Imperfect is not such a bad place to be, but it sure is hard to get there.
I think as women we just want to have it all together. We want to do things just right. We feel regret and disappointment when things don’t go like we think they should. We feel that it is our responsibility to fix things, to make life run smoothly. And when we can’t? Well, that’s not such a good feeling inside.
And I have that kind of feeling tonight. I’ve started this blog. I am supposed to have a new post all written up by 6:00am in the morning. It’s supposed to be full of encouragement and helpful things for you. I have tried all week to create a good post for you, it’s 9:15 on Sunday night, and I have nothing. It’s not a good feeling.
In all honesty, I feel totally inadequate. So I guess all I can do is just be real. And maybe my real will point back to Jesus. He’s the One who can help us with our struggles and give us answers in the midst of walking out our messy and frustrating day to day journeys to find peace in the imperfect.
I’m not here to tell you I have all the answers. Because I don’t. But I can share my story with you, and I can be open about struggles I go through. I can share what has helped me.
It’s all I’ve got to give.
But if you think about it, that’s all the He asks for anyway. He isn’t asking me to have it all together, or to write you the perfect blog post, or to fix everything in this world that is broken. He is just asking me to be me. He is just asking you to be you. And He is just asking us to be available. To show up. To tell our stories.
So when I get like this, I go back to my notebook. (You can read about it HERE).
My notebook helps me with the steps I need to take to get myself back in proper focus. It’s a daily thing, a moment by moment thing.
When perfectionism gets the best of me I have learned there are some things I can do to help change my focus.
Find a quiet place. I don’t know about you, but the enemy has all kinds of lies running through my head. But if I slow down and find quiet I realize that the whisper of God is louder than the shouts of the enemy.
Think about who God is. When we think about the character of God we remember the truth about His strength, faithfulness, and presence in our lives. He is for us, not against us. He will fight for us and banish the lies of the enemy. Within His character, we can find our identity. It’s found in the love of God and His son Jesus. So when I think about God, I remember who I am. Loved by Him. And that is enough.
Ask to be set free. There are so many things that can weigh us down, our sins, our anxieties, our worries, the pressure we let perfectionism lay on us. We can ask to be set free. He will do it. I often find myself asking Him to set me free from myself. He loves to take us and remake us. Restoration is His specialty.
Take time to be thankful for something, any little thing. Emily P. Freeman says it so well in her book A Million Little Ways, “Thankfulness can chase away a thousand thoughts of shame.” Thankfulness takes our minds off of what we think we don’t have and puts it on the blessings right in front of us. The gratefulness changes my perspective and helps me move away from focusing so much on me.
Have an Outward Focus. Pray for someone. When I can focus on someone else my thoughts are not so wrapped up in myself. Perfectionism is very self centered because it’s all about my thoughts, my feelings, what other people will think about me. When I can get my focus off myself, I am freed to do something helpful for another person by praying for them.
Remember God’s Word. Scripture is so powerful. When we repeat a scripture we are literally praying God’s own words back to Him. When we are at a loss for words and don’t know what to pray, God has already provided us with powerful, intentional, effective words straight from the Bible. Reading these verses again and again fills our minds with truth. That truth overpowers the lies that we should not be listening to.
I’m able to walk through these steps only when I stop long enough to find quiet. Sometimes, in the hustle and bustle of the day, I will just have to settle for finding the quiet inside my heart. It’s there, patiently waiting in the midst of the rush of the day. Even when I can’t sit down with my notebook, I can think of these steps in my mind and remember Whose I am. And that, in itself, is a powerful way to lay aside perfectionism. In the quiet places we can hear God. And that begins to change us.
In consistently going through these steps I find that my thought processes are changing over time. I am able to depend a lot more on Him and a lot less on me. I hear the truth contained in His words. And it begins to rearrange my thinking patterns so that the negative thoughts swirling around in my head are overpowered by the Word of God.
It’s a daily battle, a life long process, a moment by moment type of thing.
But surprisingly, there is a joy in the journey. There is freedom inbetween the hard places that I never knew before. Letting go perfectionism even one small step at a time means that it is no longer holding me back like it used to.
So that notebook we’ve been learning about here on the blog for the past few weeks? It was a God send for me. With the steps contained in it I found a pattern of specific things I could do that would lead me out from under the control that perfectionism had over me.
Listen to the truth from God’s Word:
But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. Psalm 3:3
It is so amazing to think of how the Lord is our shield, how He protects us, loves us, and wants to see our faces as he reaches down with His hands, takes hold of us and helps us to look up to Him. He can take the things we struggle with and help us find ways to keep taking steps to find freedom, no matter what the issues are.
If you would like to download the RESTORED notebook, you can get a copy HERE.
Psalm 3:3 (ESV) But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. If you click on the verse reference you will be taken to it’s page on Bible Gateway. There are many free resources there to further your understanding of any Bible verse!
Praise and Worship
Just Be Held by Casting Crowns. Click HERE to watch.
What kinds of ways do you find quiet moments in your life? Feel free to respond in the comment section below.
We’ll talk about how to keep perfectionism from defeating your prayer life. Join me on Monday!
This post may be linked in other encouraging places. Click HERE to find out where!
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