I’ve always been a perfectionist. Having to have the crayon box with all twelve colors, to get an A+ on everything, constantly organizing my drawers—it’s in my bones and has been for a while. Honestly though, the fact alone makes failure all the more blaring and painful and… disappointing.
I’ve always tried to beat disappointment, not joining things I’m destined to flop in, trying to be proactive with certain situations. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t work. Sometimes, yes. But I fail all the same. I beat myself up over and over about it, promising to do better the next time. You’ve maybe had that happen too. But here’s the thing, what I’m still striving to learn. Is God disappointed in you when you don’t make the penalty kick in soccer? Is he ticked when you get that F in Chemistry? No. It’s just you. You are the only one that’s disappointed in you.
Here’s where the topic divides into two different things: spiritual things and earthly things. First, earthly things. I’m gonna go out there and say something wild, especially for your fellow perfectionist. Fail on purpose. Fail royally.
That’s right. We’re raised in a successful culture and society. We’re taught from the very beginning that failure is bad. That’s wrong. Learning to fail well builds character that a century of success never will. Failure isn’t to be feared, neither is success to be fretted over. Learn to accept both with godliness and humility.
Secondly, are holiness and perfection the same thing? For years I’ve thought so. Then someone posed this question to me. Still thinking? The answer is no. They are not the same thing. Jesus asks that you honor Him with your actions, not that you honor you. And hard as it is to admit sometimes, perfectionism more often than not only is an attempt to honor yourself.
See, perfection eludes us. But the thing is, we’re not supposed to chase it.