So… the old saying “practice makes perfect”, I firmly believe to be false. Why? No one on earth is perfect. Why put the pressure on ourselves to be something we can never achieve. This phrase is the cause of perfectionism in musicians. I’ve heard so many teachers and parents tell say this, it makes me cringe. Until 15 years ago I thought being a perfectionist was a good thing. My producer started teaching me why it wasn’t a good thing.
As a musician I know striving for perfection leaves musicians always longing for more and never being satisfied. It also has us comparing ourselves with our favorite artist. You feel that your music is always lacking something. The phrase that we should adopt is, “practice makes permanent”. We do need to practice our craft and be diligent at the task God has given us to do and to the best of our ability. We need to learn to stop comparing ourselves to others and realize that God created us to do something very specific that no one else can do. If we try to be like someone else, we might miss or delay what God has created us to do. Relax in who you are!
The only perfect person on the earth was Jesus. None of us are Him, so our music or are craft will never be “perfect”. We can come close to it, bu never attain it. So that should help us all relax a little as to not feel that burden any longer. God doesn’t want us to be burdened. He does wants us to strive for excellence. God is very much into details. Look at how detailed the instructions were for the building of the temple for an example.
Let’s dig deeper…If we can somehow be perfect in certain areas, we will be satisfied with ourselves and not have a need for God. If we feel that our performance at work, home or on stage are perfect and that we fill that emptiness that only God is big enough to fill, then we have replaced God. Our perfect performance mentality becomes our god, which is idolatry. We then base our identity on our performance instead of who we are in Christ. What’s the problem with that?
Well, besides the fact that God tells us to keep Him first, He didn’t design us to fill that emptiness with performance based things, that we are to fill with God. We can never be good enough on our own. We need Christ. The main issue is that we are not perfect and we will fail. We are human. If our identity is based on our “perfect” performances, we will always feel we don’t measure up and not accepted. We will feel that we have failed. We cannot worship our own good words. God left a huge space to fill in our lives to worship Him not ourselves. Worshiping anything else doesn’t fill that God sized void.
So how do we stop the perfectionist mentality? By placing focus on pleasing God and worship Him. Trust Him and thank Him for all things. Let God have control of life. Surrender. He doesn’t look for a perfect person, He looks for a faithful person who loves and seeks Him with all their heart. God works through the humble, not the proud. Look at the life of David for an example. He messed up, but His heart was loyal to God. In Acts, God said that David was a man after His own heart. Wow!
Jesus died for us so that when God looks at us, He sees perfection. When we try to have our identity in our performance essentially we say Jesus died in vain. We are attempting to do what only Jesus could do for us.
I teach my students that we should strive for excellence. Practice is to make consistent performance habits on stage and have fun doing it. Our work is our worship. If we consistently work hard and work unto the Lord, He is pleased with our loyal and faithful heart that seek to please Him. That takes the pressure off of us and allows God to move in our hearts and to use us to reach others. Also when we place our focus on God and pleasing Him, suddenly our problems vanish. Not because we are ignoring them, but because we begin to see the big picture.
Our identity is not performance based. We don’t have to earn our identity. Our identity is in Christ.