Perfection is the Goal

per·fec·tion·ist  /pərˈfekSH(ə)nəst/
noun
  1. a person who refuses to accept any standard short of perfection.
    “he was a perfectionist who worked slowly”
    synonyms: purist, stickler for perfection, idealist;

    “the just-so placement of every little figurine and throw pillow immediately gave him away as a perfectionist”

I admit it; I’m a perfectionist. I like to get things right and won’t stop until it’s just so. I like order, neatness, and cleanliness (it’s next to Godliness, right?- just kidding!). When you think about it, though; what is the alternative? If we aren’t aiming for perfection, what are we aiming for?

I always find it odd that people look down on perfectionism as if it’s evil. Being a perfectionist is associated with being overbearing, always anxious, and stressed at the slightest ball of lint being on a piece of furniture. Perfectionists always have things together (at least that is what we are told) and fall to pieces when even the smallest item is out-of-order.

What if we are looking at perfectionism all wrong? Maybe we ought to applaud those who seek to get things right. Instead of berating others for being ‘perfect’ maybe we should celebrate their effort. Look at the alternative…

Instead of seeking perfection, we have people who eagerly look to be bad. There are those more than willing to fulfill the ‘bad boy’ role and find new ways to get themselves into trouble. Instead of perfection, we have people who are content with being mediocre. Some are willing to simply skate by in life; they have no high aspirations outside of themselves and are okay with barely making it.

As Christians, our goal is to be like Christ. Christ was perfect. So, in essence, if we are trying to be like Christ, aren’t we trying for perfection? I think so.

Honestly, I don’t think the problem lies in trying to be perfect. No, the problem is in how this manifests itself. Perfection is a goal we should attempt, with the understanding that we’ll never actually reach it this side of heaven. Attempting perfection only becomes a problem when we allow it to overwhelm us and take over our lives. Instead of seeing perfection as our end goal, we panic over the fact that we haven’t reached it today. We need to keep the target in mind and simply take one day at a time; getting better with each passing moment.

As homeschoolers, we can be tempted to see perfection as a poison in our homes. Who needs the pressure of finding the perfect curriculum or the perfect routine? But, this isn’t what is meant by being perfect. Being perfect is who we are as people, not which day-to-day routines we follow through with. It is our character which we are seeking to perfect; not our chores.

As parents, this too can be overwhelming. Are we perfect parents; are we training our children to be perfect adults? Again, I think we are looking at this wrong. We are going to make mistakes, we are going to fail at times; this doesn’t mean we should not try to constantly do better, hoping to one day conquer a particular area of our life and move onto yet another area which needs work.

Perfection is simple; it’s choosing to not accept less than what is perfect. Not the perfect house, not the perfect outfit, but perfect character. So, yes; I am a perfectionist. But is this really a bad thing?

Time to Chime In: Do you think perfection can be reached this side of heaven?

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12 thoughts on “Perfection is the Goal

  1. Great post! I’m in agreement with you…

    I don’t think perfection can be reached in this world; oh, there might be moments when something appears perfect (a letter with no mistakes, for example) but striving for perfection isn’t about one thing, it’s so much more. It’s choosing to do our best.

    Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. No – it can’t be. We’re not Christ. Yes, we are aiming to become like Him, but we are human. And no matter what we do that we think is perfect, He can do it better.
    The problem, I believe, is the anxiety that comes with it as you mentioned – because for many, as they strive for perfection, they actually take themselves farther away from it. The more I strive to be ‘perfect’ in my housecleaning, cooking, homeschooling, etc., the more anxious I become and probably less ‘Christian’ like in my mood and behaviors. So I do see the evil in striving for perfection. When I accept that it’s okay not to be perfect – that it doesn’t have to be ‘just so’ and mistakes are glorious in and of themselves, the closer I am to God…and that’s what it’s all about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think we can accept we are not going to be perfect on this earth and yet still try for it; one does not negate the other. One is the end goal and one is the journey.

      This should be a fun conversation! Thanks for contributing. 🙂

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    • I totally agree. I think trying to be perfect cam take us away from just plain loving God. I’m thinking of the story of Martha and Mary, where Martha got frustrated with Mary for not helping, but Jesus just wanted Mary to listen… For myself, I can get distracted with trying to do all the chores “perfectly” , and get frustrated with the little “interruptions” God has blessed me with (ie the kids). Maybe this is just me though… but I do agree with the post though that it is good to strive for perfect character.

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      • I think the story of Martha and Mary is a great story to illustrate this point! Mary was getting distracted by the moment and not focusing on the end goal. Martha knew what was truly important and how to keep things in perspective.

        Again, being perfect isn’t about the things around you, but an inner character goal. It’s when we get distracted by the momentary that we forget what true perfection really is: being like Christ!

        What Mary was doing, cooking and preparing, wasn’t wrong; she was just doing it at the wrong time and in the wrong manner. We need to be careful of the same dangers.

        So far, this has been a fun discussion! Let’s keep it going.

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  3. I have to admit, I am far from being a perfectionist. I am more the type who likes to get things finished and move on to the next thing.
    But I think you’re very right to remember that our aim is to be Christ-like. We aim high, we fall short, then we get up the next day and try again.

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  4. I had never thought of this in those terms. I am one who rants against ‘perfectionism’, but in the context of women being enslaved to some unrealistic standard of perfection (usually outward) that they somehow think they can achieve if only they work hard enough. That is poison.

    What you describe here is different. Balanced. Christ-centered and character-motivated. I do think we are all called to aspire to being perfect like Jesus, though I don’t think we will attain it. That is not the point. The point is a continual growing toward Christ-likeness, not actually becoming sin free and without blemish. In our Father’s eyes, we are already without stain, perfect and free under the covering of His son. It is up to us to do our best to live up to our family name. No more, no less.

    Nicely put. Thought-provoking post!

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  5. I used to think the concept of perfection was the ultimate goal and measure of success in life, so I pursued just about everything I did with that mindset. Over the years though, I’ve learned excellence is a far better mindset to adopt so I’ve adjusted my terminology. The passion, planning and dedication to the process remains but the pressure I put on myself has lessened. I realized perfection is a subjective concept – we all have our definition of what that means – so I shifted my focus and pursued things differently. As a result, I find I am a happier person when I let go of expectations and live fully in the present moment – allowing life to bring whatever experiences it is meant to bring me; to shape and mold me into the full individual I am meant to be. For me, that’s become a truer form and measure of excellence in life. Great topic and discussion. 🙂

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  6. I’m completely a perfectionist, and I’ve always berated myself because of it. Thank you for this post; it’s challenged me to rethink things. After all, God created me, knows my innermost thoughts and modus operandi, so He must understand our tendency for perfection. Most importantly, if that tendency causes issues, grace wins out. Every time.

    Like

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