Someone taught me years ago that to be perfect in God's eyes, means to be in tune with him. To resonate on the same frequency as the Holy Spirit. Although I can't remember who held it up, I totally remember the tuning fork this person tapped to the table over and over, as we listened to the two prongs ring the same note. Musical intruments sound amazing when played if in tune. You want to leave the room if they aren't. An instrument is perfect when it is in tune. WE are perfect when we are in tune with his design for us. We are his instrument to be played. Perfectly paired with God.
Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God. Deuteronomy 18:13
But there are things this verse does not mean. It does not mean that we have to perfectly keep the laws, or be perfect at all things we do, or perfectly fit into some box that people have designed. To be the best always, or on top 100% of the time. Or to never fail, or falter. Yet that is the image we get stuck in our heads. Even knowing perfectionism is unhealthy we promote it with our actions and criticisms. We impose some degree of expectation on our work associates and friends, or spouses and family members, always requiring something in our world to be perfect. We verbalize what we think is God's perfect person and ask others to step in to the image. Whether we know we do it or not, we set standards that exceed reality.
God's expectation for each of us is different than for every one else, yet his criteria for perfection is the same - have a heart that desires to be in tune with him. It's that simple and he repeats it in example after example. I can do that if I let him :
1.design his expectations for me, and
2.encourage me to meet the challenges with his power, not my own.
In tune with how he designed me and only me, not someone else. Any other attempt is an illness called perfectionism.
Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God. I Kings 8:61.
If we fall prey to the expectations of anyone except God, we allow ourselves to become enslaved, to ideas, images, and degrees of good that simply aren't God's. God knows how he made us, and he knows how to challenge us to new heights. He also never cares if we fail as we learn and grow. He loves to encourage us to growth through the struggles of failure. None of this is what God requires for perfection, however. The 10 commandments aren't a picture of perfection, the beatitudes are not a picture of our perfection. No amount of goodness is the image of God's perfection. In fact, our Christ-likeness is not a result of our own attempt to be like Christ. We were made in his image, and our Christlikeness, is a result of his renewing that image within us. Again - God's picture of our perfection is that we have a heart in tune with him. Dozens of verses say it over and over.
God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect. Ii Samuel 22:33
If we fall into the trap of having perfect expectations for ourselves we will also enslave those around us. They will fall victim to the extremes of the falicy. The joy of striving for excellence, of pushing ourselves beyond good measure, of knowing we never left a job undone, or half done is not perfectionism, until we become extreme in some element of it. Being driven is a long way from being persistant. Being tenacious is not the same as being malicious. And being thorough is a long way from being manipulative. One is Christ-like, one is full of self motivation.
The same is true of falling victim to those self-motivated actions in others. To someone who attempts to draw you into their perfectionism, draw clear boundaries, and learn to say "NO" clearly.
Lord, break the chains of perfectionism in our lives. Live out your perfect image in me, for I offer an willing heart, a desire to be in tune with your and your perfect will for my life. Help me shush the voices of influnence that nag at my image of what is perfect. Give me wisdom to reject the false images around me, and mostlly help me not to impose a false image of perfect on others. In Jesus name, Amen