top of page
  • Writer's pictureMarnie Hammar

How the Lie of Perfection Stunts Spiritual Growth

Published at Family Christian.

I first tasted the lure of perfection in first grade at my tiny Christian school. At the end of the school year, students from kindergarten through twelfth grade received recognition for various achievements. While I don’t recall any of the other awards, I can tell you one. I remember shaking as I was called up to the stage to receive my ribbon for earning the most scores of 100% in the school that year. (Sidenote: How irritating must this have been to the older students, given that they were doing much more complex work than this first-grader? As an adult, I’m irritated.)

I share this not because of the award but because of the aftermath. When the assembly ended, I carried with me far more than that silky ribbon. This is where my dance with perfectionism began — my first-grader mind embraced it as a takeaway that being perfect earns approval. Being perfect leads to acceptance and celebration.

Perfection earns a place.

For decades, I lived in the grip of that hoax, a slave to achieving, performing, and earning. But as an adult, an uninvited chapter of brokenness tore the shiny off all the striving. Clawing for perfection stood fruitless in the face of such failure.

Until then, my love for perfectionism meant I loved Jesus on the side, like a salad dressing I wasn’t fully committed to.


bottom of page