Monday, November 19, 2007

Perfectionism is Nasty

There are SOOO many doctrines against perfectionism! Or maybe I should say so many of the elements (ways of thinking) that combine to produce perfectionism are so wrong!

Like, Perfectionists focus on the end result instead of the process. They tend to live in fear and doubt (out of the innate knowledge that they're very unlikely to produce the perfect product their warped standards demand). And guilt (which comes from the inevitable failure to attain their unrealistic goals). They live in "shoulds": "Oh, I should've worked on Box today! I didn't. I'm baaad..."

Except on the day that I wrote this, I did work on it. I got the notes for the next scene out and pulled together all the info on the viewpoint character forit. But no, that's not enough. I should've done more. Now I'm going to be behind and might not finish in time.

What is that last line? It's worry. What is worry? A SIN! Stop worrying about anything, says Phil 4:6.

"I am not behind." (A Flylady saying) "And God is not interested in me catching up." (a paraphrase of a Flylady saying) He doesn't need me to catch up. He just wants me to stop beating myself up with guilt, confess it and get back in the plan.

Perfectionism is just innately wrong. It's arrogance. It's thinking you are something when you're nothing. It's thinking you can do things perfectly, which is a lie, or that things depend on your performance, which is a lie. It's setting up your own standards and believing that if you fulfill them, then you are good and God is pleased. Total legalism.

The idea that you must do things perfectly to win approval of other people or even yourself is completely against grace and the word, which says we're all dust and we can do nothing apart from Him. Everything done in the power of the Spirit has worth. Everything done in the power of the flesh is utterly without worth. And things done for the wrong reasons = things done in the power of the flesh. Like desiring the favor of men; like wanting to feel approved and worthwhile because of your accomplishments when the Bible says you're already approved and worthwhile in God's eyes because of HIS accomplishments; like thinking that blessing and success and whatever it is you want actually comes from your efforts rather than the grace of God. Perfectionism is a terrible insult to God and His grace.

But I realize it's not going to be easily set aside. Mental habits don't change overnight, or because you want them to. You have to confront them daily and replace them with truth, over time. In some cases you have to turn to a different way of thinking entirely. (Like how do you focus on the process and not the end result? but that's for another post)