Banish the Perfectionist in
By Laura J. Bagby
Here you are once again facing the same problem with the
same overwhelming feelings that have a stranglehold on you. Your
brain goes dead, your tongue gets tied, and the well of ideas
dries up. You are completely washed up, you have got nothing left
to give, and you are over it. You have reached that proverbial
state referred to as "hitting a wall."
You are about to sink further into that familiar cycle of depression
when your well-meaning friend shouts enthusiastically, "Just face
that problem! Be an overcomer! You have the victory!" Like a cheerleader
on the sidelines of your life, your friend is chanting, "Don't
sit down and bawl. Get going and scale that wall!"
On a typical day, you hear those words and you go in armed and
ready to fight your Goliath till the bitter end. You are ready
to RUMBLE! No matter that you have the flu and you are playing
on the soggiest field known to man; you are going to make that
But then there are days when you can't shake it off, and so you
opt to 1) give in to your self-pity and stay in bed all day or
(2) blame everyone else for your inability to surmount that big
Once you have reached that No-Can-Do, I-Simply-Can't-Beat-It
stage, your perception on reality needs an overhaul because it
might just be warped. And when that happens, your friend's encouraging
words might sound to you more like a hollow and harsh string of
sentences like this: "You must be a loser because this is the
umpteenth time you have been unable to get around this obstacle.
If you were a better Christian you wouldn't be struggling with
this problem, now would you? Look, I don't care if you are exhausted
and perplexed. You just simply must get over this. You are giving
me a headache."
To your mind, your clueless friend has just told you what you
knew all along: You are a loser, a disappointment to people and
even more of a disappointment to God. Stunned, you react like
molasses in a snowstorm: blinded by what horror is looming in
front of you and nearly crystallized by the freezing weather.
You react to a perceived chill in the room. Meanwhile, your friend
can't understand why you aren't following the road to success
with heart-felt passion.
This scenario could have been avoided if you had realized that
it isn't always what someone says that gets you stirred up inside.
Rather, it is your inaccurate and negative frame of reference
that you use to interpret what gets said that can cause emotional
and mental paralysis.
I know; I have been there many times. When I forget to take every
thought captive, when I forget to really own who I am in Christ
according to what Scripture says, and when I forget to choose
to think on what is pure and lovely and true and good, my performance-based
viewpoint rules the way I think about myself and my problems.
I forget about God's grace and instead fear God's wrath. I just
know I will never be wonderful enough, smart enough, pretty enough,
wise enough, or successful enough.
I envision myself as the eternally crowned "Miss Unlovable and
Never Good Enough" dressed in a tattered, poorly tailored dress,
clomping down the runway in only one ugly and mismatched shoe
in a pageant called "Miss Failure of the Universe." I clutch my
bouquet of rotten tomatoes as the audience laughs hysterically.
With that picture going through my head, it is hard to believe
that I am completely accepted in the Beloved. I have spent all
my energy being a human doing, propelled to try harder and do
more, that I have forgotten that God intended me to be a human
being. I was created to be, resting in the arms of the one who
is completely comfortable with this world that I don't know, this
world of being. They call Him "The Great I Am" and not, as I often
wrongfully consider, "The Great I Do."
Before you wither away under exhaustion or cry yourself completely
into the bathroom towel, do this: Go to the Lord. It might seem
more natural or more productive to talk to a friend first. Resist
the temptation. Your friend is not God. However, God is God and
He intimately knows your problem or problems. He isn't mad at
you. He isn't disappointed in you. Nothing can separate you from
God's love, not even your wrong perceptions.
God knows that you have wrong perceptions throughout life, and
that is exactly why He tells you to take your thoughts captive.
Ask God to change your mind about your situation. Ask Him to show
you how to think about your situation so that you won't get shipwrecked
by your feelings. Let God tell you through His Word and His Holy
Spirit that everything is going to be OK because He is the same
yesterday, today, and forever. Let God tell you that He has good
plans for you. Let God tell you that everything works to the good
for those who love Him. Let God tell you that you can give Him
your burdens because He cares for you.
Then once you have gained peace, strength, wisdom, and security
from the Lord, you can hear the words of another correctly and
hold his or her words in proper judgment. You can esteem and value
your friend, instead of seeing your friend as an enemy out to
prove your lack of worth. And if your friend does say something
that is out of line, you will be secure in knowing what God thinks
about you, and you will be able to let those words roll off of
you without harboring bitterness.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give
you rest" (Matthew 11:28, NIV).
CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.