A Love Letter to Perfectionists

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Dear Perfectionists,

I know you’re busy, because well, you’re ALWAYS busy, but I’ve got something important for you to hear. So please take a minute and sit down to read this.

No, like literally sit down. STOP TRYING TO MULTITASK AND JUST SIT DOWN FOR A MINUTE.

Ooooh, see doesn’t that feel great?! This will be short, so just take a deep breath and listen.

I know you’re tired. Like deep down, feel-it-in-your-bones tired. Maybe you have a lot going on, maybe you don’t, but I know that your brain is constantly running regardless of the to-do list. There’s always something, right? Something to fix, something to fret about, someone to text, someone to be mad at, a mistake made in seventh grade that you need to feel embarrassed about AGAIN.

You should’ve loaded the dishwasher last night but instead you watched Netflix and that’s DEFINITELY worth feeling guilty about because now there’s no clean spoons and the only food in the house is cereal because also you should’ve gone to the grocery but you didn’t because somebody had to do the laundry and see isn’t this what happens when you take any time at all for yourself and isn’t it your job to make sure absolutely everything is running absolutely smoothly absolutely all of the time?!?!

Yeesh! No wonder you’re exhausted! You are constantly working, thinking, and giving and I wonder if you even know why you’re running at this pace. Maybe you think if you let something drop then a punishment will be heading your way. Maybe you think if you let your mind relax you’ll have to think about your spiritual health, which is slowly dwindling under the weight of chores and obligations and “have-to’s.” Maybe you think a person with your kind of past doesn’t deserve to have an easy time.

I think…I think you let something slide to the background that would be really, really good to bring back to the forefront.

Grace.

Such a simple word, such a freeing concept. Galatians 5:21 says, “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, then Christ died for nothing!” When we perfectionists (mhmm, I am also in this club) try to fill our lives with rules and duty and work to distract us from our imperfections, or to cover up previous mistakes, or to earn the love and approval of those around us, then we set aside the grace of God. We pick up our own “righteousness” and tell God, “I can do this on my own! Go help a weaker vessel!”

But, from the exhaustion on your face, I’m guessing that doing this on your own is not working out so well.

Is perfectionism your way of proving to God that you’re worthy of His love? That you don’t deserve His wrath? 1 Thessalonians 5:9 says, “For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” God does not view you as a problem to be fixed, or an irritation to put up with! He loves you with an enduring and unconditional love. His desire is not to punish you, but to bring you into deeper relationship with Him by making us more like Christ. And this transformation happens through salvation in Jesus, not through the law, no matter what your perfectionism tries to tell you.

So take another deep breath. Put down your to-do list, your measuring stick, your comparison chart. Pick up the grace of God and hold on tight. You are loved and valued no matter what your output is. You are accepted and treasured no matter how many times you fail. Let’s have that playing on repeat in our minds, instead of our mistakes.

Sincerely,

A Recovering Perfectionist