One afternoon after I’d been a Christian for about five years, I drove home from church feeling downhearted. Why can’t I love God enough? I asked myself over and over again. I was afraid that if I didn’t love him “enough,” He would never fully accept me as His child. I remembered 1 John 4:18 and it seemed to scream of my need to have a perfect love toward God: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.”
If your love for God was perfect, you wouldn’t have any fear of Him and you wouldn’t ever worry! I berated myself. Lord, it’s just hopeless. I can never love you enough to take away this fear of what you might do to me if I don’t measure up.
Then the real meaning of that verse broke open in my heart and mind like the sun bursting forth from behind a black cloud. Wait a minute, Lord! That verse isn’t talking about my love for you, but your love for me. Now I understand. Your perfect love can cast out my fear because you only want what’s best for me. Oh, thank you!
Years later I identified why I had misinterpreted I John 4:18. My perfectionistic tendencies believed that I needed to become perfect in order for God to love me. I find that many women suffer from the same thing. They can’t believe they can be free of worry since they haven’t performed perfectly—or close to it. They believe they are not worthy of God’s love or the goodness He desires for them. 
In my book, Why Do I Put So Much Pressure On Myself and Others? (Xulon Press), I relate how perfectionism can steal our ability to believe God loves us. I include a quiz to help women identify to what degree they are perfectionists. As you read the following statements, check any that are true of you, even if it is true some of the time. 
  1. _____ Most of the time I sense God is disappointed with me.
  2. _____ I spend lots of energy evaluating my performance.
  3. _____ I tend to think in terms of “all or nothing.”
  4. _____ I think I should have my act together by now.
  5. _____ My expectations tend to be unrealistic. 
  6. _____ For me, “good” is rarely “good enough.”
  7. _____ I often wonder why other people can’t get their act together.
  8. _____ I’m compelled to straighten out misunderstandings.
  9. _____I won’t begin something if there’s a possibility I can’t do it well.
Now, add up your check marks for your score. 
Score: ______
If you checked three or more statements, you have perfectionist tendencies. Someone has said that a perfectionist is a person who takes great pains…and passes them on to others. And a perfectionist has a hard time receiving God’s love. 
When we have perfectionist tendencies, we have a mindset that says, “I haven’t achieved perfection, or anything close to it, and since God must be upset about that, I better worry because He won’t do what’s best for me until I am perfect.”
But it’s glorious news that we don’t need to worry about being imperfect. Philippians 1:6 tells us, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (NASB). The Word of God tells us God knows we will be “in process” until the day we die (I Timothy 4:15). He doesn’t expect us to become perfect but He does want us to be growing. 
If you worry that your love for God isn’t “good enough,” you don’t need to! Your love for Him will always be growing more and more and the result will be more and more obedience. Never perfection but growth in process. 
Take heart! I John 4:8 is for you! Because HIS love is always perfect for you!