STRIVING FOR PERFECTION vs PERFECTIONISM

perfection

STRIVING FOR PERFECTION vs PERFECTIONISM

Think of it this way . . .

The suffix, ism, normally indicates an abnormal state or condition resulting from excessive behavior towards a thing. Thus, perfectionism is an unhealthy approach to daily living. That’s because perfectionism, by definition, refers to one disposed to regard anything short of complete perfection as unacceptable, including the theological doctrine that a state of freedom from sin is attainable on earth. The fallacy of that is readily seen in the observance of the daily affairs of mankind all over this world. Just look around. Note the actions of our politicians, other neighbors - and self, as well.

When we strive for perfection, we usually mean that we’re trying to not be deficient, defective or faulty in any desired attempt at something (which is admirable). But the very fact that we do “strive for perfection,” is an admission of deficiency. “We all make mistakes.” That’s a given. People of faith will especially recognize this from Scripture: Rom. 3:9, “all people…are under the power of sin.” (NLT) 3:10, “none is righteous – not one.” 3:23, “Everyone has sinned, we all fall short of God’s standard.” Ps. 39:5, “every man at his best state is altogether vanity.” (KJV)

We need to try for a happy medium here, then. Right? We do. It’s not a crime to make a mistake. It’s like an accident; it just happens. The crime would be making no attempt to correct the mistake—to change and improve. Improvement would be impossible if you refuse to acknowledge and understand your own imperfections. On the other hand, if you feel, “Everyone loves and admires me so much, and I deserve it.” Wait just a minute.

"You walk into the party like you were walking on a yacht…. You’re so vain I’ll bet you think this song is about you. Don’t you? Don’t you?” -Carly Simon  

In this case you’ve gone to the other extreme. This is just as dangerous as running yourself down. To be well-balanced, let’s try to conform to God’s gracious instructions for redeeming ourselves to His standard. So, go ahead “Hitch your wagon to a star,” just be reasonable with yourself and fair with others. 

-John D.