Progress, Not Perfection

Progress, Not Perfection

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I am a closet perfectionist. (Well…not so much of a closet perfectionist anymore since I just confessed my perfectionism to you!) Growing up, I learned to be very performance and achievement oriented. I was the girl with the straight-A report card and the perfect penmanship. I was the girl whose school uniform always met the dress code. I was the girl who always arrived early for appointments.

As I got older, perfectionism became a dead weight. Perfectionism debilitated me. It led me to second guess my thoughts, my actions, my decisions. Then, to overcompensate all this self- doubt, I became a huge people pleaser. People pleasing was my personal insurance against being imperfect. If I ever messed up, then at least the other person would still like me.This vicious cycle became so bad that I feared taking any action for fear I’d do the wrong action. One day, the Holy Spirit stepped in and shared this verse:

“Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?”

(Galatians 3:3, NIV)

Yes, I was foolish. I was trying to work out in my flesh, in my own humanity, what God had already accomplished in me. I had to learn that God doesn’t demand perfection from me. He’s pleased that I move forward. He’s pleased when I make progress, not when I achieve perfection.

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

(Philippians 3:13b-14, NIV)

I had to sit down and set a new standard for myself. And so (being the rule maker that I am!) I decided that making progress means:

  1. Rejoicing in the small steps along the way.
  2. Taking note of what I’m doing right. (Instead of focusing on my faults.)
  3. Immersing myself in the Word so I can see myself as He sees me.
  4. Enjoying the journey and not just blindly pursuing the destination.

To keep these four points in mind, I try to spend daily time prayer journaling and reading the Word, but even my quiet time can be a source of religious perfectionism if I’m not mindful. I now see my quiet time as a time of fellowship between friends. I share with Him what’s on my heart, and He corrects, admonishes, encourages me through His word. Each moment that I choose following His Spirit over striving in my flesh is a small victory. It’s not perfection, but it’s progress.

Let’s chat. Do you struggle with perfectionism or the need to please? How are you working to overcome it?


Preslaysa Williams About Preslaysa Williams

Preslaysa Williams is a multi-award winning author and actress. Her work centers and celebrates women of color. Visit her online at Or on Facebook and Instagram @preslaysa Or on Twitter @preslaysawrites


  1. Oh yes. Perfection. I used to use perfection as a way to feel accepted. So glad the Holy Spirit spoke to you on this, and I love the Philippians 3:13 verse, too. I go to that one a lot. To me it’s God saying, “That was yesterday, let’s get a good night’s sleep and enjoy tomorrow.”

    Thanks for this, Preslaysa ! So happy to have you here.


  1. […] folks! I’m guest blogging about my struggle with perfectionism at the Putting on the New blog today! Hop on over and say ‘hi’! Here’s the […]

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