Perfectionism: The enemy of your progress and purpose

Galatians 3:3 (NIV) Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?

The enemy to progress is perfectionism! There are too many uncompleted projects, unfaithful marriages, and unfulfilled dreams because people allow perfectionism to keep them from walking in their purpose! Perfectionism is a personal standard, attitude, moral, or philosophy that demands perfection and rejects anything less.  God never requires perfect people to do His work. As a matter of fact, He sent the only perfect person, His son Jesus to die on the cross for our imperfections, failures, and sins. Now through Christ, the Christian can step out in faith to walk in their God-given purpose.  

Unfortunately, too many people stay bound with the spirit of perfectionism and allow fear, comparison, and the lies of the enemy, to keep them from stepping out to do what they were created to do. For years I suffered with the guilt and shame of every mistake I ever made, because I never felt good enough to be used by God.  I wasted too many tears and hours crying over my imperfections and making excuses that God couldn’t use someone like me, until one day in prayer God reminded me He doesn’t want perfect people; He desires willing people. Sure, every once in a while I still fall into a slump after I mess up and make a mistake, but I no longer sit in despair, because I trust in God’s faithfulness.  He loves me in spite of my imperfections and He loves you too. And guess what? He still desires to use us to carry out His purpose on the earth. Today I want to encourage you to let go of perfectionism so you can walk in your God-given purpose!

Four ways to break Perfectionism and walk in Purpose:

  1. Be fully present

“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10).  The Hebrew word for “be still” literally means to “cease” or “cease striving”. To be present means to first and foremost ask God to be present in our lives and to focus on His presence and then we can be fully present in any situation or relationship with which we are surrounded.  So often we miss the blessing right in front of us because we are so busy dreaming about a perfect future. Sometimes we need to push the pause button, slow down, and forsake everything else in our lives to focus on God and the people He put in our lives.

  1. Understand your passion

Passion always reveals your purpose. What lights you up and sets your soul on fire?  Very likely that is your purpose. The word passion originates from the Latin word “passio” which is closely related to the Greek root “path” meaning “to suffer.”  When we think of the “passion of Christ”, we must understand passion will be accompanied by suffering.  Jesus was so passionate about the Father that He made a way for people to be able to come into relationship with God.   Jesus was so passionate He was willing to undergo excruciating pain on the cross for our sins. Are you so passionate about your purpose that you are willing to suffer?  Perfectionism doesn’t like hardships, but when you are truly passionate about your purpose you are willing to endure pain in order to walk in your destiny. 

  1. Depend on God’s power

Paul learned to depend solely on the power of God.  We see this in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV)9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  Like Paul, we must learn God’s grace is more than enough for us to walk in our purpose.  We must learn to depend of the power of God that is always on hand and available to help us in moments of weakness.  Perfectionism keeps us depending on ourselves, but true power only comes from depending on God.

  1. Focus on your progress

Philippians 3:12-14(NIV)12 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. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  What beautiful words Paul coined in this passage.  Paul knew he wasn’t perfect, but he didn’t allow his imperfections to handicap him.  Instead he allowed them to propel him into his destiny and he wrote 2/3 of the New Testament!  Friends, we too need to allow our imperfections to propel us into our purpose. Our imperfections will help us walk in a more compassionate way and it will remind us our gifts are just that- gifts.  When we stop focusing on our imperfections we will start to see the progress we have made. You have come a long way from where you started. Don’t give up. Choose today to celebrate progress not perfection!

When we learn to be fully present in every situation, understand our passion, depend on God’s strength, and focus on our progress, then the power of perfectionism begins to loosen its power over our lives.  We will be able to walk in our purpose and make in impact. Just remember, you can’t do it by yourself. You need the strength only God can give. After all, His love is perfect and He is fully able to equip you to walk in your purpose!

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