Finding Beauty in Imperfection

By Linda Tancs

Are you a perfectionist? Or do you suffer with a spouse, friend, family member, colleague or boss who is one? Psychologists define perfectionism as the need to be or appear perfect. It might sound ideal to strive for perfection. In fact, I recall one of my college professors calling it a “virtue.” But decades of studies reveal that perfectionism correlates with depression, anxiety, eating disorders and other mental health problems. That doesn’t sound very ideal, or virtuous, does it? Yet we live in a world that embraces perfection, as evidenced in everything from grade inflation in schools to airbrushing perceived imperfections out of photos.

On a spiritual level, perfectionism underscores a self-reliant effort to be flawless that undermines the power of God. The Pharisees are prime examples of biblical perfectionists, bound by legalism, pride and judgment. Psalm 18 reminds us that only God is perfect (Psalm 18:30). He seeks to do a good work in us, to perfect us in holiness through Grace (Philippians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 7:1). In God’s eyes, perfection arises from an inner beauty, not outward adornments (1 Peter 3:3-4).

Perfect your faith, not your IQ score, selfies or triceps.