Thursday, April 21, 2011

Kick Perfectionism to the Curb

So after this week's post I trust you see how counterproductive perfectionism is. It is not our friend! It works us like a slave. Or else, paralyzes us from accomplishing anything for fear of not performing perfectly. It saps our joy, sidelines us from opportunities, and erodes our relationships.

Are you are ready to kick it to the curb?

Great! – but you’re probably gonna need Jesus in order to do that.

These are deep-seated tendencies. Knee-jerk ways of thinking. Auto-pilot ways of reacting. They will take time, effort and some supernatural help to overcome. But I assure you it can be done. Nothing is impossible with God.

No, that doesn’t mean that if you have God you can work full-time as the top employee, raise 3 well-mannered & high-achieving kids, keep a beautiful large home, cook regularly, serve as PTA vice-president, teach Sunday school, make your own hand-stamped cards, volunteer at the soup kitchen, plant annuals every spring, stick to a vegan diet plan, read a book a week, keep your nail polish from chipping, never forget a friend’s birthday, and run marathons. It means that with God you have all you need for life and godliness – including the ability to overcome the tyranny of perfectionism. (see 2 Peter 1:3)

We have to come back to the sobering truth we started with in chapter 7 of It's No Secret. And that is that “life and godliness” is not about stain-free carpets, blemish-free faces, chip-free nail polish and typo-free reports. It’s about giving and receiving grace and love. It’s the character of our heart, not the surface level issues we’re stressing over. We have to reprogram with this truth.

With all that said, I promised you some practical strategies for overcoming perfectionism. Here are 7 things you can do to kick perfectionistic impluses to the curb:

1) Set small, realistic, reachable goals based on what you have accomplished in the past. This will enable you to rein in unrealistic expectations and experience the satisfaction of achievement. As you reach a reasonable goal, set your next goal one step beyond your present level of accomplishment.

2) Learn to prioritize. Decide which tasks you want to give high priority to and which are are less important to you. On less important tasks, purposely put forth less effort in favor of increased rest and emotional stability.

3) Focus on the process of doing an activity, not just the end result. Evaluate your success not only in terms of what you accomplished but also in terms of how you accomplished it. Did you remain calm and loving? Did you find any joy in the process? Do you have any regrets about how you did that?

4) Use feelings of anxiety or depression as reminders to ask yourself: “Have I set impossible expectations for myself in this situation?” “Am I giving in to fear?” “Have I lost sight of what’s essential in God’s eyes?

5) Confront the fears that may be behind your perfectionism by asking, “What am I afraid of?” “What is the worst thing that could happen?”  "What does the Bible say?”

6) Recall a recent mistake you made and list several things you can learn from it. Mistakes are powerful learning tools. Most growth and success involves learning thru mistakes.

7) Pray daily, giving your stresses and to-do list to Christ to oversee. Meditate on verses like 2 Peter 1:3, Psalm 18:30-32, Ecclesiastes 7:16-18, and 2 Corinthians 12:9.

Have a great weekend with your friends & family. And don’t sweat the small stuff!
Happy Easter my Yahweh Sisters.


  1. Good morning Rachel,

    Thank you for your posts this week. They have added dimension and lots of food for thought (and spiritual growth) to chew on. I'm especially going to nom nom on #3 and #4 from today's post.

    I love as I read your book how much I can relate to you! You use so many examples from your life that make me say, "Hey...she's like me!" :-) In chapter 8 you used redwood trees as an example of an excellent support system. I had an "ah hah" about that a couple of years back, too. (

    And this morning I hit upon a realization. You're Rachel. I'm Leah. Interesting relational dynamic from the bible, hmmm? :-)

    Those were my quirky thoughts today. Hopefully they're good for a laugh!

    I hope you have a very blessed Easter and thank you again for sharing your heart with us gals out here trying to not be so hard on ourselves with our perfectionistic tendencies!


  2. Thank you so much for the thoughts on the blog this morning, I find that I do do things to a perfectionist standard and when it can't be done that way I give up. And often miss a great lesson. As I shared with Melissa I tend to compete with not only trying to be as good knowledgeable and together as others I mostly compete with me and push myself beyond what is reasonable for me. So competing with me is something I am working on this week

    Its been a busy week with lectures and other errands that I've gotten behind a bit in my studies and will be enjoying making them up and seeing the lesson that comes from it.

    Have a great weekend Rachel and Leah from Deborah. I see a biblical theme happening here ,,

  3. Thank for your post. It's really helpfull along with your book. I have a question, how do help the person who has already given up. She is a child of the perfectionist and knows she can't do it so she just gave up trying.

    Debbie H

  4. Debbie H, the first thing you d do is pray for her/him. I have a friend who has give up because she cant see the great things she has to offer others. dont give up on them and keep praying.

  5. Happy Easter, Rachel, and all the Yahweh Sisters!

  6. Happy Easter Rachel,

    I love what you say about mistakes....and how valuable they are. I tell my girls at work everyday not to be afraid to make a mistake because that is how we learn.

    I have really enjoyed your book. This is my second time to read it.... and I am not one to read a book twice :)

  7. Girls, I love how y'all are interacting with each other as well as me here - forming an online sisterhood. :)

    Leah, thankfully I think you and I have too much in common to compete and fight like our biblical counterparts.

    Debbie, email me and tell me more about this gal and her situation and I'll see if I can offer any wisdom. Connecting w/Soul is right, prayer would be a powerful gift to give her. She also needs hope, grace, acceptance and a taste of satisfied accomplishment.

    Can't wait to read y'all's blog posts in the link up this weekend!

  8. Thankfully, Jacob isn't in the we can just be short lil' sisters-in-Christ instead ;-)

    It is interesting we have at least one Deborah in the mix, too! Such fun :-)

  9. AnonymousMay 04, 2011

    Thank you!! I NEEDED this...but HE knew that, didn't HE? ;)



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