3 Ways Perfectionism Is Ruining Your Life

Jenn Jewell • 2 minutes

As a classic first-born, I like to be in control. And more than that? I like my control with a side of perfectionism. My house, my marriage, my schedule, my kids—I struggle with perfectionism in nearly every area of my life. Can you relate? As you’ve probably experienced, this is an impossible, stress-induced trigger toward insanity.

The truth is, there’s no such thing as perfection.

There’s no perfect house—especially when you’re trailed by a toddler tornado. There’s no perfect marriage—even imperfect, godly marriages don’t happen by accident. There’s no perfect kid and no perfect parent. There’s no perfect friendship, body, career, family, church, relationship, or person.

When I’m chasing my own standard of perfection, I’m setting myself up for heavy disappointment—with a bar I’ve raised myself. And in my own hopeless pursuit, I’ve noticed three ways perfectionism is ruining my life.

1. Perfection is really just a fancy label that camouflages our pride. When I’m constantly focused on myself and having all my ducks in a row—and controlling those ducks—I’m selfishly distracted with my own will instead of God’s. Satan fell from heaven because He wanted to push his own agenda, which was having more power and control than God. But when our eyes are focused on Jesus, who humbled Himself by carrying our sinful imperfection to the cross, we can’t help but follow His example. Not my will, Lord, but Yours be done. (Luke 22:42)

2. Perfection paralyzes progress. There’s nothing like a quest for perfection to stop you in your tracks. The idea of perfection can be paralyzing, numbing, and overrated. And trying to find perfection can keep you from experiencing progress. But God goes before us, paving our paths with His amazing grace. We can sprint in freedom and confidence, knowing that God’s strength works best through our weaknesses and limitations. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

3. Perfection is really just pretending. As we already said, perfection isn’t real. We don’t have to keep pretending! Pinterest-polished pictures and poses might seem perfect, but they’re an illusion. We want in on the good stuff, right? We want authenticity, not the perfect display of counterfeit living. Only when we come to Jesus with the real us can we accept the goodness of His real, unconditional love. (Romans 8:38-39)

Our goal shouldn’t be achieving perfection ourselves, but knowing God’s perfection.

I said there was no such thing as perfection, but that wasn’t quite right. There is one who is perfect, and His name is Jesus. Instead of aiming to achieve perfection ourselves—especially since we can’t—let’s get to know and enjoy God’s perfection more. Today, and every day, His perfection is enough.