don’t have to try to be. Praise Him! God is our help, our deliverer!
Combat the deadly duo with prayer and praise. You won’t be sorry.