I have a confession to make. I am a closet perfectionist. OK, maybe not even a closet one but a full-blown perfectionist. Couple that trait along with my tendencies to be a people-pleaser and you have a recipe for lots of anxiety. One of those characteristics alone can cause lots of stress, but when I put them together, lookout. I needed help with overcoming perfectionism. Working to correct these flaws took years of prayer along with trail and error.
My family is usually the ones that suffer the most when I let my expectations control the situation. I learned that perfection is not attainable. We deceive ourselves into thinking that if we just try harder, we will obtain the perfect life or make an event flawless. In all of the world’s history, there has only been one perfect person, Jesus Christ. And, He can help us with overcoming perfectionism.
These tendencies towards wanting everything to be perfect show up while I make arrangement for a mission trip. I enjoy searching for the best deals on flights and the best routes. I love to plan. Unfortunately, when I plan a trip, I begin to imagine all the details coming together. I form a picture in my mind of how everything will turn out during the trip. Unfortunately, things go wrong when traveling. Flights get delayed, people get sick, luggage gets lost and a million other things that go wrong during travel. My reactions hurt God’s message for those with us.The God I serve is the perfect one, and I can trust Him to work out all the details.. Click To Tweet
I remember one trip in particular. It was one of the trips to Kenya. The team was about to purchase the tickets. We were about six weeks out from our departure date when we received the news of a terrorist incident at the Mombassa airport. Then came the news which announced all airlines had canceled their flights into Kenya for the foreseeable future. Mrs. Perfection went into overdrive, trying to figure out what to do. The team gathered at church to pray for God’s direction in the situation. My temples throbbed as I wrung my hands during the meeting. I tried to figure out a solution.
God to the Rescue
I could not fix this problem. But, God quickly provided an option for us. Our help came in the form of a church needing a daycare center built in Argentina. The dates and cost for this new trip remained the same. God answered the team’s prayers. We even had more people join the team for this new adventure. God knew where the work needed to be done, and that was more important than my need to control the situation. God taught me a lot during the new journey. He showed me that His ways are perfect, but mine are not. Slowly, I learn to rely on Him and not on my methods. God even provided a verse to remind me of my new lesson.
Proverbs 16:9 ” In their hearts humans plan their course,
but the Lord establishes their steps.”
I try to recall this verse anytime I feel myself battling for control of a situation. God ways are better for everything in our lives. My old habits still surface occasionally, but I am learning, and I continue to seek God to help me. He is teaching me about overcoming perfectionism through His Grace which is new every morning, and He never gives up on me. The God I serve is the perfect one, and I can trust Him to work out all the details.
Yvonne – #blogger, #speaker, and #author
Matthew 28:19 “Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
100% of the proceeds from sales of my book, Turning Mountains Into Molehills, go to help the orphans at Orphan Relief Effort, Inc
20 thoughts on “Overcoming Perfectionism”
Amen. God provides just what we need at the right time. 🙂
That is so true Melissa. His timing is perfect. Thanks and God bless
“Unfortunately, things go wrong when traveling. Flights get delayed, people get sick, luggage gets lost and a million other things that go wrong during travel. My reactions hurt God’s message for those with us.”
So been there. Great reminders here.
Thanks Nancy. At least we know God loves us no matter how we react. We are a work in progress. God bless
Hi Yvonne. Firstly, your trips must be amazing. But, of course, God’s ways (and His trips) are truly the best, and how cool it is to recognize that fact when we look back, and we wonder why we were so anxious. Thank you for this reminder of God’s perfect ways.
Thanks Stephen. God’s trip are some of the best. It is so incredible to watch God work on mission and in our lives. God bless
Thank you for this, Yvonne! I can be such a perfectionist left to my own devices, and it all stems from my pride problem. Only God is perfect. I am learning to forget my own striving toward perfectionism and remember to align myself with God!
You are so correct about it being a pride issue, we think we can do it ourselves. Sometimes it takes our failures to remind us that we are not perfect. Thanks and God bless
Oh Yvonne, I can so relate to this message and to your heart. We love our Lord and we love those around us, so we desire things to go well for all in every way. But yes, God knows best. Always. And we must rest in His sovereign love and higher plans. I love hearing about your trips and how your faith is stretched through these journeys. Thank you for living for Christ and sharing about your steps along the way. God bless you and keep using you!
Thanks Melissa. Sometimes I think God sends me on mission trips because I have so much to learn. He knows He gets me full attention when I am out of my comfort zone. God bless
Yvonne, I call myself a recovering perfectionist, because I still haven’t completely recovered. Those of us with this tendency, may have to fight this part of our flesh all our lives. Glad Jesus was and is the only perfect One. I’m learning to depend on God more. He is in control, after all, and nothing about my trying to be perfect ever helped or solved anything.
I love that idea, a recovering perfectionist, so true. He can turn all our messes into something for His good. God bless
Your story of the Kenya trip reminded me of a story our daughter came home from school with in her junior year of high school. A friend of hers had been supposed to go on a mission trip and, last minute, the destination and ministry had to be changed. Her friend had been looking forward to this trip so much! When I expressed my sorrow for the change in plans my daughter said, “No Mom! Kristen said she was excited because when God changes your plans you can know it will be better!” At 17 that young woman taught me a valuable lesson!
Thanks for the memory!
Amen. I wish I had that confidence when it was happening because God did have something better for us. Thanks Beth and God bless
So true Yvonne why do we spend so much time trying to figure it out when God has it! Thank you for your post!
Thanks Ava. I appreciate your thoughts. God bless
I wrote a Bible study on Mary Magdalene, and just today as I was reading John 20, I was reminded how often we try to take care of problems on our own. Mary, thinking Jesus was the gardener, asked where Jesus’ body was so she could go get Him. How ridiculous this must have sounded! But she was trying to do things by her own strength. Your post reminded me of that. While Mary might not have been reflecting perfectionism, she certainly wasn’t trusting God to work in the details and “fix” the problem.
Great analogy, I love it. We are guilty of it at times. God knows what He is doing and doesn’t need us to try to take over. Thanks Emily and God bless
What a powerful story, Yvonne! Perfection has always been one of my default coping strategies that I have worked to release. I love when you said, “The God I serve is the perfect one, and I can trust Him to work out all the details.” Yes!
It amazes me how many of us struggle with perfectionism. I am glad we can share our trials and help each other learn and grow in Christ. Thanks Lisa and God bless.