A Christian View on Perfectionism
One of the biggest things I teach in group settings is around perfectionism. It is truly a scourge of humanity. I believe that because we have the capacity to eventually be perfected, we have an innate drive in us to do so. However, the world's definition of "perfect" and the what the very God who created us meant by "perfect" are two different things. The one actually pulls us down, stunting our progress, and the other coaxes us to become better each day, allowing for all our "humanness". So now I hope you can see why I use a Christian view on this topic. The Bible and The Book Of Mormon blow the whole thing wide open in a way that is simply undeniable.
So let’s dive in!
Society has changed the meaning of words throughout time. You’ve probably seen it yourself as cultures progress, or digress in certain areas. Let’s take the word “literally”. We all know that it means something that is actually happening, but we as a society have changed it to add emphasis on the point we are trying to make. Check out this website if you’re curious about how other words have changed: https://theculturetrip.com/europe/articles/10-english-words-that-have-completely-changed-meaning/
We have also changed the word “perfect” to mean “flawless” or without blemish or defect. This is not the origin of the word.
The word actually means “complete”
In the Bible, Jesus is giving his followers the laws he expect them to follow to be his disciples (which is a student of Him) He sums up the chapter in Matt 5:48 by stating:
48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Now to you this commandment might seem very overwhelming, but to the people living in that time period, who understood the Hebrew language it actually was a call for the people to be: complete, finished, fully developed and even “spiritual reborn” –fulfilling the measure of their creation.
I also believe the Book of Mormon to be true and have found that it gives us puzzle pieces that help to create a more complete picture.
Let me show you how-
In that book it records a time when Christ came back to the American continent after completing His mission, and showed the people his resurrected body. He let all come unto him and blessed them and their children. It is a beautiful story to read. Within those verses, Christ again offers teachings to these people that is very similar to the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew,
except one thing–
in 3 Ne. 12:48 he states:
48 Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.
Did you catch the difference? In this version Christ was able to include himself as an example of “perfect” because he completed his mission. It was finished.
So how do we use this information?
Well, it’s up to you.
What does it mean to you to fulfill the measure of YOUR creation?
That is something only God and you can work out.
Shun the noise of the world yelling at you that you aren’t good enough for IT’S standards. What does the world expect? Flawlessness. That doesn’t exist here my friends! Stop striving for the unattainable. It is exhausting.
So, does that mean we shouldn’t make goals and try to be the best we can be?
Of course not! What DOES God expect of us? Just that!
To try our best to live full, complete, individual lives- loving Him, and helping others on our way!
So when you find yourself feeling like you are overwhelmed, spinning your wheels, or that everything is falling apart, maybe let it.
Check in with yourself and ask- Who am I trying to please? God and myself, or the World?
Journey back home to the "you" you left behind, and the God who created you.
Rekindle that peace in knowing you are beautifully unique.
“By being yourself you put something wonderful in the world that was not there before.” – Edwin Elliott