Is Perfectionism from God?


Certainly, God is perfect. Doesn’t He want us to be? Is perfectionism from God?

I’ve got some secret perfectionist tendencies. Most people think I’m laid back—and I am—but that’s not a completely accurate picture of me. Granted, I’m not a perfectionist for perfection’s sake. Usually, it comes out in competition. Like those times where I feel the need to beat the other guy into submission (or in the case of Tae Kwon Do maybe smash a board across his face). Or in writer’s competitions where I might be dissapointed that my scores ranked only in the top 10 and not the top 3.

I see the same drive in my son, especially during football games. His desire to be perfect (and mine too) stems from the need to prove himself, to find self-worth in what he does. Problem is, no matter how perfectionistic we become, we’re not perfect. And “good enough” is a floating standard based on the guy standing next to you.

Many people I know would consider themselves perfectionists. Some even take it to obsessive extremes and move into compulsive disorders. Approximately 8% of Americans (or 16 million people) meet the diagnostic criteria for obsessive compulsive personality disorder. There might even be a gene responsible for this behavior.

Is striving to be perfect (or at least better than the other guy) something that God put in us?

Evolutionists would say this competitive behavior came about through natural selection because of competition over resources. Does this mean we should be growing less competitive in developed nations? In the U.S., most of us have adequate access to basic resources (food and shelter), but it hasn’t seemed to quell our competitive nature.

Perhaps natural selection (notice I didn’t say evolution) has caused humans to become more competitive. Or perhaps God has placed that drive to be better inside of us in order to point us toward something better. Maybe He wanted to emphasize how we don’t measure up, how we can never be perfect, to remind us of Himself—the One who is perfect. The One who gives us our true idenity, our true worth—through His perfection, not ours.

What do you think? Did God give us the desire to be perfect? Or are we just trying to control Him and everything around us? Do you have your own areas of perfectionism?



Photo Credit: ID 26145348 © Leszek Glasner |

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