on being perfect :: part two

{part one here :: writing in response to thoughts shared at the Relevant conference}

Earlier this year I read Beth Moore’s newest book, So Long, Insecurity and found one sentence to be a stopper :: one that will stay in my mind for a long time.

“Perfectionism is insecurity in an art form.” Beth writes that statement in such eloquent terms.

A form of art :: where the individual has mastered the striving so well that the results almost seem beautiful, picturesque even and therefore soliciting the adoration of others.  Which of course feeds the cycle of perfectionism/insecurity even more.

In the words of this quote lies the foundation for the ferocious battle of trying to keep it all together all of the time.

FEAR. A fear that drains the color from life.

paintbrushesInsecurity is the desperate fear that we won’t be accepted, applauded, or approved of by whichever group is the focus of our attentions.  So we try harder and do better at keeping up appearances while allowing very little access into the real tender part of us that wonders how much will be enough.

Perfectionism is tricky, a slippery slope indeed.  In my case, my God-given personality is hard-wired for being detailed, orderly and for pursuing excellence.  It’s not a stress factor, just simply the way I am.  Think of Moses and of the necessary focus needed to fully write out God’s law exactly as He gave it :: yep, that’s me.  There is nothing wrong with this!  Let me say that again.

Pursuing excellence is not the problem :: I was born this way with the intention by God that it be used for good and for His glory.  So were you, whatever the personality.

This gift from God becomes a hindrance to me when my strength stretches out too far and becomes my weakness. When the focus of my attention is others and not God’s glory ::  when the approval of God’s favor upon me is based on performance and ‘excellent’ behavior…well, the good gift is misused and misunderstood.

Strengths overextended become weaknesses. But there is a way out of this cycle, this messy path.


An understanding and acceptance of GRACE :: abundant, lavish grace :: that restores all of the color.

the whole series:

part one:  a reformed perfectionist

part two:  perfectionism is insecurity.  insecurity is fear.

final thoughts:  in the grip of grace

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