Hello, I am a Perfectionist

Hello, I am a perfectionist. I frequently chase after perfection, and I let my performance define me. Obviously this is quite a letdown, and my life is consequently riddled by anxiety. I am tangled in fear because I live the life of an irony. I am a perfectionist, yet I can never be perfect. And I know this truth. Yet I still try. Why am I so addicted to perfection when I know Jesus has paid it all?

Christ has already redeemed me for all of eternity. So why does fear control me? What have I not surrendered to God that is holding back the peace of Jesus from reigning in my heart? What is it, deep down, that is really the cause here? What am I actually afraid of?

The answer I keep coming back to is surprising. But what I’ve found is that the thing I’m truly afraid of is myself. I’m scared of myself. I’m scared of what I do, what I’m capable of. I’m afraid of messing up. Of failing. More accurately, of being a failure.

This is the real irony: I perpetually define myself by my performance, but my truest fear is that others will define me by my actions. They will look at me and see all the ways I’ve failed, and they will call me a failure.

I have lived in the shadow of these lies. And they are just that, lies. I am not what I do. My actions are part of my story, but they are not part of who I am. The truth is that I am who God says I am. I was created out of an overflow of God’s love. He made me to be in a relationship with Him that is characterized by love. I can have confidence that God does love me.

He spoke the words on the cross. His arms stretched wide, and with the breath dying within him, Jesus looked down at his crucifiers. They were killing him with such brutal torture and explicit shame. Yet in response, He said, “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34). He dropped his chin on his chest. His body trembled violently as He tried in vain to suck another full breath. The blood streamed from his forehead and filled his eyes.

This is for you, my dear friends. I will be your final sacrifice. Because I love you just as you are. Yes, you are sinners. But in the beginning, I created you. I formed you and called you good. You were once mine, and I will always love you. Nothing you will ever do will be enough. You will never be enough. But I am your enough. “It is finished” (John 19:30). 

Jesus showed his love for us because even while we were still sinners, He died for us (Romans 5:8). This is the unfathomable extent of the love of God.

I am the one who continues to set impossibly high standards on myself. God knows I am incapable. I am the one who struggles to forgive myself. God has freely forgiven everything. I am the one who is so scared people will define me by my actions. God calls me Created, Chosen, Redeemed.

Christ will always be enough for me. Even when I mess up. Even when I make mistakes. He is enough, because He is worthy to cover all of it. Jesus is the perfect “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). It’s not up to me. It never was. So I can live, I can breathe, in the freedom that Christ has bought for me.

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