Oh, You’re Not Perfect? Me Either.

Perfectionism.

It’s a major part of my life. It consumes everything I do and say.
The struggle of constantly trying to be perfect. It has become an obsession. It has been an obsession….for far too long.
Whether it is perfecting every area of my life, or fixing something imperfect so everyone can think it is perfect, or criticizing myself when something doesn’t meet my expectations.

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But the inside.
Oh the inside. The inside is a wreck. My heart hurts from all the times I haven’t lived up to my own expectations.

Where should the boundaries be? What are the expectations that I should have for myself and others? Where is that line between “doing your best for the Lord” and demanding that everything I say and do and how I look has to be perfect?

Because right now, they are not in a very healthy place.
Right now they are stifling, consuming, and demanding.

God is holding out His hands, waiting for us take them and be wrapped in His grace.
He is waiting for us to take a hold of the world He is offering us, a world where we don’t always have to be perfect.
Because Jesus took that burden of perfection with Him when He died.

Perfectionism was nailed to the cross along with shame, guilt, comparison, pride, and every other sin of the world.

When we take our eyes off the cross, we focus them on ourselves.
Our strivings. The ways we can look better and look like we have it all together. But I don’t want my eyes to be on myself anymore. I am imperfect. I mess up.
But He doesn’t! He is ever faithful, unchanging, PERFECT. He will never let you down. He will never make you be someone that you aren’t. He will never set expectations for you that you can’t fulfill.

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I don’t have to be perfect, because Jesus was perfect.

I want you to do something super vulnerable. Wherever you are, I’d like to you speak that out loud over yourself. Even if you’re in a public place and you think people are going to look at you strange. (Perfectionism again…..) It’s time we start speaking life over ourselves instead of death. It’s the time for truth and encouragement.

I wish that I could have definite answers for you.
A list of how to overcome perfectionism. I don’t know if it’s something that you have already overcome, or if you’re in the same boat as me. I wish that I could invite you to a party that I’m already attending. I wish I could tell you that I have it all figured out already.

But then again, that’s my perfectionism talking. Because there’s the lie in my head that you only want to hear about things I’ve already overcome. Instead of being vulnerable and saying, “Hey, I know what you’re going through and I’m going through it too. So how about we figure it out together?”

So I’m here to tell you that perfectionism? It’s a lie.

We don’t have to be perfect. We don’t have to have it all figured out. It’s okay to extend grace to ourselves, because God extends grace to us.

Maybe like me, you think being perfect is being beautiful.
And if I’m being my real self, it’s not going to be beautiful all the time. Most of the time it’s going to be messy and real and vulnerable.

On the surface, there isn’t a lot of beauty about a mess. But in the mess of our hearts is where God is doing His greatest work, and there is where we find freedom. And freedom is always beautiful.

God, I pray that You will break these chains of perfectionism in our lives. I pray that You will show us how to lay down our striving and our own strength, and look to You for Your grace and mercy when we have expectations for ourselves that are not Your expectations for us.

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Waiting For Happily Ever After

Sister, did you cry on Valentine’s day?
Me too.

Did your heart maybe say some ugly words as you walked past the couple staring lovingly into each other’s eyes while you were getting your coffee?
Me too.

Did you laugh and smile when they said it’s also “Happy Single’s Awareness Day,” and pretend that it was all okay?
Me too.

 Pieces // Steffany Gretzinger // From the album "Have It All":
photo via Pinterest

I was hoping that this Valentine’s Day I’d be happy and carefree and proud to be single.
But no.
It was hard to see my best friends that evening and know that they had a romantic date to get to yet that night while I was headed to a café to eat alone. And go home. Alone.

And not have a boy that you love to give you a hug and tell you that he loves you and he hoped you had a fabulous Valentine’s Day.

If you’re there too,

Sister, I feel you. Join the club.

We just want our Prince Charming to come riding up today, DANG IT.

We so easily get trapped in that feeling of loneliness that is so hard to climb out of. The enemy knows how to keep our hearts captive by feeding the lies that there will never be a boy to love you and everyone thinks you’re ugly and you’ll be alone for the rest of your life.

The enemy is quick to point out all the cute tumblr couples and sappy Instagram posts and perfectly posed Pinterest pictures that are all great on their own, but lead to comparison so quickly if we let them. We want a boy to love us NOW.

But is that what we really want?

Do we really want to skip these seasons of our lives and go straight to the end? This time of year hurts for many people, but the Lord has a big plan through it all. Maybe this wasn’t the Valentine’s Day that you were hoping for and the movies and cards and sappy Instagram posts made you cry, but it’s not over yet.

This season is contributing to your happily ever after.
It’s all part of the real-life fairy tale, and the ending will be oh so much sweeter if you let the Lord do His thing, and not force a relationship that isn’t His best for you.

It is so easy when you’re lonely to be so desperate for someone to love you that you are willing to throw your heart out to the first boy who will pay attention and tell you you’re pretty.
It’s not worth it.

You’ll know when it’s HIS best for you, and please don’t settle for anything less.

 

Even When You Can’t See

Staying passionate is something that I think we all aspire to.
We want to constantly be so in love with Christ that it just spills out into everything that we do and we cannot stop talking about Him and His goodness.
So we go to a conference or a worship service that inspires us. And for a week we are head-over-heels in love with Jesus.
But two weeks later, we’re back to were we started.
And then we start to beat ourselves up and wonder if we’re actually a Christian if we can’t stay in love with Jesus.

Or is it just me?

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I think we need to be honest with ourselves.

We are going to go through mountain-top experiences in our Christian walk. We’re going to be so in-love with Jesus that everyone can see that the glow and the smile on our faces is from Him
But we’re also going to go through dry valleys. dark tunnels.
We need to prepare ourselves for hard times. We need to realize that these are the times where we dig down deep and press into God. Even when we can’t “feel” Him. These are the times to truly pursue His heart. These are the times that your roots are going to grow deeper as you learn to trust Him even when you can’t see Him.

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And the mountain-top experiences?

Praise Him. Praise Him with every breath within you. And as you worship Him, He will allow you to experience His majesty as He pours out His love on you.

Learn to accept both seasons.
We need to love our love and delight for God drive everything that we do. We need to let our gratefulness for all He has done in our lives push us forward into tomorrow.

We need to live a lifestyle of thanksgiving for all He has done, and also realizing our need for more and more of the Father.

During the good times and the hard times, He is still good. Don’t ever doubt that.
Anchor yourself in the foundation that you are marked by His delight.
He is always for you.
Whether you can feel Him or not.

 

If you think you’re alone

Why is it that we think we are the only one going through life awkwardly…messily.

That we are the only one who struggles with “that” issue?

That we are the only one who has those fears hidden deep inside our hearts?

Why is it that we feel as though we are the only broken human.

Why is that we feel alone?

 

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We pass others on the street with our heads down, oblivious to their lives. The hurts that they have. The fears that they struggle with, that might be the same as ours. We don’t realize that every day we interact with others who feel just as alone as we do.

I want to tell you.

There is a place for you, for them. A place where you don’t have to feel alone.

 

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There is a place for your fears. For your good side. For your bad side. For your talents. For your bad habits. Everything. There is a place for you. A very special place in the kingdom chosen for you before you ever existed.

Instead of striving to be better on your own, drown yourself in the reality of who you already are. Your identity as His child.

Immerse yourself in His love.

And be alive and aware of other people and the stories and fears that they have.
Extend to them the same grace that has been extended to you.

You are a mess. They are a mess. But you don’t have to be a mess alone.

Because you have a place.

Bless > Impress

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Shauna Neiquist said, “With people, you can connect and you can compare, but you can’t do both.”

You can choose to have a relationship.
Or you can choose to stand back and evaluate what they have that’s better than yours.

You can bless them, or you can impress them. But you can’t do both.

The bottom line is: you can live from a place filled with the love and joy of the Holy Spirit, or you can live from a place of desperation-reaching-searching for anything you can say or do that will make you “enough.” Whether that is comparing what you have to what she has and deciding you have the best, or realizing that she has the best and deciding to not like her.

These cycles of comparison always hurt you and others far more than you realize.

Choosing to live from a place filled with love will allow you to accept yourself. You will begin to know the heart of the Father towards you and through that, you will be able to love yourself and other’s the way that He would. You will be able to end the cycle of comparison.

God calls you beloved-can you call yourself beloved?

To those who are able to be brave, and have the courage to show up. I want to thank you. Thank you for living and loving from a brave and authentic place. To those who are able to connect instead of compare. We need more people like you.

We need to start accepting ourselves as we are. Accepting our gifts. Our talents as well as our flaws. Accept our lives. Accept the adventures we been given as well as the trials we have endured.

We need to choose to go up to that girl who looks like she has it all together.
Maybe her outfit all matches while yours has a coffee stain as well as a hole you just found while you were driving to work that morning. But chances are, she’s hurting as much or more as you are. Choose to get to know her before you compare your insides to her outsides.

When you choose to accept yourself and your identity as His beloved, you are able to truly connect with others and show them their identity in Him as well.