As a girl who is growing each and every day into the woman I’ll one day become, I’ve realized that I’ve been pulled by the need to be perfect, drowned in the sea that the impossibility of perfection brings, and confused as to why I couldn’t find joy. Although I wasn’t aware that I was striving towards ultimate perfection in everything I did and said, it soon became evident that the need to “be enough,” and to fulfill an idea of myself that I had created in my head was keeping me from living my life and feeling pure joy. By being so focused on not messing up and pleasing everyone around me, I kept myself from receiving a joy that didn’t depend on circumstances or people around me. I was finding my joy in compliments and approval from others rather than in my identity as a daughter of the King. Looking back on my journey that is still rather uphill, I have witnessed how dangerous and sneaky the lure of perfection can be. Although it may seem like a “positive challenge that pushes you to work harder,” it’s really just a false prize that the devil is constantly using to lure us further from the truth of being perfectly made by God and closer towards the lie of never being enough.
“I just need to keep them happy.”
Let me guess, people say you’re a “people-pleaser.” How many times a day do you find yourself trying so hard to please everyone around you? When you feel so empty and tired, but you keep pushing through the day, ignoring your own unhappiness in order to meet all the needs of others. The thing is, the needs of others cannot be fully met by you. Think about it, can any one person completely fulfill all of your needs? Their happiness cannot depend fully on you. I know that your attempt to keep everyone happy is just your way of trying to hide from the fear of being rejected, but although people of this earth may reject you, the Creator of the Universe accepted you to the point of giving His Son as a sacrifice, knowing every wrong you’d ever commit, just so He could have a relationship with you. That is the love that we all desperately need to recognize. In fact, the best thing about that love is that we cannot earn it. God’s perfect love puts all of the feelings of needing to earn someone’s love or acceptance to death. The love and acceptance that you are striving for has already been freely given to you.
You have such a loving, immense heart. That’s part of the reason you care so much about other’s happiness. Your “overly sensitive” and selfless heart is a true gift from God. However, don’t let it be driven by the need to please everyone. That desire comes from fear, and there is no fear in true love. Instead, let your caring heart be driven by God’s perfect love. Take time for yourself. Take care of yourself, and depend on His strength instead of your own.
“I just can’t ever be good enough.”
I believe that this lie is perhaps the most common thought that passes through the frantic brains of those striving towards perfection. Whether it’s anything lower than an “A” on a test, a point of criticism from a loved one, a failed dream, or even just an innocent remark made that sparked a hidden insecurity, the littlest things can activate the stabbing feeling of not being good enough. But what exactly are we trying to be good enough for? You were made perfect in the eyes of God. Psalms 139:14 says that you were fearfully and wonderfully made. Shouldn’t being made perfectly be considered “good enough?” If the birds and the creatures of this earth are content in themselves, why aren’t we? For aren’t we, sons and daughters of Christ, worth more to God?
I know this lie is so convincing and alarmingly natural to think. But it is the biggest lie of all. You are enough in the eyes of the God who made you. Stop trying to be an idea of yourself that YOU think you should be. God has created you as He intended you to be. In fact, even your “weaknesses” are seen as perfect.
“But he 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9
Instead of seeking after that made-up image of yourself, seek after Him, and in turn, He will make you into the person He created you to be.
“If only I was like…”
If I could make you stop comparing yourself to others, I would in a heartbeat. Thinking that someone else is “better than you” in terms of grades, beauty, social skills, or anything else is a dangerous lie to become victim to. Aren’t these aspects considered things of this world? Won’t beauty, grades, and popularity all fade?
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” – Proverbs 31: 30
“You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.” – Song of Solomon 4:7
I know how easy it is to want to be more like someone else. This idea that perfection can be achieved is what drives us to compare ourselves to those around us. But these comparisons take away from our sense of self-love. Instead of appreciating and loving our own unique gifts, we are constantly wishing for the gifts that others were blessed with. But if we were all given the same gifts then how would the Body of Christ work effectively? The head can’t do anything without legs, arms, and a mouth to make active its thoughts, such as the arms, legs, and mouths can’t achieve anything without the ideas from the head. Instead of focusing on what you wish you had in order for more people to “like” you, focus on the unique, perfect, and equally vital gifts that God has blessed you with. As much as you’re wanting to be like someone else, someone else is wanting to be just like you. Focus on you, not the comparisons of others, and use the newfound sense of contentment and love you find to show others.
If I had to guess, I’d say that you are tired.
Tired of going through the motions of your alarmingly too busy schedule.
Tired of feeling the desire to keep everyone happy, even if it completely drains you.
Tired of not feeling like you’re enough for other people.
Tired of needing everyone to love you.
Tired of not being happy.
Well let me tell you, I’m tired, too. But the greatest part of this is that God is waiting with open arms to help both you and me overcome this need to be perfect. I know that it’s no longer a conscious thought. I know that the desire controls every aspect of your life, including every action you take and every word you say. But our God is much stronger than the lies and habits that this world has planted in us.
Instead of focusing on how you’re going to get through your crazy week, focus on how God will use your overly involved schedule as a means of spreading love to others.
Replace the temporary feelings of inadequacy and pain with the eternal truths that you are made perfect through Christ and can live in the free love that He so graciously gives us.
You are beautiful, redeemed, beloved, righteous, set apart, loved, free. Stop letting the need to be perfect pull your heart and direct your life. Instead, let the God who sees you only through eyes of unfathomable love carry you through.
My fellow perfectionists, this idea of perfection that we’re striving after isn’t perfect at all. I’m pretty sure the Bible doesn’t define Jesus as perfect because he was pretty, smart in school, involved in everything, or liked by everyone. Perfection is Jesus and His unconditional love. And the best part is, Jesus has made that perfection available to us through him. Stop running tirelessly after an unreachable goal and embrace the beautiful, wonderfully made woman that God has created you to be.