Perfectionism by Sammi Whitwell

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“Perfectionism is the art of never being satisfied.” – Unknown.

Do you ever encounter something from your past that humbles you quickly? I recently rediscovered a journal entry I wrote last year during a mini quarter-life crisis moment where I felt so unhappy and discouraged with my life that I was almost paralyzed with fear. I’ll be candid… it wasn’t pretty. (The journal entry or that moment in time!)

I’ve always struggled with perfectionism. I have a strong, innate desire to be correct and to do things perfectly, and this journal entry came from a moment in my life when I felt like I couldn’t do anything right. But that wasn’t the reason why I felt dissatisfied. The real problem was that I had fallen back into believing the lie that I had to be perfect or do things perfectly before I could follow Jesus.

Here’s a confession: sometimes, if I know I can’t do something perfectly, I won’t do it at all… How many amazing things have I missed out on because I was just too afraid to mess up? Thank you, Lord, for the grace of Jesus, am I right?!

Here is a verse that speaks so deeply to my perfectionistic heart that I get chills every time I read it: But the Lord said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Whoa. Read that again out loud. For so long, I had it all backwards. I thought once I was strong and perfect, then God could use me. The truth is just the opposite. God calls and uses the weak, and through Jesus, we are refined. God’s power is actually perfected through my anxiety. Through my pride. Through my desire for control. His power is perfected through broken marriages. Through fragmented families. Through addiction.

Because the things that hinder us don’t hinder Him.

His power is perfected through all the ways He can use our brokenness for His glory. Every way in which I fall short is just another reminder of how great, powerful, and gracious our God is. And it’s a reminder that anything I do is not by my power alone but by God working through me.

As a reminder for myself and anyone else struggling with perfectionism: perfection is not a prerequisite to following Christ. God calls broken, messy people to follow Him, and He repairs and heals us on the way.

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