The Price of Perfection

I never thought I’d have anything in common with James Cameron.  The man who brought us ‘Titanic: the movie’ and – worse still – a song that goes on

and on

and on

and – (Stop! Make it stop! My ears are BLEEDING)

You get the gist.

But – Celine Dion aside – it turns out that we think in similar categories.  Here’s what he says;

‘People call me a perfectionist, but I’m not.  I’m a rightist: I do something until it’s right, and then I move on to the next thing’.

This I’m afraid, sounds horribly familiar.  It’s my natural pulse – the drive that tells me I’m the best – or I’m nothing. My way or the highway. Right or wrong.  Black or white.  Forget ‘trying’. Success is everything. Perfectionism gets Results.  And results are what make me matter.

This is what I told myself

As I worked through the night to get the top grades.

As I exercised until I could barely walk.

As I starved myself

And tried to be the nicest, smartest, godliest, skinniest, funniest, most successful daughter, wife, sister, friend and Christian.

Perfectionism you see, makes itself at home in all kinds of environments.  Schools.  Homes.  And yes –  even churches.

It looks impressive.  ‘Burning out for Jesus’.  Putting in the  hours.  Going the extra mile. But who are we doing it for?  Him – or us? We talk about giving our best, but sometimes it’s more than this.  It’s being the best.

Perfectionism keeps us perpetually self-absorbed. It transforms community into competition. It makes us fearful, hypercritical, proud, anxious and depressed. It teaches us that mistakes mean failure and that we are God.




2 thoughts on “The Price of Perfection

  1. It’s a very common ailment, Emma. Thankfully, we are loved by a God who is looking for us long before we’ve come to our senses, who is 100% merciful to us amidst our ‘messy-ness’ (which we so often mistake for something better!) – what matters is seeing that – Perfectionism is deadly when it makes us think we are doing OK (or, at least ‘better than others’) – that can be truly crippling.

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