Freedom from the Prison of Perfectionism
God has called us to freedom and liberty in every area of our lives, but Satan, if he can't keep us from being saved, still wants to keep us in bondage. That's what he was doing to the saints in Galatia. Here's what the apostle Paul says in Galatians 3:1-3
3:1 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4 Have you suffered so much for nothing-if it really was for nothing? 5 Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?
Paul was challenging the Galatians, were you saved by keeping the law, the Ten Commandments or by accepting Jesus Christ?
Are you now ignoring that sacrifice and trying to attain salvation through your own efforts, so that God will, “approve” of you.
What is perfectionism? It is judging yourself by your own achievements. You measure your worth in terms of productivity and accomplishment, and you're always striving for unattainable goals, never reaching them, and, therefore, never, ever being completely fulfilled. The key words of a perfectionist are I must, I should, and I ought. Perfectionists are not led; they are driven.
Some marks of the life in the prison of perfectionism.
The first thing you need to realize is that it is hopeless.
We by our own sin nature have NO hope, alone!
These are the seven Greek words that have been translated as one “sin”. My favorite is the last one, sins you don’t know you have committed.
Hamartia which means missing the mark, literally trying to do the right thing but failing through moral weakness.
Hasebeia means ungodliness which is "positive and active irreligion in direct opposition to god". In other words actively doing something you know is wrong.
Parakoi means to fail to hear either through carelessness or in attention. Failing to hear when god speaks or ignoring what he has to say.
Anomia means lawlessness, a contempt of Gods law.
Parabasis is transgression or passing some defined limit. Or the active breaking of a commandment. It means more than hamartia in that it implies intention.
Hittima means a failure of duty or a fault in doing that which one ought to do. A sin of omission.
Parptouma; ignorance of what one ought to have known, a sin you don’t know you have committed.
The Great Escape
Are you ready for a way out? There are ways you can escape from life under perfectionism. Believe that God has accepted you by grace.
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Grace is contrary to our sense of justice and our cultural feeling of “pay backs”
God is not trying to catch you in some kind of a sin, he already knows what you have and will do. God’s covenants or agreements are one way, to us. We can not make promises or have a covenant with him. We can not “do more” to please him. BUT no matter what we do he does not love us less.
It is not rules, do this don’t do that, they are external and don’t work! The change must come from with in. As the bride of Christ we want to do what will be pleasing to him.
If you're trying to earn your acceptance before God by your performance, you will be disappointed. You will never, ever, be free from the prison you are in.
Grace is God's acceptance of us. Faith is our acceptance of God's acceptance of us.
You can and must accept yourself for what and who you are. That does not mean an acceptance of sin. But reprogram your self-concept. Say, with the apostle Paul, "I am what I am by the grace of God." In God's eyes you are special. God has accepted you. Now, you can accept yourself.
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully (awesomely) and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
God doesn’t love you because you're valuable; you're valuable because he loves you." God has accepted you. Now, you must accept yourself.
Accept other people for what they are.
Do not expect perfection out of others because they can't give it, only God is perfect. Let God be God, and you resign as the CEO of the universe. They don't have to earn their acceptance with God, so why should they have to earn it with you?
When you accept other people not only do you free them, but you free yourself to accept and love them as they are. When you get out of the performance trap you'll not do less; you'll probably do more. You'll achieve more and you will enjoy it a whole lot more!