“Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.” 1 Samuel 12:24
Perfectionists argue and rationalize that their eye for detail, an “all-in” attitude, and an obsession to get it right every time, are the fuel that drives them to success. No doubt there is some truth to this. Paradoxically, however, the pernicious side of perfectionism can produce procrastination that inhibits completion of things, or from even getting started on something at all for fear of failure. The fear of not living up to one’s own, or other’s presumed, high expectations and standards can be paralyzing. Getting lost in unnecessary details, and endless research looking for just the right inspiration or information, often results in missed deadlines and low productivity. Worse still, such perfectionist tendencies can lead to various forms of stress and anxiety disorders.
Perhaps you can relate to these positive and negative aspects of perfectionism. I know I can. When I feel frozen for fear of failure, or anxious about disappointing God and others, I am greatly helped by recalling how in spite of my imperfections, God’s love for me in Christ is perfect. Jesus lived the perfect life I should have lived, for me in my place; and, as an atoning sacrifice he also died in my place on the cross, paying in full and forever the debt of my many sins and failures. Believing this gospel truth quells my fear of condemnation and rejection because my acceptance and self-worth is not based on my performance any longer, but on Christ’s performance and perfect work alone.
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:31-35, 37
Rejoice and remember what great things Jesus has accomplished and secured for you. It will conquer your fear of failure and propel you past your procrastination so that you may flourish more joyfully in your faith.