You Shall Be Like God: Pride of Perfectionismt

“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” Genesis 3:5.

I am a recovering perfectionist. 
Or maybe not so recovering…but like an alcoholic, the perfectionist needs to recognize her addiction, only then can Jesus heal it. Therefore, I made the first step, and can claim the title “Recovering.”
Check that accomplishment off my list: “Perfecting Becoming a Non-Perfectionist.”

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This goal is a crazy thing, because it’s not obtainable. It starts out innocently enough. Take engagements, it used to be a man got a ring, knelt on one knee and his love said yes. Now, he stops traffic so he can propose on the interstate.
The sex of a baby used to be announced at birth. Then, with the advent of ultrasounds, at 18-20 weeks, the proud parents would tell friends, “It’s a girl!”  Or “We’re having a boy.” Nowadays? Parents host baby-reveal parties. Guests are invited, and not even the parents know their child’s gender. It’s a shindig to outdo all other hullabaloos.
Why must everything be sublime? Why do I want to be the paragon of all I do? How did I start down this ant-warren of madness? How did you?
First, we want to be like God–our first sin. We forget that our perfection comes only from God, never from us. Hebrews 10: 14 says, “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”

According to Matthew Henry, “(Satan) promises advantage from (Adam & Eve) eating this fruit. He aims to make them discontented with their present state, as if it were not so good as it might be, and should be. No condition will of itself bring content, unless the mind be brought to it. 

“He tempts them to seek preferment, as if they were fit to be gods.” (tweet now)

How did I start? Probably in my heart. 

Beautiful unless you look close

With an innate sense of inadequacy, I strive to perfect all that I do. I’ve learned stained glass, but I know I’m not as good as my sister.

I’ve painted. It doesn’t match my mother’s.

The bassoon came hard, and I learned to play it mechanically–but put me in a community band? I know I’m a failure.

I did play in cantatas

However, is this the purpose of my talents? God never condemned the man given five talents. He didn’t complain that he didn’t match up to the ten-talent dude. This middle-guy, investing  what he had, pleased his master.

My glass learning, inspired an artistic friend with more talent. She’s now taken off in her skill. My art decorates my home and pleases me. My bassoon? It does give me bragging rights. Who aspires to play that horn? (Forgive me Judith LeClair, Karen Geoghegan–we know I speak metaphorically).

The only thing that makes me want perfection is pride. It’s my heart.

I need to learn to be content. My writing gift isn’t of the “ten talent” variety like Sue Monk Kidd’s, nor will I usurp Francine Rivers. However, words are my “five talents”, and I will invest in that. My striving must be to finally learn the truth of I Cor. 10: 12, “…they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”

Where are you on your road to recovery? Is your problem lodged in your heart? If you have any hints in conquering it, please share it with us.

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  1. I used to wear perfectionism as a badge of honor. My husband takes pride in my "competitiveness." Now I'm seeing it as legalism and pride. I will change–live with the gifts God gave me and use it for His glory.
    Thanks so much for stopping by.

  2. I nodded my head as I read this, Carol. I have dealt with the blessing and curse of perfectionism since I was a child. I want to do the best I can but the problem is accepting my best as good enough. I curse myself with criticism.

    Several years ago, I began to pray for God to transform my perfectionism into something that pleased Him. Over time, my perfectionism has begun to change into determination. I am determined to live for Him and to obey Him. I try to trust Him for the enabling and the success of what I do.

    I stumble a lot and my perfectionism rears it's ugly head quite often but I surrender a little more every time.

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