Satan tells us a lot of lies. He knows exactly where to hit us as moms, wives, women, Christians, human beings, etc. He is very good at “confirming” lies we believe about ourselves, about other people, and about life in general. One of those lies is trying to be perfect.
I have no doubt that you’ve read it many times over about how our Instagram-crazy world makes everything harder. There is an idea of perfection that we are always striving for, whether we realize it or not.
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What does trying to be perfect even mean?
Before I began writing this post, I thought I had a clear idea in my head of what perfection meant. But when I sat down to actually write the post, I realized I had no idea how to put it into words. That’s because perfection is an idea that we have no real definition for because it’s different for everybody.
But I feel pretty confident in saying that when we think of perfection, we think of those pretty, pristine pictures some women post on Facebook and Instagram. Or the woman with the gorgeous white teeth and the perfect hair and body. Or the spotless house and routine that gets everything accomplished every day. Or always being the chipper, happy, smiley, go-with-the-flow kind of mom who never has a bad day or a bad attitude.
This perfectly (Haha! See what I did there?) illustrates how perfection is a lie. Because when we see all those things on social media or those people around town, that is not a true reflection of what their lives are really like.
Perfection is a lie.
Perfection is something Satan uses to distract us. We become obsessed thinking about our hair, our bodies, our houses, or our kids and how it all looks to the outside world when we should really be thinking about the things of God.
- Satan wants us to feel isolated and alone. But God wants us to be in community. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12) Trying to be perfect isolates us because “everyone is perfect, and we’re the only ones that aren’t”.
- Satan wants us to feel rushed. But God wants us to be still (Psalm 46:10). Trying to be perfect makes us rush because “I have to be perfect NOW or someone will find out that I’m not”.
- Satan wants us to wear ourselves out. But God wants us to rest in Him (Isaiah 30:15). Trying to be perfect wears us out because “I can never attain perfection, so I am always working for it”.
Satan wants us to feel isolated and alone. But God wants us to be in community . (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12) Trying to be perfect isolates us because “everyone is perfect, and we’re the only ones that aren’t”. Click To Tweet
How to be perfect in life.
When we’re living to please other people, our lives are always on hyperspeed. That’s what perfectionism is: it’s living to please others. What if we changed our mindset and lived to please someone who’s already pleased with us and whose burden is never heavy: God. This is how to be perfect in life.
Matthew 11:28-30: ‘Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’
How to be okay with not being perfect.
God’s word is rich with wisdom and truth. Open your Bibles, and let’s take a deeper look at Psalm 19 for the answers to how to be okay with not being perfect.
Look around you and see how God’s power and faithfulness is on display.
Psalm 19:1-6: These verses focus on His faithfulness being displayed through His creation. It talks about how the sun always rises and sets and always provides for the earth. God created the sun and everything on earth. If He can create everything and create the laws governing the whole earth and the universe, isn’t He faithful and trustworthy? Isn’t He wise? (Also see Romans 1, Jeremiah 31:35-27, Jeremiah 33:19-20)
What does this mean in our battle against the lie of perfection? Don’t depend on perfection to give you what you want and think you need. Depend on the Creator who is powerful enough to set the stars in the sky and give the earth order: rules and laws that cannot be broken by anyone but Him. Depend on the all-knowing God who is wise enough to balance everything, including our lives and our spiritual growth, too. Depend on the caring Creator who knows the number of hairs on our head (Luke 12:7).
Put it into practice: Leave your technology behind and grab good-ol’ paper and a pen. Sit outside for as much time as you have and look around you. Write down the ways you see God displayed in creation. Then think about your past. How have you seen God at work in your life? Praise Him and thank Him for these things.
Psalm 19:7-11: These verses tell us what we need to fill our minds God’s beautiful Word. These verses focus on God’s word and how it instructs us and how it is the thing we should desire the most because it points us to God and gives us all sorts of spiritual benefits. God’s Word is the ONLY thing that can teach us about who God is and teach us about His promises.
What does this mean in our battle against the lie of perfection? Romans 12:2 tells us that in order to overcome the conformity of the world (the empty pursuit of perfection), we must transform our minds. The only way we can transform our minds is to fill them with the very words of God.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 NIV
Put it into practice: It can be hard to find time in our messy lives to find time to do these things, but they are too important to push aside. When we think about doing these things, let’s think along the lines of quality over quantity. For example, do you have 10 minutes between chores while your baby is napping to sit down and read the Bible? Would you be able to get up a little earlier? Stay up a little later?
There are tons of Bible reading and study plans that help busy moms get deep into the Word in a short amount of time. The important part is to focus your mind solely on God and His Word. Put away the distractions and the things you think you need, like your phone, computers, tablets, TV, etc. Find a quiet place in your house somewhere where you can create a little sanctuary (like a closet or a bathroom).
Pray that God will show us what we need to work on.
Verses 12-13 is a short prayer giving God permission to expose the places where sin is hiding. It also asks God to help keep the Psalmist from pride.
But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.: Psalms 19:12-13
What does this mean in our battle against the lie of perfection? We tend to focus on the wrong things. In our battle with the lie of perfection, we tend to focus on the external things: our bodies, our houses, our hair, how we seem to other people. And we become very overwhelmed to the point where we just want to give up. But, sometimes, we get too focused on ALL of the sin issues we struggle with, we become overwhelmed and want to give up.
Put it into practice: Today, say this prayer sincerely, and allow God to show you what He wants you to work on. Give Him space to speak to you. Find your quiet time and be still before Him. Let Him tell you what step He wants you to take next in your growth. He will never overwhelm you (“my burden is light”), and He will never let you down.
Think on the right things.
Verse 14 is another short prayer from the Psalmist telling God that he wants everything he thinks about and speaks to be pleasing to God.
What does this mean in our battle against the lie of perfection? Instead of meditating on perfection and its lies or the things that we think should be perfect in this world, let’s meditate on the things that really matter and the things that will help us grow: God’s character and the things of God (Philippians 4:8-9). Let’s seek to please God while still remembering that Jesus died to make us perfect, and we are ONLY perfect through Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.: Philippians 4:8-9
Put it into practice: Memorize Scripture! Begin replacing the lies with truth! Take a Scripture from your quiet time and write it on an index card, and put the index card in a Ziploc bag. Put that bag EVERY.WHERE. For example, Slap it on the wall of the shower or the mirror in the bathroom and work on memorizing your verse.
Fill your mind with Scripture and allow yourself to trust in what it says and allow it to transform your whole mind.
What is perfection to God?
Remember that when God looks at us, He sees His Son’s sacrifice. It’s never about (and never has been) keeping up with some golden standard of perfection.Remember that when God looks at us, He sees His Son’s sacrifice. It’s never about (and never has been) keeping up with some golden standard of perfection. Click To Tweet
God demands perfection, but we have achieved that only through Jesus’ sacrifice. Then, through all the imperfection of our daily lives, He is refining us and shaping us to be more like Jesus (Hebrews 10:14).
For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Hebrews 10:14
You can’t be perfect yourself, and that’s okay.
Let’s stop trying to be perfect and let God handle it. He sees our mess and He’s fine with it. He is faithful to use our mess to grow us to be more like Jesus and teach us to trust Him more. He wants His strength to show through our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9). Since you can’t be perfect yourself, rest in Jesus to be the perfection for you.
What are some ways that you find yourself seeking perfection according to the world’s standards (and not God’s)? Leave a comment below and share some of your perfection struggles and how you are tackling them!