Last week I had a mini meltdown because I was overwhelmed by everything that I felt was not perfect in my life.
The never ending laundry, messy rooms, messy bathrooms, missing trim around a door, dirty carpet, debt, not enough time in my day, an older child who asked how to spell “hello”!!!, and my own character flaws.
It came down to the fact that I want my life to be perfect (at least perfect in my eyes) and I was tired of the fact that it wasn’t.
But chasing perfectionism is like chasing a phantom.
You can’t catch it.
Perfectionism, as we desire it, does not exist. Yet we spend hours, days, years, and tears chasing this illusive dream.
What does Chasing the Perfect Life lead to?
I have found that chasing after the perfect life does not lead to joy. Instead it leads to frustration, guilt, poor sleep, anger, and bitterness.
Have you experienced this too?
The quest for perfectionism is a lonely quest. It stems from selfishness and therefore we end up striving alone. We try to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and think that if we just do better, work harder, fill our week to almost bursting, and stay up later we can achieve all the things we feel pressured to achieve, for ourselves and our families.
Having a neat home is a good thing. And it is admirable to work at getting out of debt, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, teaching our children manners (or spelling), and being involved in extracurricular activities. The problem comes in our relentless pursuit of these things as if by them we will be made whole.
I promise you that chasing after perfection will wear us out, rob us of joy, stress our families, and lead us to forget God.
I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.
What Should We Chase Instead?
I know this answer may seem like a trite, Sunday School answer, but it’s the answer to all of our hopes, dreams and problems. When we pursue Christ all other things begin to fall into place.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
We find Jesus and his righteousness in the pages of a book that is often neglected. If we would only remember how powerful and life changing this book is, we would treasure it so much more. When we hold our Bibles we are holding a weapon stronger than anything man has ever made–”the sword of the spirit” which is the word of God.
This sword reaches deep into our hearts killing the lies that the world feeds us and tearing down the idols that we build. Our minds are renewed and our hearts are filled with truth. Truth that shows us that we have value beyond measure, love without ending, and acceptance no matter what our home looks like or the status of our bank account or the behavior of our children.
Our desire for perfection is fully met in our perfect Savior. He was perfect in all He did and part of our salvation is the imputation of his righteousness to us.
How Do We Find Peaceful Living?
If we want peace in our circumstances, fruitfulness is our work, and the achievements of our goals, then we need to look to Jesus. He not only saved us from sin, death, and hell, but also from a life of worldly-mindedness and our attempts to make ourselves perfect. This is grace upon grace.
The temptation to find perfection in this life is real and it is persuasive. Combating this desire for perfectionism is a spiritual battle that is waged by faith in the truth.
I am learning that while I will not find perfection in this world, I have found it in Jesus. And that is a better kind of perfection. One that I cannot lose.
*Let’s talk: Have you ever experienced this vain pursuit of the perfect life? How did it affect you?
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