Peace over Perfection: Enjoying a Good God When You Feel You’re Never Good Enough – Faith Chang

Peace over Perfection: Enjoying a Good God When You Feel You're Never Good Enough by Faith Chang
Published by Good Book Company on April 1, 2024
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life
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Encouragement from the gospel that gives peace and rest for those who struggle with perfectionism.

Many Christians, often without even realizing it, struggle with a type of Christian perfectionism. We strive to please God but are plagued with anxiety about making mistakes. We want to do God’s will but live with a self-berating inner voice even as we seek to serve him. We sincerely believe the gospel and love Jesus but struggle with never feeling good enough before God.

How can Christians wholeheartedly pursue God without an undercurrent of guilt, fear, or anxiety? How can imperfect people experience God’s peace while seeking to obey his perfect standards?

Author Faith Chang addresses the struggles of her fellow "Christian perfectionists" through meditations on God’s character. With nuance and care, she writes for those who seek to grow in Christ and live for God’s glory yet live in fear of failure. She explores the Bible to show that as God deals with us as in-process people, he is far more merciful, righteous, and patient than we may have imagined. As we consider how he interacts bountifully with us, the weary and scrupulous Christian perfectionist will be freed to pursue God while experiencing his love and peace.

There are prayers between each chapter for specific situations Christian perfectionists face, such as “A Prayer for When You Feel You’re a Fake.” Reflection questions are included for those reading the book in small groups or one on one.

Many Christians struggle with perfectionism in their faith, and it can be especially difficult for people to recognize this form of perfectionism as what it really is. After all, we need to strive for holiness, and many people believe that it’s inherently good to have a highly sensitive conscience. In this book, Faith Chang explains what Christian perfectionism is, explores some different manifestations of this problem, and shares biblical wisdom for how Christian perfectionists can find rest in their salvation and God’s love for them.

Chang shares her personal story to help validate people’s experiences with this issue, and she also shares encouraging quotes from preachers and writers from Christian history. Each chapter also ends with a prayer addressing various facet of Christian perfectionism. For example, there is a prayer for when you are hearing the voice of condemnation, and there is a prayer for when you feel like you’re a fake. The book addresses lots of different struggles, offering compassion and clear biblical encouragement, and Chang explores biblical teaching that relates to moral scrupulosity and feelings of guilt. She writes about God’s love, our salvation in Christ, and the slow process of sanctification, highlighting core truths that correct distorted thought patterns and false beliefs.

I found Peace over Perfection very encouraging, and I appreciate that Chang includes references to OCD, explaining that religious scrupulosity can sometimes be a symptom of this mental disorder. I dealt with OCD for many years, and even though scrupulosity was not my primary struggle or concern, it was part of the whole picture that I worked through over time. It would have been so helpful to me if books like this had existed back then. I read all kinds of books while looking for some kind of help and insight into my struggles, and there was pretty much nothing that applied to my problems directly. I am so thankful for the recent increase in public awareness, and I am so glad that people who are struggling with issues like mine will be able to stumble across a potential diagnosis in books like this.

Peace over Perfection: Enjoying a Good God When You Feel You’re Never Good Enough is a great book for Christians who are dealing with a constant low-grade sense of failure, or who are suffering with intense feelings of worthlessness. People who feel overcome by guilt for the slightest infractions, or who feel discouraged because they never do enough, will find clarity and encouragement in this book. Chang primarily focuses on theology and biblical teaching, and some readers may find that this book’s focus on right thinking doesn’t speak to their need for emotional counseling and other forms of healing. Still, this can be helpful and clarifying for anyone who struggles with Christian perfectionism, and it will be eye-opening and transformative for readers who are stuck in distorted beliefs and thinking patterns.