Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Lessons: Perfectionism (Part 2)

This is a continuation from Lessons: Perfectionism (Part 1).

“I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God’s business” - Michael J. Fox

Perfection is the evil twin of excellence. Seeking to be perfect is all about me. Perfection demands to be right always, and it sets us up to becoming very self-righteous. Seeking excellence, on the other hand, is about honoring God. It's about being willing to change and improve, so that we can become what God made us to be.
"Perfection is motivated by the flesh. Excellence motivated by the Holy Spirit.Perfection glorifies self. Excellence brings glory to God.Perfection is rooted in insecurity. Excellence is rooted in a secure relationship with God.Perfection is being seeking to be perfect at all times. Excellence is doing your very best at the level you are.Perfection is running a race that never ends. Excellence is going the extra mile.
Perfection can not be obtained by anyone except Jesus Christ. Excellence can be obtained by the youngest or most mature Christian"

Tim Forsthoff at Cornerstone Church
God’s Word teaches us that:
  • No one can ever be perfect "We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins" (Romans 3:22-24)
  • Seeking perfection is trying to act like God - "There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God" (I Samuel 2:2)
  • God wants us to seek excellence - "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things" (Philippians 4:8)
  • Excellence is possible "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal,but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me" (Philippians 3:12)
  • My partner in seeking excellence is the Holy Spirit "But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid" (John 14:26-27)
Erika at Keeping It Personal has a beautifully written post, Perfectionism. It's a fairly short read, but it's so very powerful! Here's just a sample:
"I want my life, my efforts, all of me to count for something... Friend, you do matter... far more than you think. Not only are you a daughter of the King, God has gifted you and called you. He has put desires and dreams in your heart. For most of us, we have let distractions, busyness, good intentions, and worries mute the cry of our hearts and bury those God-given dreams. But they are there. Find them. Ask Him to open your eyes and soften your heart, that you might know His calling for you... For it’s not perfectionism that stops us, that holds us back. It’s fear. Far too often, fear is the dictator of our lives. And that’s not how we were called to live" (Perfectionism).
Sandy at God Speaks Today has also written a couple powerful blog posts about Freedom From Perfection.
“Perfectionism is a spiritual weight that directly affects the freedom promised to us in the Word of God" 
"So, maybe excellence is more a pursuit of character qualities—the attributes of God, like virtue and love and justice and mercy…God cares about how we do things. Whether it’s done well, or not-so-well. But I think He’s much more concerned with the attitude behind the doing…That we see with spiritual eyes the depth of acceptance God has for us, even in especially in our messy condition. That we always remember, because we have been forgiven much, we can love all the more. That we finally and completely Embrace Imperfect—and then go in peace"  
God Speaks Today, "Freedom from Perfection
Lessons Series:

Lessons: Learning the Hard Way (Part 1)
Lessons: Learning the Hard Way (Part 2)
Lessons: From Suffering to Empowered
Lessons: Learning From Life With Chronic Pain
Lessons: Finding Joy

Lessons: Perfectionism (Part 1)
Lessons: Perfectionism (Part 2)
Lessons: Learning to Accept Imperfection (Part 1)
Lessons: Learning to Accept Imperfection (Part 2)
Lessons: Learning to Accept Imperfection (Part 3)
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