All or Nothing
1 Kings 19:3-18
We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Perfectionists see the world in black and white. We may feel like we're superhuman, able to take on anything, until we discover a flaw. Then we come crashing down and consider ourselves to be worthless failures.
The prophet Elijah is one of the great heroes of the Bible. If anyone had reason to feel superhuman, it was he. He could pray and stop the rain for years. He commanded fire to come down from heaven and destroy his enemies. But even he could have a bad day. Let's consider his reaction after being threatened by Queen Jezebel. "'I have had enough, LORD,' he said. 'Take my life... I have zealously served the LORD God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too'" (1 Kings 19:4, 10). The Lord replied, "Yet I will preserve 7,000 others in Israel who have never bowed down to Baal" (19:18).
Like Elijah, if we're perfectionists, we may think of ourselves as being above everyone else. We work very hard to please God and other people. But we can grow dangerously discouraged if it doesn't seem to work. This "all or nothing" way of thinking is something to watch for while working Step Four. If we don't allow ourselves to be less than perfect, we may find ourselves at great risk during the times when life reminds us that we are only human after all.
Often periods of failure follow our successes; we need to humbly recognize our limitations.