Tuesday, April 28, 2009

p e r f e c t i o n


I just want to preface what I’m about to write by saying that God is asking me to share what’s on my heart.
Not because I’ve got it all figured out – I don’t.
Not because I’m incredibly eloquent – I’m not.
I would MUCH rather wait until I’m a little bit further on in my journey, but the Lord is asking me to share now…while I’m still messy…and have just as many questions as I do “answers”.
So please bear with me, it’s not going to be anything earth-shattering. But maybe what I’m going through will speak to just one person…and they will seek God…and they will ask Him to heal their heart the way I’m asking Him to heal mine. And that’s good enough for me.

Okay.

God has been doing a HUGE work in my heart in regards to PERFECTIONISM.

He has been showing me that, all my life, I have had an underlying belief system that “in order to be loved…I needed to be perfect”.
{By the way, I do not believe that this is the result of the way I was raised, or any other easily identifiable area – that’s not the point}
The point is, I have been asking Him to sift me, and expose areas in my heart that He wants to heal…and this is one area that He has made very clear that He wants to heal.

Of course, just like any false belief system, it didn’t just apply to me.
Unfortunately, if I required “perfection” of myself…I also had an underlying expectation for everyone else to be perfect too...
for crying out loud, if I was going to beat myself up daily for not being perfect, nobody else was gettin’ off the hook!

We all “know” that no human is perfect. But I guess that never stopped me from trying (I’m always up for a good challenge!).
To make matters worse, if everything came together at a particular time, and I was actually successful in “looking like I had it all together”…well, that just fueled my fire...
Sure enough”, I thought, “people like me sooooo much more when they don’t see my flaws, so I’m gonna have to try even harder to make sure that I don’t let them down.”

Oh, the weight of that is so heavy…way too heavy.

That desire for “perfection” has just led to all kinds of frustration & dissapointment with myself…and everybody else!
And when I am frustrated & dissapointed with people, it’s really hard to love them the way God asks me to.

Mark 12:28-31
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"
"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
There is no commandment greater than these."


A lightbulb went off for me, not too long ago, when my pastor was talking and said, “If you say you love God, but you ‘just can’t stand people’…something is wrong!”
Ouch!
Here we go.
I can feel a sifting coming on.

1 John 4:19-20
We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.

I can absolutely see the danger in not loving others…and I really, really want to love them…but it’s so hard when they drive me nuts!

The Lord has been showing me that when I have been operating under a particular belief system all my life, it’s only through Him that I can get free from it!

In my own human strength, it’s just not possible.

The good news is that when I earnestly seek Him in prayer. And ask Him to change my heart. To soften me up and help me love people the way He would have me love them. Well, I know that He can…and He will!
How do I know?
Because He says so in the Bible.

1 John 5:14-15
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”

There is not a doubt in my mind that He will answer this prayer of mine…because I KNOW that it IS “in accordance to His will”.

Sometimes I pray about stuff, and ask the Lord for something, but I don’t know for sure that it is His will. And that’s okay, that shouldn’t keep me from going to Him in prayer and asking.
However, this time, I am confident that what I’m asking for is His will…because He has commanded me to love other people. And if I can’t do it in my own strength, then I KNOW that He will help me…I just need to cooperate with Him!

So I’m excited. Excited that the Lord is freeing me up from “the need to be perfect”…and from expecting others to be perfect too!

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. THE ONE WHO CALLS YOU IS FAITHFUL AND HE WILL DO IT.”


9 comments:

  1. Well, I could surely be that one person! ;)

    I've struggled with this too...but have also felt that my heart has opened up to the Lord to let my control be in his hands...not mine! My home does not need to be perfect, my kids will not always have perfect behavior or be dressed perfectly {which is not important to me, but wish I had some more control of Emily's hair, LOL!} and obviously I can't be perfect in having it all together :)
    How hard, though! I'm definitely humble and don't take compliments well...
    Thanks for sharing your heart with us! That is also something I don't do well...but wish I could in a way that you have! Sometimes when I try, I just feel like I'm complaining ;)
    Have a great day, and I always feel uplifted in your words and in your photos!

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  2. Oh, Amanda, I can sooo relate to this post. God has been chippin' away at this perfection issue in me for the last several years~ and I'm still not there yet!!!:) I will probably be posting about this sometime in the future too. Thanks for your honesty.

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  3. Hi Amanda, I stumbled here via the LPM blog and so glad I did. I've really enjoyed reading your posts and love your blog! Have a great night...

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  5. (I deleted that comment because I mispelled a word...talk about timely, maybe there some sifting in my future)

    Not eloquent? Beautifully written, honest and truthful. And eloquent.
    And timely.

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  6. Beautiful post! So glad you shared that and it looks as if it's speaking to more than one person. As I've been struggling with this perfection thing too, and as the Lord has shown me the areas I need to let go, I realized I'm not alone, there are LOTS of women struggling with the same thing. I pray for you, and for me, and for all the other ladies here that He would refine us, that we would love like He commands us to, that He would take the shackles off our feet so we can dance! ;)

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  7. Wow. Thank you ALL so much for your comments and encouragement. I'm so glad that I'm not alone...and that this ministered to your hearts!!

    (Jerriann - You crack me up. I would have totally done the same thing!)

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  8. I don’t know that mine is so much the perfection part (I’m the youngest in our family.) But my struggle is the people part. Oh, my word, did you speak right to me about that or what? I mean, thinking the exact same thing that you pastor warned – “If you say you love God, but you ‘just can’t stand people’…something is wrong!” God has been working on this one with me for years and I’m really ready to learn the lesson and be done with it, but know that it’s an ongoing process because our lives involve relationships.

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