Prisoners of Perfectionism…

International Women’s tennis has become incredibly popular in the last few years. But the personal stories of the champions reveal a sad and consistent trait: how many of the young women—some just teenagers— are pushed to perform by domineering fathers. Yugoslavian Jelena Dokic, French Mary Pierce, German Steffi Graf, and Americans Venus and Serena Williams have all suffered at the hands of fathers, who were criminal, abusive, lying, or domineering in their quests for their daughters’ perfection. These young women were made to feel that any failure to achieve would result in the loss of their father’s love.1

Have you ever been made to feel that way?

“He [God] has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” – Hebrews 13:5

“God calls you to be a pursuer of excellence, not a prisoner of perfectionism.” -June Hunt

Q: “Aren’t Christians called to be perfect?”

Christians are to aim for maturity, wholeness, and completeness.

Wrong: “Christians are expected to be perfect— faultless and flawless.”

Right: Christians are expected to be perfect— mature and whole.

“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” -Matthew 5:48

Q: “What is the difference between being perfectionistic and aiming for excellence?”

Perfectionists feel defeated if they are found at fault in any area. However, Christians are called to rise over and above immaturity, to excel in maturity.

“Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” -James 1:4 NIV

Q: “Doesn’t everyone want a perfectionistic doctor or lawyer or employee?”

No. When new approaches are needed, perfectionists are less flexible to try new ideas or procedures. No matter what our occupation, we are to do our work as though we are working for the Lord.

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” -Colossians 3:23

Key Verse to Memorize

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” -John 15:5

Key Passage to Read and Reread

Philippians 3:1–14

Click here for the PDF version of the complete Perfectionism Resource Guide provided by Hope for the Heart.