Fearfully Wonderfully Me

Growing in God and Inspiring Young Women Through Faith and Fashion

Tag: good enough

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.

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More Than Good Enough

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Good enough. It’s something that, like me, you have probably tried to achieve. As a Christian, sometimes we turn Jesus’ statement to love Him by keeping the commandments (John 14:15) into a burdening chore that we can’t simply accomplish on our own.

We try to look right–wear nice clothing and have pretty hair and a toned figure. We try to eat right–healthy and not too much. We try to obey our parents and keep them happy. We try to be hard workers, good friends, charitable, and leaders in our church and community.

This is all suffocating. No wonder we burn out or get crazy anxiety. Is it just me, or do women get the brunt of all this pressure for perfection? We are expected to look, think, and act like angelic saints.

No one really fits this mold. We can look at our neighbor or friend and assume she’s got it all figured out. She is beautiful, confident, and all put together. But the truth of the matter is that everyone is thinking the same thing we are. Sadly, most of us compare ourselves to our friends and family (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing when done with a healthy mindset).

The thing is, no one can be perfect. I had a wise professor who once said, “nobody’s perfect. Only one perfect person existed, and look what they did to Him!”

A little blunt, but true. Jesus is perfect because He isn’t just human, He’s God. He gets us and understands the weight and pressure to be “good enough.” Jesus understands the weight of the Law upon our shoulders–which is why He took it from us and placed it on His own. 

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6 NIV). 

I have been writing a lot on grace lately because it is something the Lord is helping me understand in my own life. My performance or works cannot save me. Only the blood of Jesus and my faith in Him can save me. 

Love cannot be earned. It was already bought by the perfect blood of Jesus Christ. 

However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness (Romans 4:5 NIV).

In this world, we may have to work and perform, but Jesus is our rest (Matthew 11:30). God’s love conquers all of our imperfections, and our trust in His love is what sustains our faith. I think Angela Thomas described the love of God for us perfectly in her book, Do You Think I’m Beautiful?

God’s love is unrelenting. He does not turn away even if you do. –Angela Thomas (p. 25).

It does not matter how far we fall or how imperfect we are. We may not always do, say, or think the right things, but Jesus is powerful enough to make up for whatever we may lack. Walking in this love is what frees us from the chains of “good enough” living. Knowing God’s unfailing love is what allows us to walk in abundant, freeing faith.

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to comment and share. I love hearing from you 🙂

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