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Are You Living By a Standard of Grace or Perfection?

I have no words. What is left to say after a number of weeks filled with one difficult situation after another? I didn’t have a perfect response. I certainly didn’t feel like I was gifted with opportunities of grace either. Emptiness—that’s how I felt. Perfectionism rearing its head again—only to reveal a trailing hollowness. Still no words.
A family member filed for divorce. A niece was born two months early. A business contract I had negotiated, ended up being with a company steeped in questionable beliefs. Our little family had back–to–back food poisoning.

 

What are you supposed to do with rock hard times likes this?

 

Ever feel the same way? No words, just big heavy sighs because you feel like you’ve failed others and everything you touch?

Life is Messy and It’s Not Perfect

Whether it’s your own situation or things that are in your sphere of relationships—life is messy. A life that is peaceful and simple—wouldn’t that be nice? Somehow, something, always gets in the way of how things should be. Right?

Holding Yourself to a Standard

But, you wanna know something about that wrestle? It’s possible that the struggle is because you’re holding yourself to a standard of perfection. Those beliefs that you hold yourself to, might just be a veil—something you think, but it might not really be true. Instead, it could be something more self destructive—a rock that weighs you down.

Have you ever thought or said one of these?

  • It’s all my fault.
  • I can fix this.
  • I’m not doing enough.
  • I’m a failure. I can’t do anything right no matter what I do.
  • Things are going wrong, because I haven’t been reading my Bible.

On the surface, these phrases may not seem harmful, but they reveal some core beliefs. How do I know this? Because, what you really believe is revealed by what you say and do. These phrases—rocks that weigh you down—they are really putting a a lot of pressure on you. In reality, they’re based on something that simply isn’t true. Let’s take a look at these rocks more closely.

5 Rocks of Perfection

 

Rock 1— It’s All My Fault

If I could, I would underline the word ALL like a million times. When you feel like things are “all your fault”—you really feel like everything is weighing on you!! Sometimes it may be that you feel like you directly caused a situation by either doing something or not doing something. What’s so hard about it, is in the process you take complete responsibility when many factors are involved and likely, it’s not your fault at all. The truth is, you are not a scapegoat.

Rock 2I Can Fix This

Isn’t it funny how when something goes wrong, you naturally want to fix it? Your response can be harmless, but it can become harmful when it controls your entire focus. What happens next? Fixing a problem ends up taking precedence over people. It ends up being about just fixing things for the sake of saying, “I fixed it.” The truth is, sometimes, you can’t fix it and fixing it, might not be the answer.

Rock 3 – I’m Not Doing Enough

If you’re a people pleaser, you will always have opportunities. You’re the one who finds it easy to help others out. Self critical thoughts become your new normal. You feel like you don’t do enough, but you can always do more. Do you regularly tend to over extend yourself and be unrealistic in your own expectations? The truth is, there will always be more to do.

Rock 4 — I’m a Failure. I Can’t Do Anything Right No Matter What I Do

When you already feel like things aren’t going right, it’s easy to turn inward. Personally, I believe that this is one of the heaviest rocks of perfection. It initiates a downward spiral of “If only…I did this, or said this, or this happened…things would be different.” As it pulls you down in heaviness, it becomes easier to pick up other rocks too, like, self critical and scapegoat. The truth is, you’re identity is not in what you do, but who you are.

Rock 5 — Things are Going Wrong, Because I Haven’t Been Reading My Bible

Could this be conviction, or is it condemnation? The enemy would love to whisper lies of condemnation to capitalize on what you may already be believing about yourself. Conviction by the Holy Spirit is an invitation. Do these words sound inviting? The enemy speaks lies, but the Lord is loving and compassionate. The truth is, we live in a broken world and bad things happen.

 

Put all these rocks of perfection together and it’ll break your back! It’s hard to recognize these standards of perfection. They’re kind of sneaky because they do a pretty good job of convincing us that we’re doing good and we’re serving others. These beliefs sound like, “You’re just trying to be helpful.” Sometimes they even affirm a more damaging belief, like it could be that you’re just responding this way because it’s the way you were made. Another common answer is that it’s been shaped by your hurtful past.

Moments of Learning

Living by a standard of perfection often will zap your strength emotionally draining life out of you. For me, being faced with a family member’s divorce, a new life coming into the world so early, a poor business decision, and sickness—they all knocked the wind out of me. In my perfectionism, I wanted to fix things. I wanted to figure out what I did wrong. Yet, everything happened all at once that I simply didn’t know how to respond. dot…dot…dot…

God’s Gifts of Grace to Me

Times like these, truly can be moments of learning how to hold yourself to a standard of grace, not perfection. It’s in the stress of life where God gives opportunities to see and walk in His grace. God knew just what I needed before I knew it, and the same is true for you. I’ll be sharing more thoughts in my next post, 5 Reasons That Free You From Being Perfect.
Life is messy. Isn't it true that when it rains it pours? It's the touch times in life when you get tested. Ever feel like you just can't keep up? Or that it's too overwhelming? Although we'd like it, a perfect world doesn't exist. But there's something better...it's a standard of grace. Read more about my story—and what's in store for you too.

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