Addictions can be anything we cling to that’s detrimental to our worship of God.
It can be a substance, thing, or activity+. And for me, my addiction is perfectionism- a prison cell of control, rigidity, and rumination.
As a believer, I know perfectionism outside of Christ is unattainable and even idolatrous. However, I’ve spent three decades striving for it out of shear willpower, so it’s been a tough habit to break.
Like a drug, I’ve medicated on the hope of doing or saying something the right way. And when I attain that personally perceived perfection (which is rare), it’s temporary high eventually wears off and I’m reminded that I’m dissatisfied again.
Or when I don’t attain it all (which is often), I’m reminded of how much of a failure I am and how I need to do better next time. And it never ends… until God showed me Psalm 37 and gave me a simple task, leading to unexpected joy and freedom from perfectionism.
Psalm 37 is a wisdom psalm authored by King David, comparing the life of the wicked to the righteous. So you may be asking, what does that have to do with addiction?
Addiction means that we have lost the battle between wickedness and righteousness. We have accepted the lies that led us to this prison, seemingly elevating them above God’s truth and will for our lives.
These lies tell us that we can overcome weakness, pain, and suffering ourselves, without God’s help. Even where passionate Christians are concerned, certain vices may seem too big or too small for God.
But Psalm 37 says otherwise: if we trust and wait upon God, doing good as we wait, then He will make us dwell in the land of safety, security, and prosperity. We will be vindicated and redeemed, upheld and blessed.
This recently happened in my own life- God encouraged me to clean one thing a day and wash one thing a day. To some, this would seem a simple task to immediately master.
But for a perfectionist, it’s a great challenge. One task easily becomes an all-day event separated into a million little events, or it becomes completely overwhelming, leading to significant procrastination.
But God was slowly strengthening my spiritual muscles through daily resistance of perfectionism. My trust in Him would grow in great ways, as I would deny my addiction in small ways.
Though, I must admit that I was very unsuccessful the first month. I was constantly attacked by discouraging, condemning, and guilt-ridden thoughts.
If I didn’t clean thoroughly, if I didn’t clean at a certain time, if I cleaned too little or too much, or not at all, I felt incompetent and inept. And that’s the heart of perfectionism: never good enough.
But God reassures His children that we are good enough, no matter what is said or done, and that He loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). And He wants to set us free from that which imprisons us; He desires to give us His power and strength to overcome and keep us safe.
God showed me, through cleaning and washing one thing a day, that the power, worth, and ability of a believer lies in grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). In other words, God’s grace says, “You may have lost focus and started drowning, but I’m so proud that you got out of the boat today and walked on water. Let’s try for a few more steps tomorrow!”
Friends, I’ve tried to beat addiction on my own and was very unsuccessful. But I can assure you, through my own relationship with Jesus Christ, He has the grace you need to succeed.
Today, I can faithfully testify that I’m free from the prison of perfectionism. Through loving Christ with all my heart (which led to trusting Him), and rejoicing in Christ with all my heart (which led to doing good for Him), I can joyfully say that I dwell in His land of safety, security, and prosperity!
Psalm 37:3 Printable
Dear reader, I pray that you find comfort and truth in Psalm 37 this month. Please know that even when you stumble, He will not let you fall because He is faithful, powerful, loving, and fully committed to setting you free from the bondage of addiction!
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+ Addiction: Definition of Addiction by Lexico. (0AD). Retrieved September 20, 2018, from https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/addiction.