• Dana L. Butler

To The Perfectionist Inside Of Me (and All Of Us)

I recently wrote this post about excellence and perfectionism – the dramatic differences between the two, but how they can look so similar.

Since I wrote it, the Lord seems to have ramped up this process of revealing to me more of the areas of my heart where I still wear that “perfectionism shoe.”  It’s been kind of a difficult week or so. I’ve caught myself gazing inward more often than upward.  Double and triple examining my own heart and motives more than drawing near to His heart.  Living in fear over the propensity of my own heart toward sin.  Unwittingly entertaining accusations from the enemy that come disguised as my own thoughts… that I’m not good enough… as a wife, a mom, a leader, a friend… as a lover of Jesus.   I might’ve even been a little depressed, subtly.  I, and possibly Stan, are the only ones who would’ve known. But then a couple days ago, I was standing in the bathroom, and mid-makeup-application, the Lord suddenly ripped a veil off of my eyes, and out of nowhere, I saw all of this self-criticism for what it was: agreement with the voice of the enemy.  Buying into the lie of perfectionism: that it is within my control and ability to be perfect, or at least nearly so, and I’d better get my act together somehow. Oh, how I’ve gotta let it all go. And how often I need to be reminded that I’m not enough… and it’s okay.  It’s not my job to be. So… in light of the truth that all of my broken places and inadequacy are simply signposts to point me back toward awareness of my need for Him…..

To the Perfectionist Inside of Me (and all of us, I think):

All your trying, striving, performing, all this cross-examining of your heart… I want you to pick it all up, run into the presence of Jesus, and fall, however ungraceful it may look, at the foot of the cross.  Confess your weakness.  All your gaps.  All your failure.  
Confess the depth of your need for Him.
And hear His voice… let it wash over your heart like healing balm:
You are precious.  You are beloved of My heart.  You are more than enough for me if you never succeed at anything, ever, EVER again.  My love for you and desire for you are completely separate from your performance.  The blood of My Son has spoken identity over you.  This is where your value to ME is found: in His sacrifice to purchase your life… and not in your ability to perform.  Remember, daughter.  Remember how precious you are to My heart.  How the mere turning of your heart and eyes toward Me overwhelms My heart with delight.
Now, leaving all of the heavy, draining self-consciousness at the foot of the cross… stand up… and lean in.
Lean into the One who carries and resources and supplies all your needs.  The One whose strength is made perfect in your weakness.  The One whose beauty is revealed as He fills in your gaps.  The One who is ENOUGH in all of the places where you’ll never achieve that status. 
Trust Him to gently lead your heart into more and more purity and peace… this is not something you are asked to accomplish on your own.   
Keep your eyes on Him and all that HE IS instead of all that YOU’RE NOT.  Worship.  Fix your gaze on His beauty, your heart on His faithfulness. 
His leadership is perfect and trustworthy… and if your heart is after Him and your eyes are turned toward Him, He will gently reveal areas in your life, in His perfect timing, where He wants to bring change.  (See this post on differentiating between conviction – from the Holy Spirit – and condemnation – from the enemy.)
It is not your job to continually dig around in your own heart and discover these places on your own.  It is your job to surrender to His work within your heart when He reveals these things.
Introspection apart from His grace-filled conviction and leadership is destructive.  But as you focus on all that He is, He will convict and reveal and transform and draw you more and more into surrender to His Lordship. 
He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.  It’s His job. 
 Allow Him to have His way in Your heart… and rest in the knowledge that He is committed to the process!  He is committed to partnering with you, to holding your hand as you continually walk toward holiness in the deep places.  Don’t fear the dark corners.  He knows them intimately and holds you with grace.  Again, He’s committed to the process… you can trust His perfect leadership.  And His heart bursts with affection for you NOW, dark corners and all.   
This is not sloppy grace.  His invitation is to wholeheartedly abandoning yourself to this journey of becoming more like Him ~~ doing it out of a place of trusting His leadership and resting in His commitment to you; not out of a place of fear over what’s really in those deep places of your heart and whether you’re “enough” or not.
You are His beloved.  Look upward before looking inward.  And look upward MORE than you look inward.  You can trust His process inside of you.

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