Now before you dismiss perfectionism as being "no big deal," or before you say "Paul, just get over it!" it may help you to understand that perfectionism can destroy a person's entire inner life. Furthermore, it is one type, among others, of emotional wounds that does not heal without continual special care. The fact is, nearly all of us have emotional wounds, and coming to Jesus Christ, in the beginning, does not heal them. Of course, when we come to Jesus the healing can begin, but few of us know how to begin a deep devotional life where we can dwell in the balm of His grace.
Consider this truth for a moment: Grace heals . . . but where does grace reside? That's the question. Do you know how to open up to Jesus deep within your soul? Do you have a routine of setting yourself in Him - not just intellectually, but within your center . . . your spirit? Few of us ever do, and so few of us ever get healed. I'll talk about this healing more in . . . yes, you guessed it . . . My Dream - Part 5, but for now, in order for you to understand me a little better, I want to share a little about perfectionism.
As I said, perfectionism is an emotional wound, and for those of us who have this wound, we bring it into our relationship with Jesus. (Hmm . . . what wounds did you bring with you when you came to Christ?) It's a wound that comes from the belief that we have to perform in order to win God's approval. Normally it is learned at an early age - particularly, from having parents that seem to never approve of you no matter what you do. Yet my parents always loved me, and gave their approval of me again and again. So where did this come from in my life? I have some guesses, but that might be for a later blog.
As for now, I want to quote from the best resource I've ever seen on the issue of emotional healing. The book is entitled Healing for Damaged Emotions, and it was written by David Seamands. Seamands was a professor at Asbury Theological Seminary (the seminary I attended) and was in pastoral ministry for many years.
So in reference to the person suffering from the wound of perfectionism, Seamands writes,
What happens to this kind of person, when he becomes a Christian? Part of his mind believes in God's love, accepts Gods' forgiveness, and feels a peace for a while. Then, all of a sudden everything within him rises up to cry out, "It's a lie! Dont' believe it! Don't pray! There's no one up there to hear you. No one really cares. There's no one to relieve your anxiety. How could God possibly love you and forgive someone like you? You're too bad!"
What has happened? The good news of the gospel has not penetrated down into his damaged inner self, which also needs to be evangelized. His deep inner scars must be touched and healed by the balm of Gilead.
You may want to respond like this: Thank you Jesus! Now I'm beginning to see why I can be a Christian for many years but not be fulfilled in my inner self. I have the assurance of being with you - I know I'm "saved," but my healing has a long way to go. I choose today to let you in my deepest part. Only show me what to do next.
Prayers to all who read this blog,