“Then Daniel became distinguished above all the other presidents and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.” ~ Dan 6:3


God calls us to excellence and diligence. We are called to demonstrate a higher standard in all we do. Diligent people are high achievers and have a high standard for excellence. They work very hard and want things done just right. However, this gift can turn into the negative habit of perfectionism. Perfectionism is an unhealthy pursuit of excellence. Its overall pervasive feeling of never being good enough for yourself, others and God.

Diligents’ Strengths:

  • detail oriented
  • meticulous
  • hard workers
  • committed to growing and developing
  • committed to excellence
  • sets high standards

Misapplication of the gift: Perfectionist

  • set expectations of unrealistic standards
  • procrastinate on getting things done
  • don’t trust others to get the job done correctly
  • always feel like what they’ve done is not good enough
  • hyper-conscious of making mistakes
  • always say, ‘should’, ‘must’, ‘ought to’, ‘have to’, ‘need to’
  • suffer from extreme guilt
  • sees things as black or white only
  • belittling and self-contempt
  • wastes a lot of time
  • will sacrifice sleep and food to work on a tasks
  • aim to be the best at everything they do regardless of what it is
  • beat up on themselves
  • does not like criticism
  • strong sense of injustice and unfairness
  • goal focused— not that interested in the process
  • tend to procrastinate as the task can get overwhelming
  • prone to depression and anxiety
  • emotionally guarded and don’t let walls down so they can have difficulty in relationships

Root Causes:

  • lack of positive reinforcement
  • fear of rejection and disapproval
  • fear of failure
  • feeling unworthy and undesirable
  • unpleasable parents, unpredictable home situations
  • lack of security, acceptance, value

Limiting Beliefs:

  • practice makes perfect
  • “if only I could”
  • if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again
  • being a perfectionist is the best way to get things done
  • failing at something means you’re a failure


  • no matter how hard I try, it’s never good enough
  • if I make a mistake, there’s something wrong with me
  • I am not accepted and loved as I am

Indirect Effect on Health/Feelings of Discontent:

  • feeling constant pressure, anger, anxiety, shame, disgust
  • often overwhelmed
  • suffers from anxiety
  • prone to depression

Direct Effect on Health:

  • spends a lot of time and money coming up with the proper strategy to lose weight but never takes action
  • is always “getting ready to get ready”
  • health becomes another stress – counting calories and tracking become the goal
  • can get obsessive about eating and exercising
  • goes from extremes of being disciplined to bingeing as a result of not being able to stick to their plan

Effect on Relationship with God

Perfectionists have a distorted picture of God. They feel like they can never please Him and whatever they do is never good enough for God. They believe that ‘if only’ they loved God more, served God more or were able to submit to God more then they could receive God’s love but this could not be further from the truth. In fact, their focus to overcome their flaws and imperfections are what’s blinding them from the truth – that God loves them as they are and Christ died so that they (and us all) could be acceptable to God despite all of their faults.

Reset for the Diligent/Perfectionist  

Focus on God’s grace

1. Morning Prayers: Seek out prayers that focus on God’s grace and his sufficiency

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” ~ Psalm 46:10

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” ~ Matt. 6:33

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” ~ Romans 8:1-2

“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” ~Romans 5:5b

“If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness… God’s power works best in my weakness.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9, 11:30

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” ~ Romans 5:8

2. Phrases/declarations to recite

• I’m doing the best that I can

• I’m striving for progress, not perfection

• Perfection focuses on me, not God

3. Renew your mind

Thank you God that you are healing/helping/ strengthening/working on me according to your perfect schedule.

Your grace is sufficient.

4. Re-education of who I am

• I am confident that God will perfect the work He has begun in me (Phil 1:6)

• I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-discipline (2 Tim 1:7)

• I am given God’s glorious grace lavishly and without restriction (Eph 1:5,8)

5. Long term strategies

• practice looking at the big picture- ask yourself, ‘what’s the worst that could happen’?

• practise being imperfect – eg. don’t triple check your work, be a few minutes late

• practice creating realistic expectations

• reward yourself for completing tasks

6. Mindset shifts

If you’re trying to be a perfectionist you’re probably accomplishing very little.