Let’s start at the very beginning

a very good place to start.  Whenever I find that I’m wrestling with a particular problem, I go to the Word.  I have found when I know what I’m dealing with and I know what the Word says about it, I stand a better chance of wielding the Sword against it.

Furthermore, when I know what the Word says, I know how to “put off” that which is tripping me up and I know how to “put on” the Truth that the Lord would have me walk in.

SO, to the Word I went.  When I completed a search, (and I have 4 versions here and searched through 3 others on line) I find nothing. So, that tells me something….NOT that perfectionism isn’t a problem, but rather that I’m not calling it by its proper word/name.

So, dear ladies, what do you think the correct Biblical word might be?  Once we have an understanding of that, we’ll have a better idea how to put it off in our lives and what Godly attribute it is that we’re to be putting on, in its place.

18 Responses to “Let’s start at the very beginning”
  1. Melanie says:

    hmmmm, I think perhapsDawnP had it with “pride”?? [it would definitely be a major surgery to address that affliction here]

  2. Melanie says:

    …at least I think that it is pride when I expect myself and others to do things/be “”perfect””

  3. Melanie says:

    since you’re not posting yet, I’ll comment yet again 😉

    I remember a mixer at a retreat where we interviewed someone, then had to introduce him/her to the rest of the group. We had a form to complete during our interview to guide the conversation… Two questions: What is your greatest strength? What is your greatest weakness? One guy answered with the same answer: Perfectionism.

    AHA — light bulb moment for me. {I wasn’t married yet 😉 so it was still “easy being me”}

  4. DawnP says:

    I think you are approaching this the right way, Dawn. Yes, pride. The other things I think about (these are “scriptural”, but no time for precise references right now) are “men-pleasers – pleasing men and not God” – fearing men more than God; the sin of COMPARING; the sin of discontentment, and the sin of thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought. I am thinking of exact verses here… but must get back to the busyness here, so forgive me for not citing them now. Oh, yes I agree with Melanie that the worst is that I often expect too much of others, namely my children .

  5. Susan PA says:

    Yeah, I was thinking about it. I definitely had a tendency to perfectionism (and still do) — but I am not sure it is all bad. I like that: my greatest strength and my greatest weakness.


    In my humble opinion. Susan

  6. javadawn says:

    Susan, I would have said that a while ago myself….now here is what I’m wrestling with – is the positive side really diligence that I’m called to Biblically, while the negative side of perfectionism is pride? Just thinking. Not a complete thought…just pondering. I’m looking forward to hashing this out with you all.

  7. valerie says:

    Yeah – probably pride. Also, the desire for ‘self’ to be in control, holding it all together, instead of taking on His burden, His yoke, allowing Him to be in control.

  8. May I have permission to kick this up a notch? “Pride” and “the desire for self to be in control” (Guilty on both counts, your honor) sounds suspiciously like the sin of idolatry to me….putting ourselves in a position to which only God belongs. Even the word itself — perfectionism–who is perfect but God alone?

    Just thinking out loud at this point, processing really…but when I struggle with perfectionism I am always trying to do things in my own strength. But when I am living by the Spirit, diligence (and grace) is the rule.

  9. valerie says:

    I’m just going to comment again, just because wordpress is letting me comment again.

    (note that I have nothing to say, other than that….heh!)

  10. javadawn says:

    😆 Valerie, you crack me up.

    udh, and THAT is exactly where I was coming out, after chewing on this for a few days.

  11. myderbe says:

    All I have to say is . . . Ouch! My toes hurt!


  12. Margie says:

    Hmmm, this is a great discussion. I’m thinking that I would have to agree with UNDIVIDEDHEART. But definately will ponder the question and get back with you.

  13. Sarah says:

    Our dear friend who’s been a youth pastor for years tells the students that ALL sin falls in at least one of the three Biblical categories: lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and the pride of life.

    My perfectionism — while, as we’ve all agreed, can be a great driving force for excellence — tends to negatively fall in all three categories. I see how “it” should be done (whether by my own standards or perceived of someone else) and want “it” to be preciesly what those expectations mandate. My flesh craves the affirmation of those who stand in awe of my abilities, craves the satisfaction of proving to myself that I’m good enough because “it” turned out right. “It” becomes a place to point to — or point back to — to say, See? Look at me! I’m SuperWoman/Wife/Mom/Friend/MeaninglessLabel/Approval Junkie (oops… did I get too honest for national television???) I begin to base my satisfaction, identity, worthiness, comfort on achieving “it” the right way.
    All the while, the LORD my Maker is my Very Great Reward… and He’s standing in the corner of my mind waiting to knock “it” down.
    Ugh… perfectionism…

  14. Mrs. Nehemiah says:

    maybe it’s hypocrisy. I find that the things I tend to dislike in others, laziness, disorganization, inhospitable, temper tantrums, are the same things that I try to hide (or rationalize away)in my own life.
    Mrs N

  15. Susan PA says:

    Well, I just call perfectionism my name for “wanting it right.”

    And I tend to look at my sins (lack of charity, or hypocrisy, or selfishness, or whatever — lots) in that light. But I don’t shoot the perfectionism. I try to repent of the sins, but I don’t want to kill the desire for excellence (in the correct amount, which is a judgment call). (I am learning to do a VERY quick bathroom swipe sometimes, if I don’t have time for more. The old Flylady chores not done right can still bless your family. (I didn’t quote. :))

    I was the little girl who would “mess up” some art project I was doing and cry, “IT’S RUINED!!!” and tear and crumple it in a frenzy (totally bewildering my mother, who is not such a perfectionist). But as I grew up more, I did learn more of her message: it’s just an opportunity for doing it a different way. And I do see now that I CANNOT be “perfect” in everything. And most things don’t really MATTER so much.

    I’m not even really very GOOD at some things (nature drawings) — but it’s better than not doing it at all (in moderation). (Art is not one of my own personal callings.) But for some things, it is IMPORTANT to do it RIGHT (as right as I am able) — and that is what I do not want to kill in myself. Say art WAS my calling — to me it would be important then to do it as perfectly as I was able, even if it meant doing it again and again.

    Now, your later example of cleaning the house for the Boy Scouts, or the office managers. In 26 years of marriage, I don’t think my husband has EVER brought someone unannounced, and he has barely brought office people home at ALL, but I have had Mennonite neighbors drop in unannounced, on the one day I chose to leave the lunch crud all over the kitchen and take a much- needed nap with my babies (had 4 under 6 then) (or maybe was expecting #4). After that humiliation, I decided that moderation helped. Force myself just to quick wipe up and clean up the lunch, THEN go take the much-needed nap. Yep, I was avoiding humiliation, but I wasn’t going to extremes, dusting and mopping and such. Just trying to get rid of the obvious humiliation. I have never felt guilty for that decision. Should I??

    Just musing… Susan

  16. javadawn says:

    Susan, Jeff has never brought people in unannounced, either…well, okay, but only once or twice and it wasn’t for a meal.

    As for the drop in guests….UGH – been there, done that. I can just about guarantee that any time my house is a total disaster, my neatestnick neighbor or friend is going to drop in. 🙄 (I remember a Mennonite friend popping in when I had had less than 2 hrs sleep for the second night in a row and I was flopped out on the sofa sleeping, with the kiddos sleeping with me and the house a P.I.T.! She was HORRIFIED.)

    As for your question, oh honey, I wouldn’t presume to say whether or not you should feel guilty over that decision. I can’t imagine you should. I shared in my most recent post that the thing I have started using as my indicator of whether or not I’m walking into dangerous territory is the state of my relationships with my family. If I’m snapping and snarling, then yes, I would guess I likely need to STOP and repent and go ask Father what needs to change. BUT, that’s me. You may not wrestle with that a bit.

    Either way, I know this – ask Father. If you’re walking in sin, in any way, He’ll tell you. 🙂

  17. Susan PA says:

    🙂 I didn’t intend to imply any criticism of ANY other husband who might or might not bring guests home, announced or not. Honest. 🙂 I think if that is the husband’s bent, he has the right to that. Perhaps he can, in kindness, learn to give his wife a call first, but I wasn’t criticizing.

    I just meant that I can hardly imagine either of your scenarios (Boy Scouts or office folks), mostly because I guess my husband is quite a strong introvert, and really wants to recharge by being ALONE. (He is a VERY generous husband and father, with his time.) So if he had been through a horrible four days, unless he was RESPONSIBLE for whoever he was with, most likely he would drop them off at home and then COME HOME. 😀

    As far as my “guilty” question, it was mostly rhetorical, but I was willing to be told I should feel guilty. But I wasn’t really asking for someone else’s opinion. 🙂

    But you are really sweet. I’m off to read your latest post, which seems to have appeared while I was off exercising…


  18. whimsy says:

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot trying to pin down just what is at my root. For me it’s fear. Fear that people will see the real me and judge me unworthy.

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