The Deception of Perfectionism

Are you a perfectionist? Do you have a child who is a struggling perfectionist?

According to psychologists Joachim Stoeber and Julian Childs, “….perfectionism… is a personality trait characterized by a person’s striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high performance standards, accompanied by overly critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations.”1

Indeed, a perfectionistic mentality creates paralyzing strife, anxiety and undue pressure, leading one to feel discontented and frustrated with life.  We must also be aware that perfectionism is a sin deeply rooted in pride. When we struggle and strive on our imperfect efforts, raising our life’s bar to unreasonable and extreme heights, we are not relying on God.  Instead, we are exerting our limited energy on trying to do things that ONLY God, the only “PERFECT ONE” can do.


God’s Word tells us that all have sinned and that we all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  Jesus, our Lord and Savior, came to forgive us our imperfections and shortcomings and has commanded that we find our rest in Him.  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28).   Our ‘perfection’ is to be completed in Christ alone…

We are called to live godly lives, not become self-indulgent, self-absorbed slaves to the world’s perception of us.  Rather than worry about the affirmations of others, our focus should be on developing and nurturing our faith in Christ, as well as submitting to HIM our hearts and minds for HIS purposes.

So, when you are striving in your own ‘perfectionism,’ remember the words of 2 Corinthians 12:9-10:

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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Let’s lean unto Him and teach our children the same. For, in the end, we are weak — but HE is strong, right?


1Stoeber, Joachim; Childs, Julian H. (2010). “The Assessment of Self-Oriented and Socially Prescribed Perfectionism: Subscales Make a Difference”. Journal of Personality Assessment 92 (6): 577–585. doi:10.1080/00223891.2010.513306PMID 20954059.

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