Why You Don’t Need to be Perfect

I “grew-up” in the church. Not in the chronological, but in the formative sense. My early years were spent with eyes and ears wide open, my heart a sponge absorbing all that might help my tender faith take shape. I longed to nestle close to those whose lives were a deep well of God’s wisdom, whose bibles were tattered and torn, traveled cover to cover.

I’m grateful for every individual that lived out their faith by example. But mingled among them, were those offering the perfectly packaged version of the Christian woman and all the ways I would fail to be her…

If I didn’t read my bible everyday at dawn.

If I didn’t stuff down emotion to wear a quiet and gentle spirit.

If I didn’t serve to the point of personal sacrifice.

If I didn’t use a prayer journal, catalog my pantry, or cook organic in my crock pot.

If I didn’t. Then I wasn’t. 

Half of my formative years were spent racked with guilt for failing to be that woman. If I wasn’t failing, I believed I was succeeding—and I’m not quite sure which is worse.

The perfect Christian woman does not exist.

{Tweet that}

I needed to hear that. Maybe you do too.

Jesus doesn't need us to be perfect. He wants more than obligation and empty deeds. He's after our heart. | Faith | Encouragement | Biblical Truth | Strength | Jesus |

While pillars of faith make great examples, they will inevitably fall—because they aren’t God. They will encounter Christ, but not the same way we will. My walk with Christ will look different from yours, and that’s okay.

Patterns of faith are good, but they aren’t a personal relationship with Christ. We don’t need a secondhand Jesus.

This is not a dig on discipleship and mentoring—those practices are both profitable and fruitful. But, it’s a slippery slope when we interject our example as the rock on which to stand. If we aren’t mindful, we’ll steal God’s glory, and more so His grace.

I suspect you would never intend this, but this is what happens.
When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace…What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love. Galatians 5:4-6 MSG

Our self-devised absolutes and out-of-reach expectations root us in works. When we focus on the should and have-to, we cultivate a faith dependent on our strength, rather than God’s sacrifice.

This world would have us believe that in order to be more, we must do more. But apart from Christ, we are simply a flawed people striving for empty goodness. It is through God’s very present spirit at work in us that we are able to run—our race, God’s way.

There is no such thing as a a perfect Christian women. Jesus doesn't wan't empty acts of obligation. He wants our love. {www.simplyforone.net}

Jesus doesn’t want our obligation. He wants our love.

{Tweet that}

Remember the woman bound up by sin who puddled herself at Jesus’ feet? She came with her most prized possession, a flask of perfume, and poured out every last drop. Using her shed tears and her length of hair, she washed and anointed Jesus’ feet pressing kisses where dirt once dwelt.

And Jesus said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you.’
Luke 7:50 NIV

Jesus forgave her multitude of sins—not because she brought a costly token, washed in perfect circular motion, or cried crocodile tears in a crowded room—but because her faith was evident through her great act of love. Her faith was willing to risk it all.

If we’re not careful, we’ll get so caught up in “how” we approach God, we’ll forget that the “why” is so much more important. Jesus doesn’t need us to be perfect. He needs us to believe that He can change everything.

Our Savior isn’t after obligation, empty deeds, and to-do lists; He’s after our heart.

And friend, that’s the very best thing we can give Him. 

By His endless grace,

I’d love to get to know you more! You can join me for community, connection and more real conversation on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest. And if you don’t already, you can subscribe to the blog here for posts direct to your inbox.

You can also find these words linked up at my favorite spots: Jennifer Dukes LeeHolley GerthKristin Hill Taylor, Lyli Dunbar, Crystal Storms, Salt & Light and Grace & Truth.

This post was edited from archives and originally posted on Simply for One.

We don't have to be perfect. We just need to believe that Jesus can change everything. | Faith | Encouragement | Biblical Truth | Strength | Jesus | Bible Quotes |

43 thoughts on “Why You Don’t Need to be Perfect

  1. This is beautiful, friend. Let’s give Him our hearts. It’s true. We set perfection up as a role model, and then we wonder why people crumble under the weight. God wants to set us free from “obligation.”

  2. I relate to this so well! I grew up in church chronologically (I literally learned to walk in church) and spiritually and when I was younger I always felt like I had to be perfect. I carried a sense of shame and guilt with me for years because I believed that there had to be something wrong with me because no one I knew seemed to struggle with faith, temptation, etc. the way I did.
    Thankfully, I found freedom in Christ and knowing that He doesn’t expect me to be perfect; He just expects me to be me!

    1. I love the spirit of freedom that God has grown in you, Sierra. I think many women in the church have experienced the feelings you did. The reality is, we ALL struggle with faith, temptation, etc. no matter how long we’ve walked with the Lord. In fact, the longer I walk through this messy and often difficult life with God the more I realize how deeply I need a Savior. Praise God that He loves us as we are, but loves us so much He doesn’t leave us that way!

  3. Hi Tiffany,
    Comparison is such a slippery slope but sort of inevitable, so we have to be intentional about not letting it overrun our thoughts and lead us to give up our precious time with God! Your words are spot on that he wants our hearts — and he lovingly takes us just the way we are! xo

  4. Your writing…I’m gonna say it…is perfect. This is so right on time for me Tiff because even though I’m running around like a crazy woman I still feel like I’m not doing enough. This has me double my checking my why and what for’s. Thank you sweet friend!

  5. Love the beautiful truth that Jesus doesn’t need us to be perfect, Tiffany. He just wants our hearts.
    Amen to no second-hand Jesus trying to fit into someone else’s mold but coming to Him for Him!
    Sweet blessings to you!

  6. This was such a great post Tiffany! I grew up with that same sense of “I must do x, y, and z just right in order to be a perfect Christian” and left unchecked, that attitude carried over into adulthood. Thank God for His saving grace that came in and destroyed those lies that my life had been built upon. The “why” is so much more important than the “how” — no matter how small, God is happy with any step that we take toward Him in faith if we are doing it with a pure heart that seeks Him above all else.

    1. I hear you, Brandi. Those recipes can be so dangerous because rather than blame a faulty formula, we usually blame ourselves when things don’t turn out as planned. I agree, seeking God with a teachable spirit and moldable heart is all we need.

  7. This is something God has been reminding me of all year. God is not really about Religious obligations. He is about a Real relationship with Him. Thanks for always being so transparent Tiffany!

  8. I know I can get caught up in how I think I should be. As much as I love social media, it can make it harder when I see my “perfect” Christian friends. We should be how we were each created-strengths and weaknesses and all!

    1. Yaaasss! Social media – total love/hate. It’s very easy to put our best foot forward on there. I think we should all be required to post the burnt cookies, bad hair days, and parenting fails at least once a week. ;)

  9. YES! YES! YES! That is why I am often wary of Christian “How to” books. While God’s Word never changes and His principles are to be shared and passed on and taught…the way He meets us in them and the way He leads each of us to apply them are individual and unique. It is in the relationship in which He leads us, challenges us, admonishes us, encourages us and reveals Himself to us through His Word and principles, and our own obedience to Him as we step forward in faith, that we grow in faith and change. NOT by being told HOW TO DO IT GOD”S WAY. I am passionate about seeing this individual faith worked out within a community, but we must stop thinking that we can just “copy” someone else’s journey, or “pass our methods” on to someone else. I am pinning this so that I can share it soon on my FB page…I am doing a “sort of series” on discipleship and this fits in well with the dangers of thinking discipleship is passing on methods.

    1. I love the you joined the conversation, Ruth and I love what you say about making our relationship with Jesus our very own. We can so easily be tempted to follow others or to feel others should follow up – it is a double edged sword. I agree, we need to allow God to lead and direct us through His word and proceed with caution from there. Thanks for sharing this and for being here.

    1. I hear you, Rosanna. I get caught in that performance trap all the time. I think it’s a byproduct of our very social society where everyone’s accomplishments are on display. We have to be careful to stay in our own lane and pursue our personal best, not the girl next doors. Thanks for being here!

  10. Dear Tiffany,
    Oh, I can so relate to this, from my earlier years also: “If I wasn’t failing, I believed I was succeeding—and I’m not quite sure which is worse.” He truly does just want our hearts, doesn’t He? And that is such a better way to share with each other too, weaknesses & strengths, they ALL belong to Him. Thank you for once again touching my heart with your openness and love for Jesus! Blessings to you!

    1. I agree, Bettie – being willing to share our mountains and valleys allows others to share theirs too. I think that builds authentic community among the body of Christ. Thanks for visiting, friend.

  11. This is so true, Tiffany: “If we’re not careful, we’ll get so caught up in “how” we approach God, we’ll forget that the “why” is so much more important. Jesus doesn’t need us to be perfect.” May I think more today about the “why” behind my actions, both with God and with other people, instead of just the “how.”

  12. There is such a freedom in knowing we don’t have to be perfect because He is our perfection. When His perfect sacrifice replaces our striving, we’re free to embrace what He created us for. Trying to be perfect is exhausting AND places our focus on us rather than Him.

    1. A hearty amen, Esther! Pursuing Christ vs. perfection is SO much more fruitful. It absolutely gives us the freedom to to grow into the person He intends and know Him more deeply. Thanks for visiting!

  13. Great post Tiffany— a poignant reminder that it’s our relationship with Jesus that needs to be nurtured above all else. Thanks for sharing :) Stopping by from #SaltandLight

  14. Tiffany, It’s so nice finding you here today! I loved your article. It’s full of wisdom and points straight to the freedom we have in Jesus. I love that!

  15. The wonderful news of the Gospel is:
    We don’t have to be perfect. We are given the perfection of Christ.
    We don’t have to do it alone. The Holy Spirit does it through us!

  16. great post – a true mentor never gets in the way of Jesus for her mentee. A slippery slope if we think we are even slightly perfect or perfectly suited to meet everyone’s needs and problems. Settled into my imperfection helps me most since that’s when others can see through my holes into Jesus’ wholeness. Preach it, sister. PS I’m wondering if those who seem so perfect actually feel that way? Another lie from Satan and never peace-giving. The height from which we fall can be worse than tripping from a good pair of platforms!

    1. I agree, Sue – sharing our imperfections invites others to be honest about their own. That’s where the real change happens. And I know I struggled with believing I always had to look perfect – even when I felt anything but. Such a good point – that masking steals our peace!

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