Letting Go of Perfect

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.
Philippians 3:12 (ESV)


Series: Games People Play

Have you ever heard the statement “Perfection is over-rated?” I remember seeing this quote on a T-shirt at a Christian women’s conference several years ago. I bought it without thinking twice. These three words hit me hard. In my everyday thoughts and goals, I had difficulty settling for less than perfect. But I was now learning that Jesus was more than enough for me in my life. 

Let’s look at a game from our childhood that many of us have played with this title. PERFECTION. In this heart racing game, there are 25 pieces to be placed into a 5×5 grid within 60 seconds. If you don’t have every piece in place and press “stop” on the timer, the tray will pop up-scattering the shapes on the tray ALL OVER the place. I remember how I would jump out of my seat when this happened. The challenge was on! I would master the game before I gave up, which sometimes took quite a while. 

My chronic battle with perfectionism revealed itself in different ways. I often made lofty goals, and set out to meet them. But, if I couldn’t finish the project exactly the way I intended, I wouldn’t finish at all. This led to an All-Or-Nothing mentality. ‘Almost perfect’ was never good enough. Looking back, I believe I set unrealistic goals, causing me to be highly critical of myself, and sometimes others. This fear of missing the mark led to a repeated habit of procrastination. If I put off starting the project, I wouldn’t fail at completing it. In addition, I didn’t have to worry about other people criticizing my work or gaining their approval. Man, this was a surefire way to complete nothing, never measure up, and sit in a place of always letting others and myself down. My perfectionistic attitude was impeding my enjoying and pursuing an abundant life.

If you have ever struggled with this, you know how overwhelming it can be when things aren’t lining up the way you think they should. What if someone else tries to step in and change the way you are doing it? Do you get angry and maybe even lash out? Do your defenses rise and cause a confrontation? In that moment, it is difficult to take hold of this question—what would Jesus do? 

Many of us allow the illusion of perfection to inhibit or halt our faith walk. We don’t move closer to God because we think we have to achieve certain goals to earn His love and acceptance. We stop reading scripture because, as we do, our hearts become convicted of the sin/mistakes in our lives that we haven’t evacuated yet, and we decide we aren’t worthy of the love of Jesus. How horrible it will be if we miss out on the most important relationship of our lives because we are waiting until we can do it perfectly. Jesus is our Savior. He doesn’t require perfection from us, He perfects us in His holiness and by His grace. (We should all be sighing in relief about now.)

Here’s what scripture has to say about letting go of our need for finding perfection in ourselves:

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:2-3 NIV)

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 NIV)

After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Peter 5:10 NASB)

We were never meant to be perfect. If we were, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus would not have been necessary. As we grow in our faith, God perfects us in His image. We are more like Him as we seek Him. We live our lives for Him as we trust His ways. He is the One who puts all our pieces in the right spaces and He is the One who will always do it in His perfect timing.

I am sure you are wondering where you can get that T-shirt I mentioned at the beginning. I wore that shirt until the words wore off. But my faith has grown and I no longer need a physical reminder of the Truth. I have a Savior who lives in me and reminds me every day that I am loved, cherished, chosen, accepted, redeemed and forgiven.

Letting go of perfect is one of the best decision I ever made. 

Holding Fast to Hope,


Scripture References: Philippians 3:12; Hebrews 12:2-3; 2 Corinthians 12:9; 1 Peter 5:10; John 1:12; Romans 5:1, Romans 8:31-39; Romans 10:9; Colossians 2:9-10; Philippians 3:20; Ephesians 2:10


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