I grew up following the rules and wanting to please people. This was no exception when it came to my relationship with God.
I would try and follow the guidelines and rules of the Bible, only to discover I was a daily sinner. I could not make it one day without cursing, gossiping, or making a poor decision. The list could go on and on. I prayed and read the Bible because that seemed to be what would please God, but I felt no closer to Him. I wasn’t being changed. He never spoke to me and my prayers seemed unheard.
I was striving to be a godly woman, yet felt I was failing miserably at it.
What was I doing wrong?
I wasn’t striving to be a godly woman, though that’s what I told myself. I was striving for perfection.
I wanted to be a perfect student.
I wanted to keep the house in perfect shape.
I wanted to be the perfect teacher at my job.
I wanted to be a perfect friend.
Someday, I wanted to be the perfect mother.
And I wanted to do all of this as a perfect Christian.
Look at all the I’s in this list. I was consumed with myself and making sure the world saw me as perfect.
Not only was I consumed with myself, I focused too much on rules. I was dangerously living like a Pharisee, all rules and no deep understanding of Christ.
When my husband and I got married, I was still trying to discover what I was not doing right to really be connected to God. I was also still trying to be perfect. I entered my marriage wanting to be the perfect wife in a perfect marriage. It did not take long to discover this was not going to happen as marital bliss transitioned into arguments over the smallest and silliest things. I would get mad and feel disappointed at my husband, myself, and even God.
Then, I had a divine moment in which I began to better understand what it really meant to strive to be a godly woman, and perfection had nothing to with it. Instead, it had everything to do with me letting go of what I wanted and thought, and instead trusting in the Lord. You can read about that moment here, and how the book, The Power of a Praying Wife began to change me.
I eventually came to the realization that no amount of rule following or pleasing acts were going to make me or my relationships perfect or give me complete fulfillment (Ephesians 2:8-9).
I now realize striving to be a godly woman means having a relationship with God, in which I understand I am not perfect nor ever will be. My imperfections should leave me humbled but not saddened or troubled. Instead, I know I am perfectly loved by Him (John 3:16).
God knows I cannot be perfect. That’s why He sent Jesus to cover my imperfections. My good deeds and accomplishments will not bind God and I together. It is His grace, forgiveness, and love, that creates the connection and relationship between us. This gift of grace and perfect love does not have to be sought after. I was striving for something He had already placed right before me!
Sisters in Christ, I share this post because I do not want you bound in chains as I once was. I do not want you missing out on an amazing relationship with God because you are striving for perfection instead of the perfect love He already gives.
Are you seeking perfection?
Do you want perfection in your husband?
Do you want perfection from the behavior of your children?
Does perfection need to come in the form of a large and clean house?
Perhaps you seek perfection in a body image you long to have or maintain?
Is perfection never saying, “No” for fear you might let someone down?
No matter the situation, striving to be perfect leaves one exhausted, unhappy, and unfulfilled. Trust me. I know.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to better yourself, your life, and those around you, but we must remember, perfection cannot be attained by us. Only God is perfect, and holding anyone to such a high standard only He can reach, is unfair. This includes yourself, and I remind myself of this often.
Letting go of the need to strive for perfection is something I still have to work on. But, I have found a few truths to help me, and I want to share them in a FREE printable handout!
When we find ourselves reaching for the unattainable goal of perfection, let’s refer to the truths in the Word of God, and continue striving to be a godly, not perfect, women.
This post edited by the wonderful Jennifer Hacker, who is continually helping me become a better writer. She is the founder of The Center for Help and Hope. Check it out!