Maybe it’s because I’m writing a novel about a woman with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or maybe it’s just life in general, but I seem to be encountering more than my fair share of perfectionists lately. It’s easy to recognize the characteristics—especially since I used to be a perfectionist myself. Or perhaps that’s overstating it. I think it’s more accurate to say I’m a recovering perfectionist.
What I’ve learned lately, through my main character as well as others I’ve been observing, is that 1) trying to appear perfect is usually just a big fat cover up, 2) “perfection” is totally subjective, and 3) the goal of attaining perfection is hugely misleading and deceptive.
People who attempt to live a “perfect life” almost always have deep, dark wounds beneath that glossy exterior. Because a veneer of “perfection” is a good way to cover things up as well as keep others at arm’s length. I mean who wants to cozy up to a perfectionist? She might point out your flaws!
Another irony is that when people think they are “perfecting” their lives, they’re usually just making things worse—making it harder for God to get to the heart of the matter. That’s because our perspective on “perfection” is totally skewed. For instance we often assume that things like being attractive, getting good grades, having material wealth, a life that runs smoothly, etc. is a sign of perfection. It’s not.
God’s perspective is so much bigger than ours. And His plan will probably include some pretty big bumps along the way. He wants to use what we might consider some bad “imperfections” to make us look more like Him. The old “no pain no gain” kind of thing. And it doesn’t always feel good or look perfect. But the results are good.
So if you find yourself falling into the perfection deception trap, you need to remember that God is the only one who really gets perfect. And if you find yourself craving that “perfect” life—remember that’s what heaven is for.
In the meantime, don’t hesitate to ask God to perfect you. Just know that His ways are a lot different than yours. And His goal is true perfection—the kind only He can bring about.