Growing in God and Inspiring Young Women Through Faith and Fashion

Category: shame

The Problem with Perfectionism

I was eating lunch with my mom on a beautiful Saturday afternoon when I broke down. The pressures had been building up all week–school, friends, family, writing. Even everyday things or my own thoughts made me feel like I was about to crack.

No matter what, I couldn’t shake the thought out of my head that I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t talented, smart, or pretty enough. I place so many unrealistic expectations on myself that I would never put on anyone else. It’s what fueled my struggle with an eating disorder when I was younger.

But I know I’m not alone in this struggle, lovely one. The problem is perfectionism and it needs to be unraveled and seen for what it truly is–the need for something greater than ourselves.

The Lie of Perfectionism  

I have yet to meet a perfect person. I’ve met people who seem perfect or who share doctored up photos of a perfect life on social media (I’m guilty of it too).

But when you actually get to know someone and break through their mask, you see that this person is a human being–filled with struggles, sin, fears, and hurt.

During Biblical times, there were groups of people called Pharisees who kept up the appearance of perfection with a bunch of rules and regulations. Meanwhile, they were shaming everyone around them while letting sin reign in their hearts. Jesus called them out on this.

‘ “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.’ (Matthew 23:27-28 NIV)

If Jesus were walking in the flesh today, He would see a lot of Christians who look like these “whitewashed” tombs. We can pretend to be perfect to others. Maybe we can even fool ourselves into thinking we have our lives together. But God sees us for who we really are. We can’t hide from Him.

Perfectionism vs. Authenticity

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:8-9 NIV)

God doesn’t want a “perfect looking” son or daughter. He wants our real, authentic selves. The Bible reminds us that none of us are without sin–no matter how much good we do. No one is perfect.

Repentance is all about bringing your authentic self to God–humbly and sincerely. It’s about letting go of our sin and shame, because it was already destroyed when Jesus died on the cross.

If we could be perfect on our own, then we wouldn’t need a savior. We need to stop striving and accept the free gift that Christ paid the price to give us.

Perfect Grace 

The most dangerous thing about perfectionism is that it keeps us focused on ourselves for too long. When you live your life for Jesus, it’s not about you anymore. It’s about His glory.

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)

Even the great apostle Paul wasn’t perfect. He dealt with issues just like the rest of us. But instead of punishing himself for not being good enough, he turned to the only one who is good enough.

Jesus is God, and He is also the only perfect person to walk the earth (John 1:14). When we surrender our weaknesses to Him, we give Him the proper place in our lives as Lord and Savior.

This is called grace. 

Perfectionism-Jesus is enough

Christ is not glorified in our self-righteousness or worldly success. It is only when we are broken and weak that people can truly see the Savior work in us.

I’ll admit that surrendering to grace is still a struggle for me. It was on that lunch date with my mom that I finally came to the end of myself.

I realized something so important, that in fact, it’s the basis of salvation. I am not good enough. But Jesus is more than good enough, and He will always be enough for me.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

Connect with me on Instagram @fearfullywonderfullyme

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The Truth About Shame

I have a confession to make. I am twenty-three years old, and am just learning how to drive. It’s a huge victory in my battle with a chronic illness that prevented me from driving. But it’s also a struggle.

Learning to drive isn’t easy–at least not for me (and not for the poor souls who help me practice). And to be honest, it makes me anxious. Though I am getting better with every lesson, I still feel a terrible, self-defeating feeling that shrouds me in darkness.

I’m talking about shame.

The Poison of Shame

Merriam-Webster defines shame as “a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety.” This feeling, lovely reader, is the weapon the devil uses to try and condemn us.

It’s normal and healthy to feel guilty when one does something wrong.  Guilt can lead us to repentance, which then sets us free. It’s also normal to feel insecure, which again, can also be freeing when we learn to seek our worth in Christ.

But what about that feeling of condemnation, no matter how many times you repent? What about that feeling of not being good enough, no matter how hard you try?

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14 NIV)

Shame is a poison that seeps into our lives even when we are born again in Christ. We have to remember that we are dead to sin, and that Christ nailed all condemnation to the cross. It’s not our sin that makes us feel condemned, but the shame that the enemy uses to make us believe we are separated from God.

The Power of the Cross

…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. (Hebrews 12:2 NIV)

As a Christian, I have heard the story of the cross countless times. But what really makes me understand Christ’s sacrifice is watching a movie or reenactment of the crucifixion. Then I can clearly see the shame Jesus bore while he was mocked, stripped, and beaten–all alone.

And guess what? He did it for me, and He did it for you! Our God chose to take on human form in order to understand the temptations we face and the struggles we battle. Though Jesus knew no sin, He did know our shame. And He took it upon Himself in order to free us and bring us eternal joy.

Freedom from Shame

‘“Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.’ (Isaiah 54:4 NIV)

We all make mistakes. We all have our weaknesses and failures.  And we all sin–no matter how hard we try not to. It’s part of the human condition. The good news is that we can always run to Jesus for forgiveness and freedom.

shame is a lie

I know that I’m not perfect, and that learning to drive, like all things, takes patience. Although at times I may fail, I know that God always brings good out of the bad.

Jesus is the fresh start from our past mistakes. He is our joy and strength, despite our human weakness. Jesus is our freedom from sin and the shame that binds us. 

The truth about shame is that it’s a lie. A lie meant to steal, kill, and destroy God’s precious children. But we have access to the only antidote on earth–the powerful and freeing truth of the love of Jesus.


Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

Connect with me on Instagram @fearfullywonderfullyme

**I’m on Twitter!** Follow me @Emily_Susanne1

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