Ever since I was young, I consistently teased my sister for being such a perfectionist. Little did I realize that I was pointing out the splinter in her eye and missing the wooden beam in my own. I was a perfectionist as well. If I wasn’t perfect, then, by golly, I just wasn’t good enough. I began basing my self-worth on my accomplishments without even realizing it. I had a genuine love for God, but it became easily distorted by my perfectionist standard. I began doing good things to try to earn God’s love.
Doing as much good as I was able to fit into my day became my obsession for awhile. Life became a list of things that I thought would fulfill me. I would easily become burned out and fall into despair when I realized that no matter how hard I tried, there were still many, MANY things that I couldn’t accomplish. Sometimes I just wanted to hide away from the world. My intention was off, and my perfectionist standard started to skew my view of friends, family, and my relationships. I could only see people for what good characteristics they were missing. I became discouraged that no one was consistent and that we were all failures.
Thankfully, God opened my eyes to His goodness once more. I eventually recognized that I could not save myself and that I had lost sight of who my Redeemer was. I received the grace to acknowledge that no one is perfect, except God, the one whom I had fallen in love with and the one from whom my perfectionism was keeping me. I received some good advice from a priest in Confession, “strive, but don’t strain”. He explained that, yes, I should strive to be like Christ, but I should not beat myself up when I don’t measure up. It’s merely impossible to measure up to His goodness.
In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Our Lord enlightened Saint Paul saying, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” St. Paul responded, “I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). One day I was reading my Bible, and those words hit me like a ton of bricks. THAT is the key to dealing with my perfectionism. I must gladly accept my imperfections, and, therefore, allow Christ to heal me and live in me. Although I cannot do anything on my own, He can do all things through me. I am truly perfect but only because of Him.
If you are struggling with pride and perfectionism, ask for God’s grace to see through His eyes. The devil is always going to whisper, “you’re not good enough”. Reject those words because we know that God is good enough, and God is inside of you. Remember, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13