Cease Striving Perfection

Cease Striving for Perfection and Embrace God’s Holiness

My friend, and fellow military spouse, Ginger Harrington shares with us thoughts from her about-to-launch book, Holy In the Moment, on how we can master the messes we make when we strive for perfection to embrace God’s holiness.


Are you a perfectionist?

Until recently, I’d have answered.  “Anything but. I’m always struggling just to get it together. I am NOT a perfectionist!”

I would shrug at the piles on my kitchen counters, thinking, I’m a terrible housekeeper.

I would tell you the ironing board has been in the dining room for a month.

Despite my joking, I would hear  relentless whispers: why didn’t you ___ and  you should have ____.

And from my own self condemnations.

You see, I thought of perfectionists as people who always succeed. The mythical creatures who. . .

·      never have a hair out of place,

Cease Striving Perfection

·      always have angelic children

·      loose extra pounds without breaking a sweat

·      enjoy plenty of friends

·      experience success at work

. . . and on and on the list goes.

Longer than a roll of toilet paper, my list would include the things I didn’t do well. The ways I didn’t measure up.

Nope…definitely not perfectionist material.

Or is it?

What’s beneath the discouragement that reeks like old garbage in the back alleys of my thoughts? The fact that my first response is to recount my failures is a blaring beacon.

Fear Lurks Behind Perfectionism

Truth is, lurking behind perfectionism is fear:

·      Fear of failure.

·      Fear of rejection.

·      Fear of disapproval.

·      Fear of being hurt.

·      Fear of not being picked in the kickball games of life.

For me, perfectionism is a protective measure. I responded to the pain of critical words, ridicule of others, and standards I rarely met.Other roots of fear grew from family dynamics. Somewhere in my child’s mind, I made a resolution that I would never make the “mistakes” I thought my parents made. I would do it better—but the underbelly of those good intentions was fear.

Friend, it is a quick step from fearing the disapproval of men to fearing the disapproval of God. Have we twisted holiness into self-imposed molds of perfectionism dressed up for Sunday and hiding behind our efforts to please both God and others?

The work of trying to make our selves acceptable is exhausting. The struggle of self righteousness is trying to make ourselves right apart from God.

Cease Striving

It’s easy to  equate holiness with somehow finding a way to do it all right, especially when we read verses like 1 Peter 1:15-16 (NASB), “but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’ ”

Holiness isn’t a cosmic self  improvement plan on the road to perfectionism. Isn’t it time to stop striving for perfection and receive God’s holiness?

Isn’t it time to stop striving for perfection and receive God’s holiness? #holyinthemoment #masteryourmess @GingerHarrington Click To Tweet

Motivated by  love rather than fear, we exchange the trap of performance for the acceptance of Christ.  When we embrace the unconditional love of God, we let go of chains of perfectionism.

Experience freedom from perfectionism and our relentless efforts to set ourselves straight.

“Be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”

Ephesians 4:23-24

Embrace His Holiness

We get hung up on doing things right, but God wants us to know that we are righteous and holy. Choosing to remember we are a new creation is putting on the new self. Being open to God’s transforming work in our mind is part of putting on (living out of) who we are in Christ: righteous and holy.

This is hard because we’re wired to measure value and identity by how well we perform(perfectionism). Holiness is actually a practical word that sets us free from the pressure to be perfect.

“Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself.

A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be.

And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.”

Romans 3:24, The Message

God is teaching us new ways to think that will change the choices we make. As God renews our thinking to the truth, feelings and behavior begin to change.

In reality, because of Jesus, holiness. . .

  • Is a gift from God.
  • Is received rather than achieved.
  • Is who we are not what we do.
  • Is our identity by spiritual birth, not behavior.

God isn’t tapping his holy foot, impatiently waiting for us to finally do it all perfectly. He still sees us as righteous even when we sin.

“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness,

but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration

and renewing by the Holy Spirit”

Titus 3:5

This is our moment to choose holiness rather than performance. Today is the time to cease striving for perfectionism as we embrace the gift of righteousness from God who makes us holy and whole.

Let’s choose holy in this moment.

Cease striving for perfectionism as we embrace the gift of righteousness from God who makes us holy and whole. #holyinthemoment #masteryourmess @Gingerharrington Click To Tweet


Meet Ginger

Ginger Harrington Cease Striving Perfection

Ginger’s honesty pours off the pages of her new bookHoly in the MomentShe speaks openly about her struggles in motherhood, her difficulties with anxiety, and the fears she encountered with cross-country moves while her husband was in the military. But she also writes about the joy she has experienced when she allowed the Lord to lead and guide her through some wearisome circumstances.

For more encouragement and practical applications, check out Ginger’s blog and her book, Holy in the Moment, which releases tomorrow, March 6.


Pre-Order Ginger’s book, Holy in the Moment, now!


Linking Up With

For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne EllerFaith On FireSusan B. MeadFaith Filled FridayGrace and TruthFaith and Fellowship FridaySoul SurvivalRah Rah Link UpTell His StorySitting Among FriendsTestimony TuesdayPlanting Roots, and Fresh Market FridaySalt and Light, and Becoming Press’s Writer Wednesday,  Moments of Hope


Cease Striving Perfection

21 thoughts on “Cease Striving for Perfection and Embrace God’s Holiness

  1. I guess you could say I’m a recovering perfectionist. The idea of letting go of perfection and embracing God speaks volumes. Thank you for these wonderful tips and scriptures today. God bless!

    1. I’m so glad you found encouragement in this post. Perfectionism is a hard taskmaster for sure. From one recovering perfectionist to another–let’s keep choosing to walk by faith.

  2. Thanks so much for the fun opportunity to share a few thoughts on perfectionism and holiness with your peeps! It’s a joy and pleasure to hang out with you on your amazing website and blog!

  3. Liz, I am glad you shared Ginger with us on your blog. Her book looks fantastic. Thank you also for linking up with Grace and Truth. I look forward to reading what you posts each week. Blessings, Maree Dee

  4. Ginger, I loved your post. I too didn’t think I was a perfectionist because I always fell short of being perfect. I did a series last year on perfectionism. It was quite an eye-opener for me.

  5. This sounds like a great book. I’m definitely a recovering perfectionist too. It makes such a difference when we understand that holiness is something God works in us and not something we are meant to strive towards by ourselves.

  6. Such a good insight – that just because our lives don’t look perfect doesn’t mean we aren’t perfectionists 😉 I am this way too. Thank you for sharing!

  7. Perfectionism and striving are topics near and dear to my heart. Great insight here ladies and thank you so much for sharing it with us. Particularly enjoyed the quote asking if we are striving for what God has already given us. Spot on!

  8. I never thought of perfectionism as obsessing over my flaws (which I do). How wonderful that God accepts me as is – perfectionist, flaw accetuating, and everything in-between.

  9. Oh, the fear that masquerades as all the things! I’m recovering from it all…fear, perfectionism, striving, hurt…yep. Congrats on your book, Ginger. Looks like a great one and one I need to read. Thanks for sharing Ginger with us this week, Liz. xoxo

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