What Perfection Isn’t
“If ‘perfectionism’ means striving for a higher standard than mediocrity, then I don’t think it’s a problem!” commented one woman in her response to the Women Trying to Measure Up
Another suggested, “I think the current generation of young women could use a good dose of ‘perfectionism’. Too many of them are ‘like whatever’ about everything!”
A drive for excellence is not what I mean by “perfectionism.” Neither is conscientiousness or a strong work ethic.
What Perfectionism Is
Perfectionism is an unrelenting need to have everything happen perfectly. It is driven by constant criticism of self and others.
Christian comedian Ken Davis defines a perfectionist this way:
“A perfectionist is not someone who is perfect; it is someone who is miserable because they can’t get it right.”
A Textbook Case
My first “perfect” memory goes back to fourth grade, when I decided not to miss any points on my social studies worksheets all year. After the end-of-year parent-teacher conference, my mother told me that my teacher said she’d had to triple-check her math when adding up my scores because she could not believe I’d really gotten 100% all year!
Hearing what I perceived to be maternal pride in my mother’s voice, I felt an internal switch flip “ON.”
Let’s do it again, only better! I thought.
And if you’ve seen my monologue
or read my story
, you have some idea of the extremes to which Perfectionism drove me from that day on.
What a comfort and relief it is to realize that perfection is not
my job but the work of the Holy Spirit in my life! (Click to Tweet this.
So all of us who have had that veil removed
can see and reflect the glory of the Lord.
And the Lord–who is the Spirit–makes us
more and more like him
as we are changed into his glorious image.
2 Corinthians 3:18
- How do you define “perfectionism”?
- How have you seen “perfectionism” at work in your life or the life of someone you love?
- What scriptures bring you comfort and relief?
- Anything else on your heart or mind…