Perfectionism can be a motivating force that pushes us to achieve great things and become fuller people in Christ. It can also be a detrimental force that drives us to unhealthy patterns and obsessions. When does being good become bad? In this book Richard Winter explores the positive and negative effects of perfectionism on our lives. He looks at the seductive nature of perfectionism as it is reflected in today's media. He examines the price and perils of perfectionism including depression, anxiety, eating disorders and other psychological disorders. He then moves on to explore the roots of perfectionism, delving into what originally awakens this drive in us. Finally, he provides a new perspective on perfectionism that is thoroughly rooted in finding our confidence in our identity in Christ and his teachings. For anyone who struggles with perfectionistic tendencies, this book will provide fascinating insight and instruction into the healthy pursuit of excellence and perfection.
Honored in 2006 as a "Year's Best Book for Preachers" by Preaching
magazine. Perfect body. Perfect clothes. Perfect family. Perfect house. Perfect job. We strive for excellence in all areas of our lives. And there's nothing wrong with a healthy, mature pursuit of excellence. But what begins as healthy and normal can sometimes become neurotic and abnormal, leading to debilitating thoughts and behaviors:
- eating disorders
- anxiety and depression
- obsession and compulsions
- fear of failure
- relational dysfunction
In Perfecting Ourselves to Death,
Richard Winter explores the positive and negative effects of perfectionism on our lives. He looks at the seductive nature of perfectionism as it is reflected in today's media. He examines the price and perils of perfectionism. And he explores the roots of perfectionism, delving into what originally awakens this drive in us. After analyzing the negative feelings and defeatist behaviors that unhealthy perfectionism births, he provides practical strategies for how to change. "The important thing to see," writes Winter, "is that we are to strive to become better people, not just to be content with who we are or how we measure up to the standards of the culture around us." For Christians this means becoming more like Christ in every area of our lives. Here is the "perfect" book for those who struggle with perfectionism and for those pastors, counselors and friends who want to understand and help perfectionists.
Dr. Richard Winter, husband and father of four grown children, is a psychotherapist, counselor and professor of practical theology at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. A native of Britain, he trained in medicine and psychiatry in England and has lived in the United States since 1992. His books include and .
"Are we called to be perfect by Jesus? Yes. Are we capable of being perfect? Absolutely not. Richard Winter in his generous, brilliant and compelling style ushers us through the conundrum and then takes us to the glory of a God who was perfect on my behalf to bear the weight of my imperfection. This book is hopeful beyond words and a delight to read. You will be prepared to know the profound desire to be holy against the unholy desire to be perfect. Prepare to fly in the face of the false god of perfectionism."
"What is the difference between striving for excellence and seeking perfection? The former is attainable, the latter is not. The former spurs us on, the latter so often leads to chronic frustration, even despair and depression.
"In Perfecting Ourselves to Death Dr. Winter ably explores this apparent paradox, and charts the emergence of perfectionism with its varied origins in our genetic inheritance, upbringing, temperament and motivation.
"As a teacher and counselor, he combines a background of medicine and psychiatry along with a clear biblical foundation and many years of pastoral experience. The result is a book which is thoughtful, clear and accessible and will provide an invaluable practical resource for preachers, counselors and sufferers alike."
"Here is a clinically competent discipling resource that has been written to help Christians see how dehumanizing perfectionism spoils lives and to show how it may be overcome in Christ. To the other-oriented perfectionists, self-oriented perfectionists and other frazzled folk whom Professor Winter addresses he shows himself a truly wise guide."
"Somewhere in each of us there is always a voice that says, 'Not yet have you done enough.' Richard Winter helps us identify the source of the voice, whether it echoes from ancient caverns of parental criticism, the packaged idealisms of pop culture or the streams of doubt flowing from a damaged soul. Then he surprises us by showing that the echoes cannot come from everywhere if they are not true. The joy of this wonderful book is not its denial of the truths of our perfectionism but the writer's delight in the greater truths that drown the echoes of our self-doubt in a voice of love far greater."