She was in a hurry, rushing to get the project completed by the deadline. She started working on it weeks ago, but kept telling herself it was not enough, she had to do more, give more, be more. She worked late into the night putting the finishing touches on it to make sure everything was in its proper place. The next day, a check mark was placed beside the finished project and then once again down the same road of finding another request waiting on her desk as she slipped into her chair. She mustered up the energy with a smile on her face as if all was good and hunkered down to put in another 150% into her work. In fact, she always puts this much energy into everything, being performance driven to perfection. She has to be perfect and from the outside that is what it looks like – perfection at its finest. But, her inside does not match what is shown on her outside. The perfect mask she has hidden behind for so many years. The comparisons she makes with others that only deepen the need to be perfect. She is a woman who tries to please others with performance, yearning for their approval, yet never quite meeting the perfect state she is seeking, constantly striving for more. See perfectionism can do that – it seems good and looks good on the outside, but in reality it has a very negative impact. Working hard and doing your best is not to be confused with perfectionism. The motive behind perfectionism is focusing on self and having high performance standards seeking to be flawless. We all may find from time to time that we have a little of it, but for some, perfectionism is what runs their lives. It is a lie that many people believe in and a deception that runs deep into the heart. Ann Voskamp states it so well with the following quote.
On this side of heaven, only one man was perfect and sinless whose name is Jesus. No one else will be perfect, no matter how hard we try. So, what brings this performance that strives for perfection, when we will never reach it? What mind shift needs to take place to remove the cycle of perfectionism?
Three points to consider striving for to inspire an intentional life confident in Christ to replace a life of performance. The whole perspective changes when the Lord inspires the heart to be changed. The Christian life is not easy and not to be taken lightly, but is full of a lot of molding and refining, continual maturing in running the race towards the goal for the prize that awaits us in eternity.
Strive for the Hope that is Unseen: Jesus is the true Hope that brings life. Come, set your eyes and focus on him that of which is unseen, with joyful and confident expectation of spending eternity with him. There is nothing we have to do to earn his steadfast love, grace and mercy, no performance required. He did it all on the cross by taking upon himself the punishment for your sins and forgiving you. Nor do we need to strive for approval from man, for the Lord alone provides us our worth. What you are to do is believe and repent of your sins, that is turn away from your sins and turn to God. At times it may be easy to focus on what we see, but hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? For in this Hope that is unseen (Jesus), we are saved through our faith by grace, a precious gift from God.
waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our greatest God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (Titus 2:13-14)
Strive in Brotherly Love: Love one another in the faith from a pure sincere heart. Love goes beyond the deep feeling or an intense affection – Love is patience and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1Corinthians 13: 4-7). Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. (1John 4:7) To love one another, removes the desire to play the comparison game.
“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” (1Peter 3:8)
Strive for Joy with Gratitude in All Things: As Jesus’ joy sinks down into your heart up streams gratitude flowing from your mouth. Start each day giving thanks for everything the Lord has provided. Even when your world is in a season of being upside down in a pit, count it all joy when you meet various trials acknowledging your gratefulness for what He did for you on the cross. Spend a few minutes each day writing down all that you are grateful for and share it with others. You might just be amazed of the joy flowing with gratitude that is coming from your heart.
“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:11