This article is going to outline Bible verses about perfectionism. Additionally, we will talk about what the Bible says about perfectionism and how to overcome perfectionism.
On the surface perfectionism may seem like a good thing. Often viewed as driving success and leading to higher achievement. However, perfectionism is often a signal that a lot more is going on under the surface. Perfectionism is different than striving to do your best. Beneath the surface, a perfectionist often struggles to reach unrealistically high expectations they have set for themselves. When those unrealistic expectations aren’t met, it can lead to feelings of inadequacy, self-defeating thoughts, anxiety, depression and even false guilt and shame.
What does the Bible say about perfectionism?
Perfectionism is tied up in setting unrealistically high goals for ourselves. In fact, it probably even goes one step further to a great deal of self dependence rather than dependence on God and His abundant grace. The weight of unrealistically high standards and constantly earning approval from others is enough to make anyone buckle under the pressure.
The Bible says perfection is unattainable- all fall short (Romans 3:23). If perfection was possible, we wouldn’t need Jesus. We would still be living under the law, rather than grace. Perfection is something we can look forward to in eternity, not this side of heaven. In other words, imperfections are the reality of living in a fallen world. But, God’s grace is lavish and abundant. It’s time to get off the hamster wheel of constantly striving. If you are in Christ – you are already favored by the Most High. His favor depends on Him – not your hard work, dear one.
How does the Bible overcome perfectionism?
What are you believing about perfectionism? The Bible talks about “strongholds”. Stronghold is defined as a firmly held belief. Do you firmly believe if you work just a little harder, perfection is attainable? That’s a false core belief. If our core beliefs do not align with Scripture, we will miss out on some of God’s best for us. Joy and peace will be diminished because we believe a lie. In this case, the lie is that perfection is attainable. Get the free e-course to help you understand core beliefs even better!
Where do false core beliefs about perfectionism come from?
Where did this false core belief get started? Many core beliefs are started in childhood experiences. Additionally, our core beliefs continue to be shaped by life experiences and the world. We live in a world that values the perfectionist. The perfectionist seeks approval and accolades from people because their value is attached to their approval and accolades rather than to Christ. There’s nothing wrong with receiving praise from parents or supervisors. However, it turns south when our value and identity are dependent on the perfection. Consequently, we will come up short and then the dark thoughts and emotions rob us of a life filled with peace and joy.
How to overcome perfectionism in the Bible.
First things first, we have to agree with God’s Word. We are making a choice to lean into God’s grace and approval (through Christ), rather than our own work! Once that is settled, I have some tips for you.
Tips to Overcome Perfectionism
1. Practice grasping onto grace.
God’s grace is lavish and abundant. Grasp onto His grace! His grace is sufficient for you (2 Corinthians 10:5). We are called to be Christlike, Jesus is gracious. Therefore practice offering grace to others and yourself.
2. Evaluate your standards.
What are your standards? In other words, where are you setting the bar for yourself? Once you can articulate the high expectations, share them with someone you trust. Ask them to help you make adjustments or new rules and standards. Don’t pick another perfectionist to help you with this. Rather, choose someone you view as gracious.
3. Be aware of all or nothing thinking.
All or nothing thinking is a common negative thought pattern in the perfectionist. Here’s an example: any amount of failure means the whole thing is a fail. But, not so! Success does not have to equal perfect to be a success.
4. Focus on the process rather than the end product.
There is so much to gain and learn in the process. Refrain from only evaluating value and worth by the end product.
5. Acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses.
Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, and that’s okay. The body of Christ has different God given gifts. When those gifts are combined, God uses those unique gifts and talents for His purpose. Remember Jesus says, His power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
6. Stop the should statements.
When I hear, “I should have (fill in the blank)“, it is usually a signal that a perfectionist is hiding in there. Replace should statements with “It would have been nice if (fill in the blank).
7. Pay attention to self talk. (This is VERY important)
What are you saying to yourself? Perfectionists can be pretty hard on themselves. Words are so powerful. Start paying attention to what you are saying to yourself. Choose more gracious and encouraging words rather than beating yourself up.
8. Write out affirmations.
Once you identify any harsh statements you make to yourself, trade those harsh words for Truth. Check out biblical affirmations and begin speaking truth over your life.
9. Reframe your thoughts.
Reframing looks at the same situation with different perspectives. It’s choosing to find a good instead of narrowing our view to the not so good. It’s not denying the truth, rather it’s acknowledging more than one way to view things.
10. Don’t let your feelings be your guide.
Feelings are unreliable guides. Pay attention, but acknowledge they are just feelings… Not facts.
Bible verses about perfectionism
Check out these seven Bible verses about perfectionism. Allow these truths to settle in your heart. Be prayerful in asking God to hide these words in your heart. Truth is how the Bible ultimately overcomes perfectionism.
It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. Psalm 18:32
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:13b
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. Ephesians 4:7
But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:13
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:30
Wrapping up Bible Verses about Perfectionism and Overcoming
Perfection is not attainable this side of heaven. Ask God to saturate you with His truth. No matter what you put your hands to, do it as if unto the Lord and watch Him use it powerfully in the way He purposes to do so. It doesn’t all depend on you!
Write the Bible verses about perfectionism on notecards to help you align your core beliefs with truth. That is how we use the Bible to overcome perfectionism! Read through the 10 tips and choose a couple of them that resonate and start putting them into practice now.
Check out the full online course, “Taking Thoughts Captive” for more help on the topic of perfectionism, false guilt, self defeating thoughts and core beliefs.