Simple Steps to Healthy Self-Esteem

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries5 Minutes

Excerpt taken from the Simple Steps to Healthy Self-Esteem by Inspiration Ministries

Perfection Paralysis

If you ever thought you were supposed to be a perfect Christian…that you were supposed to have the perfect family, the perfect faith life, the perfect whatever…then you can toss that idea out the window right now. It’s not going to happen.

Yes, we’re to be imitators of Christ who was perfect, but we can never attain His state of perfection even if we tried…and God knows that. That’s why He’s given us a wonderful thing called grace that covers all our flaws and every sin we could ever commit. As it says:

By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Both salvation and grace are gifts given by God because of His lovingkindness – not through anything we’ve ever earned. Yet how often do we try to earn our salvation through our efforts or by striving for perfection and falling into despair when we miss the mark?

It can become a sort of Perfection Paralysis if we’re not careful. Giving up if we don’t succeed, or bailing from life altogether because of the stress of trying to prove ourselves. We catch this “disease” by trying to carry the heavy load on our own and trusting in ourselves instead of trusting Him.

Here are several helpful steps you can follow to avoid Perfection Paralysis:

Realize that no one is perfect. We might as well get it straight right now: Perfection is an unattainable goal. Scripture says we all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). If we measure ourselves against a standard of perfection, we will only become depressed and hopeless.

Pursue God, not perfection. The pursuit of excellence is a wonderful thing – but not the pursuit of perfection. The goal should not be perfection, but simply to be who God has called us to be.

Focus on the areas you truly can change. We would save ourselves a lot of aggravation if we stopped worrying about things that are impossible to change. This is addressed in Reinhold Niebuhr’s famous “Serenity Prayer”:

God grant me the Serenity to
accept the things I cannot change,
the Courage to change the things I can,
and the Wisdom to know the difference.

Embrace God’s grace. No, this doesn’t mean we have the freedom to live in sin because all our bases are covered. As the Bible says, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Romans 6:1-2). God wants us to pursue holiness and a Spirit-filled lifestyle with every breath we take. In doing so, we have to live continually out of the risen Christ and never out of ourselves.

Steer clear of sin. How do we live in Christ? We deny the flesh and crucify the desires of our flesh. As Jesus says in Matthew 16:24-25, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” We have the righteousness of Christ only when we walk in the Spirit of God.

God Wants Our Hearts

Now understand, avoiding Perfection Paralysis doesn’t mean scrapping spiritual goals in life. It’s critical we do everything necessary for our Christian walk like praying, reading the Word, and spending time in His presence.
But our goal in doing these things shouldn’t be to attain perfection within ourselves. Our goal should be to become more intimate with our Father and to grow stronger in our love for Him.

God’s after our hearts, not perfection. After all, we could do everything perfectly and still not have a heart solely devoted to Him.