How often have you heard “I’m a perfectionist when it comes to….” from friends, family, or co-workers. We take great pride in being wound tight about certain things. After all, that is what perfectionism causes, doesn’t it? Often, we don’t see perfectionism as a weakness, but it is. Perfectionism is a trap that will freeze you, rob you of joy and keep you on the sidelines of life if you aren’t careful.

But aren’t we supposed to pursue excellence in all we do, to do all for the glory of God, etc., etc.?

Yes, but God knows you are gloriously imperfect.

But didn’t Jesus say “be perfect like your father in heaven is perfect”?

Yeah, he did. He said a few others things in Matthew that fall into the “fuhget about it” category as well (if you have removed an eye that caused you to sin, please respond in the comments). Do you REALLY think you can be perfect like God?

But, theological miscreant author, aren’t we supposed to keep pressing forward to the call of God on our life as Paul said? Yes, we are. FORWARD.

Forward doesn’t mean perfect.

When Jesus said you should be perfect it was intended to drive home our hopeless state without Him. That without God’s grace and forgiveness, trying to reach His standard is absolutely impossible. Impossible. When you combine a perfectionism mindset with denial of God, you get self-reliance, pride and striving toward human goals – usually a recipe for eventual burnout, failure or worse.

In 2016, do yourself a favor. Embrace imperfectionism. No, don’t give up on life. Don’t suck just to suck, but realize that progress is always possible…perfection never is. Even in the darkest times, you CAN take a step forward – you can move closer to where you need to be.


Practical Application

Perfection – minimum of 30 minute cardio workout 3x/week with the right clothes, in the right location, at a particular time of day

Imperfection – 5 minutes is better than no minutes, workout whenever and wherever you can

Perfection – must finish a book before starting another one

Imperfection – read until you get what you need from a book (diminishing returns, 80/20 principle) then put it down – if you never pick it up again, you’ve saved yourself some time and allowed time to focus on something better

Perfection – must have a date night with my spouse on the same day of the week regularly

Imperfection – life happens – plan the time with your spouse but be flexible when you have to – try again next week and enjoy the time you have even if its brief

 Do you get the picture?


The concept of “micro-commitments” says if you get yourself to commit to something so small that you basically can’t fail, you will likely end up doing more and be more consistent long term. For example, “I will do one pushup per day” is a micro-commitment.

What good is one pushup per day? Hmmmm, its better than zero pushups per day and better than committing to a 5:15 am spin class 4x a week, making it zero times per week and quitting. To succeed, you must choose a sustainable process. And, you must trick yourself a little bit. If you get on the floor to do one pushup, while you’re down there, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll do a few more….

“I will write one sentence per day”. If I sit down to do that, I’ll probably write a paragraph or more…..

“I will put my running shoes and clothes by my bed each night” is another powerful micro commitment. You think you’ll get tired of stepping over them without using them? More than likely you’ll strap them on and head out the door.

Skeptical? Well, let’s consider the potential effects of some negative micro-commitments to drive home the power of this practice:

“I will smoke one joint per month”

“I will tell my boss what I really think for 30 seconds per month”

“I will share the one fingered peace sign with another driver once per week”

You get the picture, I think. There is power is small motion in a particular direction, so don’t knock it. Give it a try. Here’s another one:

I will begin a closing para……

Jeff McKinney
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Jeff McKinney

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Jeff McKinney
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