Perfectionism and Unbelief

Many years ago, I was told I was a perfectionist.  At the time, it was a type of “diagnosis” of a problem that I had.  Being the type of person who enjoys research, I started reading up on perfectionism.  It wasn’t flattering as I saw myself in some of what I was reading.  I am more the “I’ll do it or die trying” than the “If I can’t do it perfectly, I won’t do it at all” type of perfectionist.  I started to realize what it was like to live with someone like me and started to work on changing that.  

Sometimes I think I have perfectionism licked.  Other times, I see it rearing its ugly head.  Although there is nothing wrong with striving for excellence, it becomes a problem when you are running over anyone that is in your way.  

Revive Our Hearts podcasts is having a series right now on perfectionism entitled When Life Doesn’t Line Up: The Crushing Burden of Perfectionism.  Out of curiosity, I began to listen.  The first episode, A Matter of Worship, was a good reminder to me of how far I’ve come.  I also saw a few areas that I need to work on.  The second episode, I’ll Never Measure Up, stopped me in my tracks.  

You may remember that my word for 2021 is believing.  When the Lord impresses on me a word for the year, He teaches me many things.  Sometimes these lessons come from surprising places.  Listening to that second episode was one of those surprising places. 

The episode is a discussion.  One of the women asked the questions, “Is it possible that a root of perfection is unbelief? That we are not trusting God when we are rising up to make everything around us go exactly as we think it needs to go? Are we at the root struggling with unbelief?”  The author of the book they were discussing responded, “I think that is very perceptive, because one of the reasons that I need to control things and I need to make everything around me just the way I think it ought to be is because I don’t have confidence that God is going to do good.” [emphasis mine]

As they continued to discuss this and situations where we don’t have the confidence that God is going to do good, I couldn’t help but think of times where that is true in my life.  Every time I try to manipulate circumstances for the outcome that I think should take place, I don’t have the confidence that God is going to do good.  Every time I nag my husband to do something the way I think it should be done, I don’t have the confidence that God is going to do good.  Every time I am trying to work the budget from every possible angle to make sure there is enough money for what is coming up or warn an adult child about a possible terrible outcome to some plan or action on their part, I don’t have the confidence that God is going to do good.

I would tell you that God is good. I would tell you that everything He does is good. (Psalm 119:68) After thinking most of the day on this podcast, I have realized that there are circumstances where my thoughts and actions are showing that I don’t believe that like I thought I did.  And so today, the Lord put His finger on something that He wanted me to know, a place in my heart where I am not believing that He is good and that what He does is good when it isn’t what I would have chosen.  

This is a very transparent blog post.  Maybe this is an area where you are lacking as well.  If so, leave a comment and let’s pray for one another.  I long to have that confidence that God is going to do good no matter what!!!

3 thoughts on “Perfectionism and Unbelief

  1. Jackie Cook

    I’ve been told I am a perfectionist..,of course I don’t see that in myself, in fact I feel just the opposite. I will listen to the podcasts. Thanks so much for sharing your heart with us.

  2. This hits home with me too: “I started to realize what it was like to live with someone like me and started to work on changing that.” I have areas of perfectionism that I have to work on too.

    How wonderful that the Lord sent you a “believing” message with the podcast. I’ll add that podcast episode to my queue. Since it was helpful to you, I’m sure I can learn from it as well.

    I appreciate your vulnerability in this post, Kim. I’ll be praying for you and would appreciate you praying for me. I want to always know in my heart that God is as good as I think he is in my head! So glad you linked up at the One Word linkup!

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