As you know I write a lot about perfectionism. I love finding God’s healing perspectives in the Bible about it.
One of the many passages in the Bible that we might miss is Exodus 23:23, 27-30:
When my angel goes before you and brings you to the Amorites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, and I blot them out…I will send my terror before you and will throw into confusion all the people against whom you shall come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you. And I will send hornets before you, which shall drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites from before you. I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the wild beasts multiply against you. Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land. (italics mine, NIV)
In Exodus, God has led His people to the edge of the promised land and then He says those interesting words. Notice them again: “I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the wild beasts multiple against you. Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and posses the land.”
One of the ideas perfectionists have is that God expects them to be perfect! To have all their sinful tendencies solved and never appear again. Yet those verses indicate something we can apply to counter-act that idea. God could be saying to us:
“I will not give you an instantaneous deliverance from every sin, because that would make you proud, and you would think you don’t need me anymore. Instead, I’ll show you an area that needs correction, and little by little as you grow in that area, I’ll show you another or a deeper solution in my Spirit’s power. That way you’ll always stay dependent on me, and you will learn principles you can share with others.”
I’d rather God didn’t have that perspective. I think solving instantly all my problems would bring more glory to God. But actually, depending upon God and seeing His Spirit work in us actually brings Him the most glory. That idea is included in that passage about the Israelites. Although the Israelites will have to fight their enemies with God’s power, God says He is the one who will drive out the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and the Jebusites.
Because of God working on my perfectionism for over thirty years, I can say it is largely conquered. But I still need the Lord to continue working on the ways it pops up when I get tense.
You don’t need to be discouraged that you haven’t overcome your perfectionism. While He’s working, see the process of growth as an opportunity to depend upon God.
If you’d like to learn more about perfectionism, here’s a post that gives a quiz which will help you identify to what degree you are a perfectionist. I can almost guarantee you’ll find it’s in your life to some degree!
If you’d like to check out my book on perfectionism, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Why-Much-Pressure-Myself-Others/dp/1591605059/