I bet you’ve read lots of articles about perfectionism, the comparison trap and how the impact of holding yourself to unrealistic standards can lead to self-defeating beliefs, discouragement, anxiety and depression.
This blog isn’t about that. It’s about what I’m going to call “materialistic perfectionism”. I kind of just made up that term, LOL, but it’s something I think many of us experience without even realizing it. My hope is that you can related to what I’m about to share and release yourself from striving for perfection in some areas of your life you hadn’t considered before.
Our clothes should not be idols in our lives. They should actually be reminders of God’s mercy on us.
When Adam and Eve realized, through their own sin, that they were naked, they ruined the innocence and comfortability they had in just being naked and unashamed. But God gave them “coverings”. In doing this, God helped them and had mercy on them.
“Unto Adam also and to his wife the Lord God made coats of skins, and clothed them.” Genesis 3:21
The weren’t given designer jeans, but they were given a form of clothing. Now, I love fashion, but I find it interesting how we’ve taken what is meant to be a covering to an extreme. We’ve turned our clothes into protective barriers and masks to hide ourselves from the world. We use clothing to put up a facade.
I love to express myself through my clothing, but I also know that I’ve used it to define who I am to others. I can tell when I’m doing it, because those are the days when I can’t seem to find anything to wear. I have more clothing than one person really needs and yet I will stand in front of the mirror for an hour, piling up clothes on our bed, trying to decide on the perfect outfit. I’m doing this not because I don’t have something appropriate to wear. I’m doing this because I am worried about what other people will think about me based on what I am wearing.
As I’ve matured, I’ve realized that this search for perfection symbolizes how many of us feel deep down, about our relationship with God. We feel like we need so many things to be perfect before we can go before Him. But we need nothing except an open heart that wants to communicate with Him.
We can all agree that we are sinners and don’t need to be perfect before we accept Christ. But what about those of us who have accepted Him, but then get hung up on needing things to be perfect in the time we set aside to spend with Him. If you’re not sure where I’m going with this, hold on, I’m going to get straight to the point.
We don’t need a new wide margin Bible or a nice writing pen. We don’t need a beautiful journal. Although I absolutely LOVE the movie War Room, we don’t need a prayer closet or a designated decorated place in our home to spend time with the Lord. We don’t need candles and worship music or a warm cup of coffee for our quiet time to be meaningful. It hurts my heart when I hear my Christian sisters talk about how they have a hard time spending time with the Lord because they don’t have enough space in their home to create a war room.
ALL WE NEED IS JESUS.
Don’t let any thing get in the way of you spending time with Jesus. He doesn’t require you to be perfect. He doesn’t require your prayer time to be perfectly scheduled at the same time every day or for you to have a special place in your house just for Him. Those things are great. I have them, but I also have to remind myself that I don’t need them.
His Word simply says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” (1 John 5:14) It doesn’t say if we use a cute new prayer journal instead of a spiral notebook, He will hear us. It doesn’t say that he hears the prayers of those who call out to Him from their war room better than the prayers of those who call out to Him from their kitchen table.
So we can just close our eyes and talk to Him now. You don’t need any preparation or material possession. You can stand before Him, naked, withholding nothing and He will hear you. Please don’t let your desire for things to be perfect get in the way of spending time with Him.
Loved and blessed is a resource that provides support for your spiritual growth and helps you learn how to live life encouraged and with more joy. Because of the nature of what I do through loved and blessed, I’m super sensitive to make sure you know that as much as I want you to join our community, I also want you to know that you don’t need to join in order to draw closer to God.
There have been so many natural disasters in recent years. I’ve watched the storms and fires on the news and prayed for those who have lost everything. They’ve lost their homes and all their material possessions. I’m grateful that I have never known this type of loss and I hope I never will, but it makes me take inventory of the “things” in my life that I’d miss terribly if they were suddenly gone tomorrow.
Not just those things we consider material possessions, like my closet full of shoes or my collection of designer handbags. I can easily recognize how my closet packed to overflowing with clothes represents a level of materialism and an unhealthy perfectionism. But what about those spiritual “things” I’ve started to collect over the years.
I don’t know about you, but I own more than 15 Bibles. A plain bonded leather one, a wide margin one, a study Bible, one for Bible journaling, a couple of small ones for travel, two that were passed down to me from family members, a number of different translations, a few that I bought just because they had pretty covers…and the list goes on.
Please hear me out, I don’t think you can ever have too much of the Word of God. But I’ve had to take a step back and consider if my continuously growing collection has become a form of materialism in some way too? Do I need that many? Now there are times when I will have 3 open at once comparing translations or reading the footnotes in one to make notes in another, but truly, I still have more Bibles than I need. Some were gifted to me and some I bought because they offered something “better” or “more perfect” than the ones I already had. When I take inventory of all the Bibles, devotionals, commentaries and other tools I have available to me, I am overwhelmed with gratitude to have such access to God’s Word and I also feel convicted to remind myself that
ALL I NEED IS JESUS
I don’t need the “perfect” Bible to draw closer to Him. The design of the Bible does not make God’s Word better in any way. God’s Word is perfect all on it's own. I truly only need one Bible, an open heart and the willingness to sit still and ask the Holy Spirit to guide me in my understanding of God’s Word. The good news is that’s all you need too!
Can you relate to this? I’d really like to know that I’m not alone! Comment below and let me know.
Jamila is the founder of loved+blessed. On her personal mission to leave a legacy of encouragement, she blogs about her own life lessons with the hope that it will bring joy into others’ lives and help them find the courage to keep walking in faith knowing that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord. Read her testimony of how God turned her misery into ministry.