Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
Philippians 3:12 (NKJV)
Some of us call ourselves perfectionists. We admit it with a small grin, knowing it's not attainable, yet believing our drive to perfection somehow pushes us to be our best. But underneath perfectionism are two killers: pride and fear. We're proud of what we do, but fearful we can't do enough.
I am now a card-carrying member of 'perfectionists anonymous.' Instead of ten steps to delivery, I just have one: give it to God, because 'The Lord will perfect that which concerns me' (Psalm 138:8), 'And He makes my way perfect' (2 Samuel 22:33).
It was a big revelation for me to learn that Jesus, the man, was not perfect. Sinless? Yes. Perfect, no - not in His human form. He says Himself, 'And the third day I shall be perfected' (Luke 13:32). We know on that third day He rose from the dead. Before that? Apparently, even Jesus had things to learn:
It is written, 'Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men' (Luke 2:52), and 'Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him' (Hebrews 5:8-9).
So, if Christ Jesus wasn't perfect as a Man, neither are we.
Therefore, believing to any degree that we are 'perfectionists' is to believe ourselves equal to God. 'Whoa,' you might say, 'I don't believe that for a minute.' If so, don't act like it; don't ask it of yourself; don't expect it in others.
Only God is perfect, but He draws His children closer to perfection every day--both ourselves and our work, until one day 'It is finished' (John 19:30).
My advice to perfectionists? Ease up on yourself and everybody else. Prepare well. Do your best--then give it to God, and 'Let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing' (James 1:4). Perfection comes, but only in God.
Be content with 'good,' because good with God is good enough.