Are you a perfectionist? I often am. But have you ever thought about who sets the standard for perfection? If you think about it, when you want things done “perfectly”, isn’t perfectly your own standard, your idea of how something should be done? And usually when others don’t follow that standard we’ve set in our minds, we get angry at them as if they’ve broken a rule or sinned.
Think about a recent circumstance where your perfectionism was disclosed. Did you expect someone else to do a task exactly how you do it? Perfectionism is usually “me-focused”, wanting to achieve (or wanting others to achieve) a standard of “perfection” we have set. So ask yourself—what is my heart’s motivation? Why do I want this to be done in a certain way or to a certain caliber?
I’m not suggesting that you not do things well. It is good to do things thoroughly. God commands us to do all our work “unto the Lord”. Additionally, He desires for us to work diligently and hard at what we are given, and to be faithful whatever task He has set before us. But if perfectionism is an extra biblical standard that we’ve set, when does thoroughness and hard work turn into perfectionism and sin?
Most of the time when we desire for ourselves to reach a level of perfection it is for the wrong reasons. Could it be…
So others will recognize and praise you?
So you can feel confident about your status or accomplishment?
So God will be pleased with your achievement?
If this is your motivation for getting things to a certain standard or until they are just right, your heart’s motivation is wrong. Whatever we do should be done well, and we should work with all our might as unto the Lord, but it needs to flow from an earnest desire to love and obey Him, not anything else! Reaching your standard of perfection isn’t going to please God any more. He wants your heart, not things done right outwardly.