This post is all about overcoming perfectionism
Perfectionism is a mindset that plagues many people, Christians included. This blog post will explore some of the most effective strategies to overcome perfectionism and live a more productive and purpose-filled life as a Christian.
I must confess that I once had a perfectionist mindset. I applied it to the way I worked and the way I lived. It honestly took the fun out of life. I was really hard on myself and didn’t feel fulfilled or deserving. That is when the Lord started teaching me about perfectionism and practical strategies to overcome it. Today I will be providing you with those tips!
Ready? Let’s go!
What does the bible say about perfectionism?
Perfectionism can permeate the life of a believer, especially when they take verses such as this out of context. I will highlight two verses to explain this:
1. (Leviticus 11:44-45) For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy.
The word Holy (Hebrew “qadash”) is often misconstrued. People sometimes equate being “holy” as being perfect. However, Holy means consecrated, sanctified, or separated from the world and its worldliness in this context.
2. Matthew 5.48, Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
“Perfection,” as stated in this verse, may have come from a Greek word originally meant to mean maturity or being whole or complete. I would love to explain this thoroughly, but BibleSociety.Org.UK did a swell job, and I will quote their research as follows:
As someone pointed out to me recently, this is probably a legacy from the Vulgate, which translates the Greek word into Latin as ‘perfectus’ (though even that word doesn’t quite have the sense of being without flaws that our English word has). To Be rounded, be whole, be complete as God is.BibleSociety.Org.UK
When people take scripture out of context, you can now understand how perfectionism can be such a dangerous mindset for Christians. It can lead us to feel like we’re not good enough, that we need to do more or be more to earn God’s love and acceptance. But this is impossible! As humans, we will always fall short of perfection. We always need to remember that nobody is perfect! Lastly, we are saved by grace and not works!
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;Romans 3:23
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.Ephesians 2:8-9
Perfectionism Christian Tips: 4 Most Effective Strategies to Overcome Perfectionism
There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to overcoming perfectionism. However, here are my biblical strategies that worked well for me:
1. Growth Mindset
My first tip for you is to adopt a growth mindset. A growth mindset is basically cutting yourself some slack. It means that you are starting from where you are and what you have. So, it’s not that you’re being perfect. It’s just starting with what you have and growing from it. I think it’s such a kind way and a kind approach to life.
Adopting that mindset is really good because you’ll always start, and there’s a lot of fun in just trying stuff. You’re allowing yourself to make mistakes and learn from it. You see mistakes as learning opportunities and not flat out failure.
David had a growth mindset. He was a poster child for growth. Here is a truncated chronological history that shows his growth:
Even after being anointed at such a young age, David assumed his rightful position at age 37. All his experiences contributed to his growth into such a big role of a King.
If you are called to be a kingdom financier and own a multi-million-dollar property or a business, you will start by stewarding smaller things. You may begin with a hundred dollars then work your way up until you arrive at that multi-million-dollar place.
Having a growth mindset is good; you always start with what you have. However, if you have a perfectionist mindset, it can be debilitating and paralyzing. You may not even start something that God has impressed in your heart because you’re chasing perfection.
Lastly, remember that Moses was asked what he had in his hands… a staff. So I ask you, what do you have in your hand? Start with that, and guess what it’s okay! ❤️
A verse that speaks to a growth mindset:
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.Philippians 3:12-16
2. Spirit of Excellence
Excellence means the quality of being outstanding. I also want to state that a spirit of excellence is not a financial status or a destination! It’s an attitude… a state of mind! That means that you can embody a spirit of excellence right here, right now! You can set your mind or change your mindset to be excellent.
So, my question to you is… what do you need to do to change your mindset?
Do you need to recite biblical affirmations or read the word of God? Or perhaps do need to go to therapy and learn how to combat negative thoughts that are paralyzing you?
Remember it is a mindset… it’s a state of mind.
Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.Daniel 6:3
Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the interpretation.Daniel 5:12
Some hallmark signs of the Spirit of excellence are:
-Reliance on God and not your giftings or worldly standards. Please don’t depend on your abilities!
-Walk authentically in your giftings and purpose. So, take the time to understand your own authentic journey.
3. Bite-Size Chunks
With perfectionism, people think that if they have to do something, it has to be completed in one swoop. They put a standard that is the only way to do something “perfectly well” is to do it all at once. However, I want to tell you that you can divide your projects and your goals so that it’s in manageable chunks.
A quick example is if you have like a book that is 500 pages that you want to read, you can maybe read a chapter a day and see how far that goes. Doing this improves your self-efficacy so you build enough confidence and momentum to achieve all your goals. It’s okay to pace yourself! Don’t put yourself in that pressure cooker and have yourself suffer burn-out.
4. Realistic goals
Okay, so my final point is realistic goals; this ties with my third point, but I decided to split it because I have a bombshell that I want to tell you about realistic goals.
We all know the importance of setting realistic goals or SMART goals. I believe that… but guess what? With faith, things kind of look different. Why? God can call you to break down barriers to be a pioneer. So, in as much as we have to set realistic goals and stuff, keep in mind that you shouldn’t limit yourself if God wants to do a new thing in you.
Yes, realistic goals can mean something different from person to person, especially when faith is attached to them. God’s plans for you may not look realistic or may not be deemed realistic by society. However, according to God’s will and purpose for your life, that is exactly the “realistic goal” you need to pursue.
My advice is to pray for discernment to understand your purpose and what your goals look like. Please don’t shortchange yourself!
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within usEphesians 3:20
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.Isaiah 43:19
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.Isaiah 55:9
And that’s it, folks, 4 Most Effective Strategies to Overcome a Perfectionist Mindset
Lastly, I want to provide some a bonus word of encouragement as I end. I have a background in clinical behavioral therapy, and I think it’s wise that I mention the following:
Perfectionism is often fueled by irrational thoughts such as “I have to do everything perfectly” or “If I make a mistake, it means I’m worthless” (all or nothing/black or white thinking). When you catch yourself thinking in this way, challenge the thought and ask yourself whether it is true. If you’re struggling to overcome perfectionism on your own, it may be time to seek professional help from a therapist or counselor who can provide support and guidance. Remember, there is no shame in seeking help!
Here is the YouTube video I recorded to complement this blog post:
In conclusion, by accepting that you are not perfect, focusing on your progress, and giving yourself grace, you can start to overcome perfectionism in your life.