The Performance Trap


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The Performance Trap

The wise heart will know the proper time and procedure. For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a person may be weighed down by misery.”

Ecclesiastes 8:5–6

For perfectionists, the pressure is always on . . . and the performance never stops. All of life is lived under the glare of an unforgiving spotlight. The smallest blemish . . . the tiniest flaw . . . the slightest mistake is sure to raise an eyebrow and silence sought-after acceptance.  Even when reason seems skewed, the Psalms offer hope for the afflicted.

Perfectionists are performers, but they are also prisoners . . . chained to the opinions of others—their self-acceptance invariably linked to cherished accolades. Overlooked crumbs on the kitchen counter leave a perfectionist humiliated before guests. A student’s self-worth plummets if a record of high-scoring As is broken by an unbearable B.



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Q & A — Perfectionists & Procrastination…

“I used to be a perfectionist who accomplished so much, but now I can’t even get to work on time or get my work finished. Why am I constantly procrastinating?”

A perfectionist often procrastinates because the “fear of failure” takes control of emotions and paralyzes productivity. Perfectionists seek to get their need for significance met through excellent work, but perfection is an impossible goal to maintain. The time eventually comes when the work is never quite good enough, and it seems better to do nothing than to risk feeling like a failure.

If you are serious about moving beyond perfection-driven procrastination . . .

  • Change your goal from seeking to please others in order to earn acceptance and begin trusting the Lord for His unconditional acceptance.
  • Realize that your significance comes from Christ, residing in you, not from any of your accomplishments.
  • View your work as being given to you by the Lord and as your opportunity to allow His wisdom to work within you and through you to accomplish His purposes.
  • Focus on pleasing the Lord in all you do with a heart of genuine gratitude.

“Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” 

Psalm 86:11

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