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Perfectionism Is At the Core of Almost All Addictive Behavior

I know it sounds insane, but it’s true: At the core, in the heart of almost every addict of any variety, there lies a soul that is super-sensitive to imperfection—someone who just can’t accept mortality on such imperfect terms. Almost every addict is running from imperfection in himself or herself and in the world around them. He or she is a person who just can’t figure out why God would allow such a messed up world as this, where so much injustice (imperfection) and unrighteous behavior (more imperfection) could be gotten away with. What was He thinking, anyway?

I think we who have such a self-defeating and outright damning response to imperfection have actually fallen for the very lie that Satan would have perpetrated on the whole human family from the beginning. It is really important to remember that it was his plan to have a mortal life where there would be no allowance for learning by our own experience the good from the evil. He would have had us all be perfect in every way and return to God having learned nothing from our mortal “wilderness” experience. I have come to believe with all my heart that it is Satan, the father of all lies, who is constantly shaming and blaming us for not being perfect and filling us with disgust and abhorrence toward anything less-than-perfect about ourselves or the world around us.

I’ve come to realize that this kind of idolatry of perfection (addiction/dependency upon perfection) only serves to separate a person from God, because our chance to experience imperfection here in mortality is actually His will and according to His purposes.

As I sat in the temple, recently, and pondered the fact that it is Satan-not God-who attempts to terrify me with demands of perfect and immediate adherence to every covenant and principle of the Gospel, I felt impressed to share the following “seed” thoughts in this month’s article. My hope is that something said here will inspire you to reflect and maybe even write a journal entry of your own concerning your thoughts and feelings about perfectionism. How do you feel about our Father’s plan including so much tolerance for imperfection and so much mercy toward His far-less-than-perfect (less than fully mature) children?

Tomorrow, read Part 3: The Savior’s Perfect Patience

~Colleen H.

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