Strive for excellence – but don’t obsess over perfection

How’s your perfectionism going? One of the side effects of being stuck in a small place for a protracted period of time is that our ‘need for perfect’ can often come to the surface.
Pastor Dave GilpinPastor Dave Gilpin
Pastor Dave Gilpin

After hopelessly trying and failing to change our partner’s annoying little habits, we often move our attention to a spotless kitchen, garden, gym routine, photo collection or desk.

The only problem with ‘spotless’ is the closer we look at something, the more spots we see and more dissatisfied we become.

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If you have a more melancholic, introverted personality, you can easily be more prone to the downside of perfectionism – obsessive compulsive disorder. Don’t be too alarmed, most people suffer from it, it’s just that it’s often directed to an over clean car or overly perfect eyebrows.

The first key to dealing with OCD is to realise it’s only a disorder if your obsessive compulsive is attached to something destructive.

If you can detach it from bad stuff and reattach it to good stuff, like completing a course or finding solutions to loneliness created by Covid-19, it’s no longer OCD, it becomes OCA - and that A is for ASSET.

The second key is to manage your mind to free your mind, by gradually pushing destructive floods back into manageable rivers. The way to start doing this is through avoidance - avoiding things, places and even people that kick it off.

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Once you reunite your obsession with good things, you can reintroduce some of the things that used to spin you around – you’ll get stronger at this as time goes on.

One thing that’s helped me as a Christian is to know God doesn’t expect ‘perfect’, He is happy with ‘excellent’ – doing the best with what you’ve got and who you are.

And if you fail, God seems excellent at not just second chances, but a million chances whenever you’re ready.

I love one of the famous Prayer of Serenity: “God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

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Some of our imperfections need to be left alone and accepted, while others need to leave the strict Boarding School of Perfectionism and enrol in the more gracious High School of Excellence.

May God help us with both during this season!

Pastor Dave Gilpin is one of the longest serving pastors in the City of Sheffield. He is the pastor of Hope City Church, The Megacentre, Bernard Road, whose 10am Sunday Online services are watched by thousands every week across Great Britain. Click​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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