Regarding unrealistic expectations

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Today, I want to wonder whether or not God wants to prune a branch related to perfectionism.

On the face of it, I think most of us would say, “I’m not a perfectionist.” And technically speaking, maybe only a small percentage of us are.

However, I’d like to suggest that anyone who is a son of Adam or daughter of Eve exhibits some of the tendencies described by this definition of perfectionism from the field of psychology:

Perfectionism is a broad personality trait characterized by a person’s concern with striving for flawlessness and is accompanied by critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations.

To me, this is a great description of why we wear fig leaves. Based on our own critical self-evaluation and the assumption that others are critically evaluating us, we become overly concerned with projecting some aspect of ourselves as flawless.

Even if we’re not perfectionists about all things, we are likely perfectionists about some things, whether that be our morals, our achievements, our looks, or our landscaping.

This way of being can become quite toxic.

First, because it can prevent us from taking any risks for God—the best way to maintain flawlessness is to keep yourself from trying anything new or challenging.

Second, because it can paralyze us—out of a fear of failure, we choose inaction.

Third, because we stop believing in unconditional love—instead, we expect affection and approval to be dependent on a flawless performance.

And fourth, because this tendency rubs off on the way we treat others—when we are perfectionistic, we can’t help but impose unrealistic standards of perfection on others.

Surely, God wants to prune branches that lead to toxicity so that we might bear fruit instead.  

By the Spirit’s power, we need to fully ingest that we are not only flawed, but also finite. Even if we were unscathed by Genesis 3, we would still be creatures incapable of being fully like the Creator. Perfection, in any realm, is not attainable. We all “fall short.” We all “miss the mark.” So, we lean heavily on our perfect God’s perfect capacity to save. When we trust in Him, He forgives our shortcomings, imperfections, and iniquities. We can stop striving for the unrealistic and unattainable.

TODAY’s PRAYER: Lord, show me any places where I am perfectionistic. Show me also those places where I expect others to be perfect. I want you to prune from me unrealistic expectations and help me lean entirely on You.

For what it’s worth, this post could have been much more perfect. But God is constantly urging me to practice what I preach. So, I’m satisfied with “good enough” instead of perfection. I’m trusting that even though it is imperfect, it will be used for good, even in some small way.

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