When to Avoid Perfectionism and Comparison

Confession time. My name is Gloria and I’m a recovering perfectionist. I’m improving and fell off the wagon only once last month. Though my perfectionist binge did last several days.

Trying to do or make myself the best possible can be admirable. The danger lies when I take it beyond self-reflection and self-improvement to comparisons and judgments. Comparisons and judgments can lead to unhappiness with who I am or what I have, which causes me to chase the wrong goals or dreams because I choose someone else’s, not mine.

I relearned this lesson when I attended the Christian Communicators Conference (CCC). I compared myself to other attendees already with powerful speaking ministries. Warrior women for God. Me, I was a wannabe by comparison. A private among generals.

Then I heard their stories. Their success bubbled from what each woman made of the unique blend of experiences God brought them through. What I heard did not call for comparison. Each woman was on a road to success creating personal perfection just by sinking her teeth into the life and work she had been given.

Jesus shared the parable of a king who entrusted different talents to his servants while he traveled to a distant country. Some servants invested their talents and earned more. One, however, buried his single talent out of fear he would lose it. When the king returned, he expressed disappointment that the servant squandered his opportunity to produce with the talent. The servant ended up having even that one taken away. (Luke 19:11-26)

God never asks us to give what we don’t have or do what we can’t. Personal perfection ultimately comes when we fully invest the life and gifts God gives us to produce abundantly wherever we are in our journey – gifts like encouragement, comfort, a healing touch, a shared story, or a listening ear.

These CCC warrior women were mighty role models for me to march forth under the banner of the apostle Paul’s words to the Galatians,

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given and sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. (Galatians 6:4-5, Msg)

©2012 Gloria Ashby. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail.


About Gloria Ashby

I'm a writer, speaker and teacher. I live with my husband in the DFW area, and close to our daughter and her family.
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6 Responses to When to Avoid Perfectionism and Comparison

  1. Hal says:

    A dear departed colleague, J. Clayton Lafferty authored a book entitled “Perfectionism: A Sure Cure For Happiness.” The information discussed in the book came from years of data collected through various reseach instruments he was a partner in developing. The data reflected the success or failure of many well known companies and their executives. The reseach data taught many, including myself, to “…Be still and listen…..” Even as we strive for perfection in the Wesleyan sense and live a more Christ like life we can find happiness in the perfectionism we see and hear in others.

  2. Gloria, this is so insightful–this bit about perfectionism making us chase someone else’s goal and dream instead of our own.

    I also loved listening to the stories from the women at CCC and in seeing how God had led each one.So many stories, all telling of God’s healing and protection.

    • Gloria Ashby says:

      Your so right, Sally. Every individual story is important and used by our loving Father to bring ALL of His children into a closer relationship with Him. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your comments.

  3. Thank you for sharing this insightful and well written piece, Gloria.
    Uplifting blessings.

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