In my Bible study last night we talked about perfection – namely, how we will never be perfect here in this life. And then this morning I read a devotional by Oswald Chambers that said,
“Christian perfection is not, and never can be, human perfection.”
Being a recovering perfectionist myself, I find a lot of comfort in this idea. Because over the years I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself to perform at the highest level in every area, all the time. As I’ve said before, I have a habit of making big plans that usually include a spectacular result.
The problem with goals like those, besides being exhausting, is that they are an illusion. For example, I based my dreams for housekeeping and physical attractiveness on pictures I saw in magazines. And those images have to be airbrushed and enhanced themselves to look perfect!
And why was I trying so hard to be perfect, anyway? Well, honestly, a lot of my motivation was impressing other people. I wanted to earn their attention and praise – the struggle would be worthwhile if I heard “oohs” and “ahs.” The funny thing was, I never felt satisfied even if I got them.
That’s one of the terrible things about reaching for worldly perfection. No amount of achievement or positive feedback ever really feels like enough. There’s always another room to straighten up, or another workout to do. And the cheers that you hear from others fade pretty quickly.
I’ve tried many times to simply ignore the drive to be perfect. I’ve told myself to be content with doing “my best.” But I think the drive is just part of who I am. The cure is to change what I’m driving for. And that’s where my faith comes in.
Chambers goes on to clarify what perfectionism should be for believers:
“Christian perfection is the perfection of a relationship to God…”
Do you see the shift? I need to give up striving to impress people (or myself), and reach for a deeper connection to God. And even that is not all up to me – God meets me where I am, and does the work to bring me closer to Him, to make me perfect in Christ. The more I take hold of that truth, the less my human perfection matters!