bearHisimage

She came into the meeting brimming with enthusiasm over her bright idea that she presented in just the right way. She laid it all out there for us and then stopped to gauge our reaction. And then her face fell flat. Because none of us responded in the way she expected. Because none of us thought it was a good idea. All of us thought we knew a better way. And none of our better ways were the same. In our effort to do things the way our team thought they should be done, I could tell that we stomped on someone else’s spirit and that she would be a little less free to share next time.

Everybody likes things done a certain way, right? We just have our own preferences, traditions, and beliefs about what’s right or what’s best or what needs to be done. Right? And we tells our selves that’s okay because we just know best or we have more experience in this area or we are in charge or whatever…because we want it to be perfect. And we want to be seen as perfect.

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Perfectionism masquerades as a desirable quality…something good that we should all strive for…a reasonable expectation that we should have for ourselves and others. It fools us into believing that we just have high expectations, or like to do things with excellence, or just want what is best for everyone. And in reality perfectionism is a weight that we were not meant to carry.

And frankly perfectionism is not something I thought I struggled with. I could see it in others for sure. But in myself? No way! (Those of you who know me well  may be laughing uproariously right about now. I’ll need to ask you to keep it down a little!)

The truth is that perfectionism has manifested itself in me in some less than desirable rude ok, downright ugly ways at times.

Perfectionism tells me to have high expectations. In reality, my way is the right way.

Perfectionism tells me to pursue excellence. In reality, I’m the judge of what is excellent.

Perfectionism tells me I just want others to be their best. In reality, I just want them to be like me.

AmyCarroll picAmy Carroll has written a book that has helped me identify these tendencies realities in myself. Amy is open about how perfectionism has affected her life, family, relationships with others, ministry, and her walk with God. She lovingly helps us see where we are doing the same in our own lives and then points us to the One who can heal it all.

Breaking Up with Perfect: Kiss Perfection Good-bye and Embrace the Joy God Has in Store for You has helped me see where I value doing things the “right” way (meaning my way) over doing things God’s way. I’ve hurt others by expecting them to meet my standard rather than pointing them to the love of Christ. And I’ve hurt my own relationship with Him because in my less-than-perfect moments, I’ve been reluctant to let Him see the mess I’ve made of things.

Finally at the end of the book, Amy even gives us a list of 50 ways we can leave perfect behind for good. Some are small and funny ways that we can remind ourselves throughout the day that we are not, indeed, perfect. Others are ways we can be transparent with trusted friends who can help us through our own perfection recovery. And still others ask us to listen to God as He weighs in on our own perfectionistic tendencies.

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Every word of this book comes from Amy’s heart for being who God wants her to be and for encouraging us to be the same. She talks straight about the places perfectionism shows up in our lives and pretends to be something else. And she is honest about the consequences we might have to face if we choose to continue to pursue perfectionism. That’s where it really hit home for me. In striving for perfect, I’ve determined in my own head what that looks like (Perfect Is). This becomes the driving force for the way I treat other people (Perfect does). Until I mess it up (Perfect fails). Because I’m not perfect. (I know that surprises all of you!).

The good news is that I’m not expected to be. Amy says,

God is calling us from the hollowness of self-made perfection to the wholeness of God-given completion.

That’s where I want to live. Not in the hollowed out space that I think is perfect. But in the wholeness of who God is as He lives in and through me.

Doesn’t that sound like the perfect only place to live?

CoverThis week, I’m giving away a copy of Amy’s book. You can enter below!! And while you are at it, Amy has set up a five-day devotional that you can receive to help you trade perfection for Himperfection. Sign up here.

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Breaking Up With Perfect

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