The Disease of Perfectionism

bullseyeLike many nursing students, perfectionism is one of my driving factors. It takes a lot of work just to get in to a nursing program, much less complete it successfully. My academic life was driven by perfectionism—and it affected my spiritual life as well.

I grew up in a Christian home with fantastic parents who love the Lord. I came to know the Lord at an early age, but towards the end of high school I wasn't in a good place spiritually. I was afraid that if I messed up, or if I didn't do something perfectly, God wasn't going to love me anymore. did everything like a "good Christian" should, but, in my heart, I was far from the Lord and was motivated by perfection, not by a love for Jesus. I was afraid that if I messed up, or if I didn't do something perfectly, God wasn't going to love me anymore.

In college, I did what every "good Christian girl" should do and joined a campus fellowship. I had no idea how the Lord would use the InterVarsity group to change my life. In my first small group, people shared their struggles and questions about faith, not just give the right answers or show they had it together. It was such a foreign concept to me when people showed imperfection or authentically shared the specific ways they were broken. I was shocked.

My InterVarsity staff minister, Elizabeth, challenged me to press into who God is—and not just what he expects. This laid the foundation for my spiritual journey. Through experiencing this kind of authentic community and being challenged to think about the character of God, I realized that God cares a lot more about who I am than what I do.

One Scripture that influenced my view of God is Psalm 147:10-11: “His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of the warrior; the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” I realized that what gives the Lord pleasure is not how strong or perfect I am, but where my hope is. His love is steadfast—firm, loyal and never changing—no matter what, and no matter how perfect or imperfect I am.

Since then, this truth fuels my spiritual growth. I still feel driven by perfection, but Jesus is working on this in me. I've come to know God and his character so much more. I’m growing in trust and confidence in the Lord, even when I'm confused or scared to death of what's coming next.

In nursing school, when everything was chaotic and challenging, it was very important for me to remember this. No matter what happens, he is the constant and he will carry me through everything. I am grounded in God.

--by Bethany Eckerd, BSN, RN

Bethany loves her job as a nurse but she has another passion--walking with nursing students as they meet Jesus and follow him. Read more in the article, Why I Joined NCF Staff.


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