Be perfect, be normal, be regular. These are statements we all hear on a daily basis. An expectation to be perfect and act perfect and make perfect decisions and choices. The pressure to never make a mistake, because if we do, we are judged and put in a box that says, “weak, unworthy, unlovable.”
Most of all is the expectation to be perfect as a Christian. Perfect as a witness for God. Perfect as a virtuous woman. Does anyone else feel this way? Maybe you’re a man and you feel the pressure to be the perfect spiritual leader in your house, the perfect deacon at church, or the perfect witness on your job sight. Why do we do this? Because we have a core belief that the Bible says once you’re a believer in God you must be perfect all the time. Especially as a confessed believer, because if you don’t the fear of making a mistake will lead others astray, kill your witness, or keep you from God’s forgiveness. Well, in my searching of the Bible I have found this core belief to not be so accurate. As well as my personal experience with forgiveness.
I got pregnant at the age of 14. One of the most unforgiveable, unworthy things a young lady can ever do. By getting pregnant I was looked upon very negatively by most all people. I was judged without anyone ever trying to get to know me. I was called a whore, a promiscuous girl, a tramp. I lost friendships and was dissuaded from participating in anything biblically related. Instead of being tagged with a scarlet “A” on my chest, I felt like I carried a scarlet “P”. As though I had a disease that could be caught. Most importantly, with the tag on my chest I could walk into a room and everyone could participate in the only cure for my transgressions. That cure was judgment and isolation. One action, one choice, one vulnerable moment and I was put into a box. The box that says, “weak, unworthy, unlovable.” Not by the unconfessed sinners of my life. Oh no! I became a knew person in their eyes, but to the eyes of my fellow believers I was trash.
My so-called perfect image was lost forever and I would spend many hours, weeks and days trying to gain forgiveness. The only way to forgiveness and acceptance was to regain my perfect status. To be perfect all the time, and make no unforgivable choices from that day forward. Well, that was a bust. It wasn’t long and before I knew it, I would make another choice, and another that would be deemed as wrong. It wasn’t an action as big as getting pregnant, but it was how I handled the trauma and life altering events in my life that everyone disagreed on how I should handle it. There was no perfect solution, and no matter what I did someone would get hurt. Until…
Until I made a decision one dark night in the woods, holding my 3-month-old son, running from the chaos that had become my life. Every decision was going to be a mistake no matter what way I looked at it. I knew if I was going to give this dear child a life of love and acceptance something had to change. That something was me. From that night forward I chose to take one step closer to God. To make God the Lord of my life, not just the Lord of my soul. I was saved at the age of 9. My salvation did not keep me from making many imperfect decisions. But my salvation did allow me to be forgiven. It did allow me the right to call upon my heavenly father and have a direct relationship with him.
Till this day I still struggle with perfectionism. I think it is something I will always struggle with. When my life took another turn a few years ago all the trauma and life experience I went through caught up with me. I experience major bouts of depression and overwhelming anxiety. With this struggle I made another decision to get as close to God as I could, no matter the cost. I did this by reading His word and searching for truth. Truth to what he really sees as perfection. What His expectations of me really were. And I found these verses with a few more.
Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect (Thoroughly complete) in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21 As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. For who is God save the Lord? Or who is a rock save our God? It is God that girdeth me with strength an maketh my way perfect (my life, my journey, without spot, and complete). Psalm 18:30-32
God’s blood alone makes me perfect. With me accepting His sacrifice of his son and choosing to live my best life as a Christian, God works his will. God doesn’t say we need to be perfect. God says He is perfect and if we trust in him, he will give us the strength to battle this life and through our journey He will make our lives complete and perfect. It takes a journey. A lifetime of learning. It takes time in your life to grow and complete you. The potter is patient and willing to keep trying no matter how many times we flatten out and fail to stand. All the experiences, the imperfections, the judgement from others has grown me and my relationship with the Lord. It has caused me to search for answers and with that search has come a life not worried so much about being perfect. Let face it, there is no way I will ever be perfect in everyone’s eyes. The more I try the more I fail. Instead of wasting my time trying to be perfect, I will spend my time living like I am loved and forgiven. So, in order to be perfect in God’s eyes I will move forward in my relationship with him. First to be humble and honest for my choices and who I am as a person. Once I became honest, the Lord was able to move in my life in ways I never thought possible. I am free to be me! Flaws and all, and as I grow in my relationship with God, everything just comes together. I can’t explain how, but I can encourage and support you in your journey to lay perfection aside and embrace this wonderful freedom you can have in Christ.
P.S. Notice I didn't use the word mistake, but imperfect choices. I do not believe my son was a mistake and will never use that title to describe him. Both of my children are a blessing from God. Through trusting me with their lives and upbringing it has brought me closer to Him and shown me how much love plays an impact our our lives in the most beautiful ways. At the age of 38 I had a complete hysterectomy due to sever endometriosis. My doctor said it was the worse case she had seen in 10 years and couldn't have had more children if I wanted them. He gave me a blessing when I didn't know I would have wanted or needed it. God is good all the time!
2 thoughts on “Perfection is my Enemy”
Well told, and so moving. Thank you. Your story is told every day by a 14-year-old girl. I hope as believers we have the compassion to bring joy and support to motherhood instead of the harsh response you experienced. -Grammye
Thank you so much, your support is welcomed! My son will be 28 this Sunday, and it still amazes me how blessed I am to be his mother, I still get questioned til this day, because I look so young and have a grandaughter…but the judgment doesn’t effect me as it once did…I stand proud of my store and the love God has showered on my life!