A Biblical Alternative to Perfectionism
There were 4 of them….bushels of peaches, I mean. They were completing them with speed and efficiency. I was quite impressed, not to mention rather convicted. You see, I had just thrown a 1/2 bushel of beans away, because we hadn’t gotten them put up before they went bad. She was doing her peaches with 3 children. I was doing my beans with 6. (Granted, her’s were Biggers – an important detail, but STILL…)
What is it that makes us strive to excel – to do well, to seek to honor the Lord with our work? I shared with you that I wasn’t able to find any Biblical word that would compare with perfectionism, so I was on a mission to find a word that WAS Biblical that would offer me the positive side of my understanding of perfectionism. I think I found it. I believe the word is diligence.
When looking up the Scriptures involving diligence, when looking up the meaning of the word diligent, I find a few…layers of implied meaning to the word. I think, for me at any rate, by having a clearly Biblical word, I then have additional measuring tools to know if I am first, attaining to it and secondly, if I’m sliding toward sin.
What I found when studying diligence – and please don’t misunderstand, this was a short study. Molly I am not. 🙂 I do not have the time (possibly not even the inclination, currently??) let alone the fact that I tend toward being a bear of little brain, to go on a full fledged attack of this word. But, I’d like to offer up what I have found and allow you to pray through it, to seek the Holy Spirit about it and see if there is anything for you to glean from it. If not, open your hand and allow it, as chaff, to simply blow away. (Again, I don’t want to imply IN ANY WAY that fullness of wisdom resides in me. He who HAS fullness of wisdom does, but at this point He has not chosen to pour it all into me.) 😉
I’m going to offer a pitiful attempt to share with you my current definition of diligence – please, be a Berean – search the Scriptures and see what they say. I am open to correction, by all means. (By ALL means!)
Perhaps in your life, you too have noted that when you’re wrestling with a concept, idea, etc the Holy Spirit will place within your grasp something that will tie up all the loose ends for you? That’s what happened for me. The Lord put a book into my hands that presented a definition of diligence that meshed wonderfully with my own study. May I offer to you, the definition, as put forth by Steven Scott in his book, “The Richest Man Who Ever Lived” (a study of the Proverbs)? “Diligence is a learnable skill that combines: creative persistence, a smart-working effort rightly planned and rightly performed in a timely, efficient, and effective manner to attain a result that is pure and of the highest quality of excellence.”
I will pause here while you make the conscious choice to stop reading and decide that perfectionism worked all those years, no point in changing now. 😉 That’s about the response I had when I read that. I thought. “MAN! Perfectionism may be tougher on my kids, but it’s a LOT easier on me. Hmmm…kids….me….kids….me.” 😉
Do you think Mr Scott’s definition covers every good thing you ever saw in “perfectionism”? (Hello? Did everyone leave me?? Was that an echo I heard???) I’d love to hear your thoughts – even if they involve the “s” word. (Uh – that would be “shut-up” at our house.) 🙂
I find frequently, when Father removes from me a standard I had found acceptable and changes it on me, it’s harder to do it in the way of Grace and Truth. I think because He wants to make certain that I don’t – for even a hairbreadth of a second – think that this is something I can do in and of myself!!!! For His glory, for my (and my kids’) good.