I have shared multiple times my struggles with perfection. In Brene Brown’s latest book, Atlas of the Heart, she talks about perfection being rooted in shame (2021). My first thought was, ”What??” That was quickly followed by, ”Oh” as I realized she was right and I have used perfection to mask shame.
I had always seen perfection as related to my need to control every aspect of my life and the lives of my kids. Perfection was a way for me to mask what was going on underneath. It was a way for me to tell the world I was okay when I wasn’t. I saw it as protection from others. It was part of my armor.
Realizing that I was using perfection to mask shame was a game changer for me. When I took the time to reflect on what perfection was really protecting me from, it was clear I was using it to protect myself from feeling shame. I didn’t want to feel judged by others. I didn’t want others to see my struggles. I didn’t want to acknowledge my imperfections.
10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace [who imparts His blessing and favor], who called you to His own eternal glory in Christ, will Himself complete, confirm, strengthen, and establish you [making you what you ought to be]. (1 Peter 5:10 AMP).
Here’s the problem. God can’t perfect the things I’m trying so hard to hide. God wants to free us from shame as we become complete, established, whole. If I’m busy using perfection to mask shame, I’m not leaning into God’s offering to make me complete. I’m not hearing it. I’m not paying attention. I’m not receiving it.
It’s God’s desire that we become Christ like. That’s the perfection we should be chasing. It’s hard. It often hurts, but the result is freedom, wholeness, and a new meaning to perfection.
How are you with perfection? Do you use it to mask shame? Do you use it to protect yourself? How have you overcome it? Share your experience here and breathe life and bring hope to others.