Perfection Kills Intimacy

There is a lie that creeps into churches and isolates people.  It creates a chasm between relationships that would otherwise be a lot more real and authentic.  It hinders intimacy with other people and with God.

Perfectionism.

It exists everywhere, but I think it’s especially tragic when we find ourselves struggling to achieve it within the context of church, because when we’re focused on our own perfection, it means we are not focused on God’s.

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, specifically on the eastern side of the state.  Last time I visited my hometown I was reminded of two things:

1- Everyone in the state owns a pair of TEVAS.

2- There are some phrases and keywords among Washingtonians that are common to church culture.  Words like genuine, real and authentic community are important things to many Christians.

I love this.

I’ve been thinking about the topic of perfectionism for a while because it’s one of my familiar falling points.  My perfectionism spurs from insecurity, which spurs from comparison, which spurs from doubt, which spurs from lack of intimacy, which spurs from lack of genuineness, which spurs from a lack of trust, which spurs from a lack of love.  Still with me?

Perfectionism, at it’s core, is religious.

We attempt to hide our flaws and failures in order to showcase our best attributes.

We pretend to be people that we are not.

We try to make up for the bad, by trying to be really, really good.

And in the process we kill the opportunity to be close to people and to God.

That is the sad part.

That by trying to be perfect, we actually repel authentic and genuine intimacy with other people and with God.

It’s ironic, isn’t it?

Because the lie that creeps into our hearts and our minds is that if we can just be a little bit more perfect and have it all together, we will be more acceptable and therefore we will have closer relationships with people and with God.

I’m not suggesting that it’s helpful for us all to act awful and puke our problems or negativity all over unsuspecting passerbyers.  That’s not a  magnet for intimacy either.  However, my favorite people tend to be the ones that I actually know.

There are plenty of people that I admire, respect or even envy.  But my favorite people are the ones that I know, personally and deeply – not the ones who have it all together all the time.

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