Fighting The Rut Part 3
Battle of perfectionism – you often hold unrealistic expectations and when you don’t live up to them, you feel deep feelings of shame, of guilt or unworthiness.
Matthew 5:48 New International Version (NIV)
48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
There are different types of perfectionism:
The first type is called the self-oriented perfectionist. These are the expectations you put on yourself. If this is you
- You tend to hold unrealistically high expectations of yourself and you battle with feelings of guilt, often obsessing to the point of inefficiency.
- You might be prone to procrastinate and you struggle with deep feelings of inadequacy.
Externally oriented perfectionist and this is what you believe others expect of you. If this is you, you believe others expect you to be perfect.
- So to cope with the pressure you often use self-deprecating humor as a defense.
- You might make fun of your work ethic or your appearance or whatever, totally as a defense.
- You’ll often feel very, very alone or depressed and you feel secretly desperate because you know no matter how hard you try, you will never ever be good enough and live up to your idea of what others expect of you.
Then there’s the others oriented perfectionist. This is when you impose your expectations on somebody else. If this is you,
- You expect others to live up to your impossible standards.
- Your challenge is that you lack empathy, and because you lack empathy you often tear others down or use abrasive and demeaning humor toward those who don’t meet your standards.
KEY: Perfectionism is very often a covering for our deepest insecurities, our deepest fears or if I can say it theologically, it’s a covering for our sinfulness.
20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
The reality is, until you see yourself as a sinner, you won’t see your need for a Savior and that’s why the law is so beautiful. It shows us, I need help. I can’t be perfect. I can’t live up to that.
22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
What is perfectionism? Perfectionism focuses on what I do.
Grace focuses on what Jesus has already done.
If we truly understand this, it shouldn’t just change what we think. But it should change everything about how we relate with people, and how we live.
First, we get to choose people over perfection.
Luke chapter 10:38-42
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[f] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
KEY: Martha was more concerned about doing things for Jesus, than spending time with Him.
The second thing is this, we can actually choose perfect love over perfect performance.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
KEY: It’s not that you have to be perfect in performance but it’s growing into the perfect love of God.