I have a confession to make. My entire life, I’ve struggled with trying to be perfect.
I’ll never forget the time when I was about seven years old. I received a “B” on my report card, and I was devastated that I didn’t get straight “A’s.”
Overhearing my frustration, my 18-year-old sister stated, “Well, you know, Jennifer, you’re not perfect.”
I looked at her with my big blue eyes and questioned, “I’m not?”
While my mom and sister thought it was funny, I was actually being one hundred percent serious.
To this day, I still strive for perfection. I’ve grappled with this harsh reality many times in my life. To be honest, I often feel guilty or ashamed of my flaws.
Even though the Bible tells us point-blank that nobody’s perfect, the world still expects perfection.
Thankfully, God doesn’t have the same expectations of us as the world.
Knowing this should provide relief, yet we still struggle with our imperfections.Even though the Bible tells us point-blank that nobody’s perfect, the world still expects perfection.
5 Tips to Help You Overcome Perfectionism
Since that fateful day in the Garden of Eden, when Eve ate the forbidden fruit, mankind has wrestled with the desire to be perfect and a sinful nature that causes us to continuously miss the mark.
But we can overcome perfectionism with God’s help and practical application of his Word.
Here are five tips to help Christian women overcome perfectionism.
1. Don’t Compare Yourself to Other Imperfect People
“If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else.” – Galatians 6:3-4 NIV
Why do we always want to be like everyone else?
Society has taught women we should be able to do it all, but there’s always someone who can do it better.
Eventually, something’s got to give in our struggle with perfectionism, because it just isn’t possible to live up to such high standards all of the time.
When we are more concerned with how others see us than how God does, we end up failing and then trying to compensate for our insufficiencies (Rm 12:2).
The only person we should compare ourselves to is Jesus Christ.
If you are going to try to be like other women, look to the ones who have made Jesus their role model, as described in 1 Corinthians 11:1 HCSB, “Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ.”The only person we should compare ourselves to is Jesus Christ.
2. Overcome Perfectionism by Taking Off the Label
“As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one.” – Romans 3:10 HCSB
It’s time to rip off that tag you’re wearing. The one that says, “Hi, I’m a Perfectionist.”
Nobody is perfect, so you should give yourself a break.
Striving for excellence is definitely a noble task; however, when we make mistakes, we tend to be our harshest critics.
If God is willing to forgive you, you should be willing to forgive yourself, too, according to Isaiah 43:25 NIV: “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”
Despite our imperfections, He still loves us.
Despite being far from perfect, He still sent His Son to die for us (Rm 5:8).Despite our imperfections, He still loves us.
3. See Yourself As God Sees You
“Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.” – I Samuel 16:7b HCSB
The world seems to only care about what can be seen from the outside, but God looks at our hearts.
God created us to be more than one-dimensional beings (Ps 139:13-16).
He designed us for a relationship with Him.
Jeremiah 24:7 says, “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.”
God is our Father, and if you have chosen to follow Him, you are His child. He passionately longs to see you choose His righteousness over the ways of the world.
He desires for you to continually be in His presence, as noted in John 17:20-21 HCSB: “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
As His child, there’s nothing you can do that will separate you from His love, and He will never turn away from you (Rm 8:38-39).The world seems to only care about what can be seen from the outside, but God looks at our hearts.
4. Overcome Perfectionism by Seeking After God
“The Lord looks down from heaven on the human race to see if there is one who is wise, one who seeks God.” – Psalm 14:2 HCSB
The most important thing we can do on our journey toward overcoming perfectionism is to seek God.
We seek after God by reading the Bible (Jas 1:23-25) so that we will know what He expects of us.
The Bible is His Word, and it is the main way He speaks to us. Second Timothy 3:16-17 HCSB says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
The more you read and understand the Bible, the more you will learn how to walk with God in obedience.
When you do this you’ll be so focused on God and His desires for you, that everything will seemingly fall into place (Ps 37:3-6).
The day-to-day strife to be perfect falls away, and doing the right thing comes more naturally as you deepen your relationship with God (Gal 3:22-23).The most important thing we can do on our journey toward overcoming perfectionism is to seek God.
5. Accept that You are a Work in Progress
“Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:12 HCSB
The Apostle Paul understood the reality of striving to be perfect, but he also knew that the goal of perfection is more about the journey than the achievement itself.
We could spend our entire life working toward perfection, but we must realize it is not something we will ever attain here on earth.
It’s okay to strive for perfection, but only in the capacity that you are able, realizing that we are all at varying stages in our journey to excellence.
Apply the truth of Colossians 3:23-24 HCSB: “Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ.”The goal of perfection is more about the journey than the achievement itself.
We Will Completely Overcome Perfectionism One Day
“I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6 HCSB
One day, when we are in heaven, there will be no more desire to strive for perfectionism. We will be totally unburdened by this struggle at that time.
Yet until that day, it is your responsibility to do your best to seek after God, give yourself grace and forgiveness to make mistakes, and let God love you with a perfect Father’s love.
– Jennifer Jabbour
Jennifer Jabbour resides in the scenic San Diego countryside with her husband, teenage son and daughter, and their hilarious English Bulldog. Jennifer has a life-long desire to share her faith with others so they can also experience the joy of having a relationship with God. Along with writing for her blog, she is also a contributing writer for iBelieve.com and Crosswalk.com. Besides being a writer, Jennifer is also a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a photographer, and an avid outdoorswoman. Follow her on her blog and Instagram.