The Perfectionism Monster

Scared. Out. Of. My. Mind. That’s how I was feeling regarding our church hand-bell rehearsal yesterday. We will be playing for the first time during our church’s morning services this upcoming Sunday, and I was not feeling ready–at all.

A lot of it has to do with my perfectionism. I am a self-proclaimed perfectionist; and not proud of it! 🙂 I have a deep yearning to meet all expectations, please every person that I come in contact with, excel at every opportunity that I undertake, and never, EVER, make a mistake.

I believe that at least some of my desire for perfection stems from my struggles with OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). Another part of it could spring from incidences in my past which made me feel un-loved.

Maybe you can empathize with me? With the craving to have all things work out just as planned? It’s like I want everything wrapped up with a neat little ribbon before being introduced into my life. How far from reality this expectation really is!

But how to combat it? It seems to infiltrate every aspect of my being. I try to fight it, but it only seems to grow stronger–like a cookie-monster whose acquisition of cookies does not satiate him, like it should, but only causes his desire for cookies to grow.


The only way that I know to counteract this natural tendency of mine is to kill it with grace. Yes, God wants us to be “perfect,” (or complete) and “holy,” (or set apart from sin). But He also knows that this is a process, and that it is not something that happens overnight!

I (and all followers of Christ) are in the process of being sanctified–or being transformed, moment-by-moment, into the image of Jesus. This is accomplished through reading God’s Word, through prayer, through fellowship with other believers, through service to others, through trials…and any other number of things. I believe that what’s important is not so much how “perfect” we are, but how surrendered to Him we are willing to be. Because the truth about perfection is that Jesus Christ is the only perfect Being, and He is the only One who can do this work of change in our lives.

But back to killing perfectionism with grace. A chapter of Scripture that has really changed my life and my viewpoint of God is Psalm 103. I would encourage you to read the entire chapter, and you can do that here. But I will share with you a few of my favorite verses from this passage.

The Lord is compassionate and merciful,
    slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love

11 For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
    is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
12 He has removed our sins as far from us
    as the east is from the west.
13 The Lord is like a father to his children,
    tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
14 For he knows how weak we are;
    he remembers we are only dust.

God understands us! He considers Himself our Father, and we His children.

Lord, help us to remember how much you love us when we are attacked by the “perfectionism monster!”


P.S. My hand-bell practice went a lot better than I expected, thank the Lord! 🙂 It seems that when I relax and breathe, I’m able to think more clearly, enjoy what I’m doing more, and just focus on doing my best for my Savior!

Photo credit (for cookie monster): Unknown

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