Confessions Of A Recovering Perfectionist

Confessions of Perfectionist Instead Seek Me

By: Gail Armatys

I confess. I am ~ a recovering perfectionist.

It’s not that I think I’m perfect. Not by any stretch of the imagination. But, I have been known to strive for it. Perfection, that is.

Prefectionist Found Out

Somehow, it wasn’t until earlier this year that I finally realized I have been a perfectionist much of my life. This revelation surprised me. I uncharacteristically mentioned this trait to friends recently and one of the women nodded saying something like, ‘I knew that.’

I was shocked!

First, I couldn’t believe it was so apparent. Second, her statement was like an arrow that had pierced the armor this perfectionist hid her imperfections behind.

If you know anything about perfectionists, we think we run a pretty tight ship and strive to be put together and cinched up. The fact that this characteristic was apparent hit me like a wild pitch in a baseball game.

I was totally unprepared, left slightly bruised…and ultimately appreciative.

Jesus Desires Perfection…Really?

When Jesus taught the ‘Beautitudes’ he said we were to ‘be perfect’ immediately after speaking specifically about loving our enemies.

Therefore, be perfect. Just as your Father in heaven is prefect.

Matthew 5:48

Most of us would probably agree, pulling off love for our enemies might take more perfect than we’ve got…it takes Jesus’ merciful perfection in us.

That being said, the Greek translation of ‘perfect’ here means completeness, growth. An appropriate definition offered might be this.

Be that which God has designed you to be.

Sweet words to a recovering perfectionist and career encourager ~ and to you who join me in your perfectionist armor!

Be who God designed you to be! Be perfectly you!

True Story

Just before I began writing this blog with ‘perfectionism’ as a possible topic, I thumbed through my journal.  The one I write scripture verses, prayers, and Holy Spirit inspiration in during my early morning time with God. This was what I found written on January, 2015:

“Instead of seeking perfection in this fallen world,

pour your energy into seeking me.”

Clearly, God intended to peel back yet another perfectionist layer by leading me to I write this blog.

My prayer for you who wear your armored-up perfectionist wardrobe is that you would seek God in your moments, in your circumstances, and in your days so that you may be all God designed you to be.

Purpose Prayer

Merciful God, thank you for opening my eyes to your definition of perfection. Forgive me for armoring-up instead of seeking more of you to pour into me. Help me strive only to be that which you have designed me to be. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Purpose Step

Write down one step you can take this week to reveal yourself ~ the true you to others. Be brave. Do it!

Listen to Your HeartSong!

Flawless/Mercy Me

What To Do When Insecurity Calls

By: Amy Dalke

Insecurity can be beaten you know. And I've got 6 ways you can do it.

I know a little bit about insecurity.

Actually, that’s an understatement because if there was such thing as an Insecurity Expert, I’ve basically earned a Ph.D. or something.

The good news for you is, I’m real-life proof that just because you live steeped in insecurity today, does not mean you’re doomed to that life forever. Ideally I could tell you that my own path from insecurity to freedom was instantaneous.

But it wasn’t.

In fact, it’s been an ongoing growth process where those “less than” feelings have been shed layer by layer.

Maybe you don’t have a clue what I’m talking about, and that’s fantastic. However I have a sneaking suspicion that you are intimately aware of this life-stealing issue. If insecurity is your standard MO, then the following experiences may be familiar:

–Insecurity walks into a room, and a familiar wave of “not belonging” begins to fill up your gut.

–Insecurity reminds you that you don’t fit there.

Insecurity convinces you that every eye is on you, deftly picking apart all your inadequate pieces.

–Insecurity whispers that you’re wrong in all the right places, like an uncomfortable waistband that squeezes around your center. (Insecurities about the central region are the real deal, mind you.) (Which is why Spanx generates billion dollars in revenue.)

Insecurity reads between the lines of every word spoken, and hyper-focuses on how others interact with you (their tone of voice, body language, etc.). You’ll use this info later in your obsessive mental replay.

–Insecurity takes the words of others and twists them to confirm that you are wrong, good for nothing, and “less than” everyone around you.

–Insecurity tells you that you shouldn’t get involved at church since you probably don’t have anything special to offer. They seem to have it handled anyway.

–Insecurity keeps you from applying for that job you feel like you were made for…because surely someone more qualified will get the offer.

When you carry insecurity in your heart, you carry insecurity with you into every room, every situation. Is this really how Jesus people are meant to live? Didn’t Jesus say that we’re worth a whole lot? Didn’t he prove we’re worth a lot more than human opinions when he died for us? I mean, that’s kind of a big deal.

So how do we live like that’s really true?

You can’t fix insecurity with a pill, essential oils, or shopping. Not that I know anything about that. (Actually, I know far too much about it.)

Victory over insecurity requires that you have some face time with God. Because God’s view of you is reality. But if you don’t know what He says…then how can you live out the truth?

(1) Rather than nurse your irrational feelings in the face of insecurity, lean into Jesus and ask him to show you what truth looks like in your current situation.

Your freedom is inexplicably tied to knowing the TRUTH, according to John 8:32. And I’ve learned the hard way that feelings are not fantastic truth-tellers. Here’s a handful of truth to keep in your back pocket:

  • You are loved and accepted by the One who matters most. (Ephesians 1:5-7, Ephesians 2:4-5).
  • God gives you strength and dignity (Proverbs 31:25), therefore you are valuable and worthy of respect.
  • You are God’s work of art. (Ephesians 2:10) (This is more than a Christian-y motto: it’s WHO YOU ARE.)

Insecurity doesn't have to your thing. Here's 6 real-life, proven, practical ways to beat it.

2) Go ahead and channel REO Speedwagon. Because you really can’t fight these feelings anymore in your own strength.

So stop trying. (I mean, hello, that hasn’t exactly worked out so well…)

When the self-obsessed drivel works up a chatter for your attention, ask God what it’s all about. He can shine light on the real source and help you deal with it in truth.

(3) Think “Drop It Like It’s Hot” when perceived slights creep into your insecurity loop. Don’t even give those thoughts a chance to make one full spin around the mental track. Because over-analysis is sort of what got you here in the first place.

It all sounds pretty easy tucked into neat bullet points, but this is one of the hardest battles I’ve ever faced. Time and time again we need to stick our nose in scripture and beg God to give us His perspective so that we don’t just fold up into our own shaky self esteem.

But watch out, world. Because when we apply God’s truth to our insecurity, we will be unstoppable. And friend, that’s exactly what God wants for you.

Will you believe it or not?

Amy

p.s. Quick before you go! Here’s proof that freedom is possible for you:

Exhibit A: Referencing REO Speedwagon does not fall into any kind of hip category. (I own my nerd-ness.)

Exhibit B: Drop It Like It’s Hot. I don’t even know, y’all. I’m blaming it on hormones or Jesus. Because seriously.

Will You Choose To Surrender?

The Truly You Purpose Project

The Truly You Purpose Project God Knows and Loves You Anyway

Truth Tip #4

Surrender to Your Purpose

This is week 4, Truth Tip #4, of the Truly You Purpose Project. We’ve been learning how to live who we truly are by understanding our inherent and sacred worth, accepting God loves us anyway, and remembering God has a plan for each of our lives. This week we end our project with Surrender to Your Purpose.

I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

Jeremiah 1:5

Your Assignment…Should You Choose To Accept It

You have been appointed, ordained by God for a special work, called to a certain mission. And, you are in good company.

Jeremiah was appointed to be a prophet to the nations, Mary was pre-ordained to bear the Savior of the world, the woman at the well was intended to tell others what Jesus said and did for her, Philip was to teach the Ethiopian eunuch, Mother Theresa was assigned to serve the poor, sick, and dying. Jesus came to save the world.

Everyone who breathes, high and low, educated and ignorant, young and old, man and woman, has a mission, has a work. We are not sent into this world for nothing; we are not born at random; we are not here, that we may go to bed at night, and get up in the morning, toil for our bread, eat and drink, laugh and joke, sin when we have a mind, and reform when we are tired of sinning, rear a family and die. God sees every one of us; He creates every soul, . . . for a purpose.

Cardinal John Henry Newman

Surrender to willing obedience

Like those whose names and stories fill the pages of your bible, you have been given an assignment. You may never be written about, sung about, or quoted but your willing surrender to your mission makes a difference in the lives of others where you are today and those who follow in years to come.  None of us have gone untouched by those who displayed willing obedience to God’s calling.

Exposed and Surrendered

In the New Testament Greek, the word purpose most often means intentional, to set forth, be exposed before God. In another word…surrendered. Yikes! Full exposure! Could this mean that we must willingly and intentionally expose ourselves, our sin, pride, and plans at the foot of the cross in order to live fully our purpose?

Jesus submitted himself to God’s will as a boy in the temple and as he walked out his ministry as an adult. It’s exactly what he did in the Garden of Gethsemane, too. He surrendered his human desire to take a pass on the degradation and pain of the cross in order to fully expose sin and accomplish the purpose for which God sent him…in exchange for the glory before him.

Surrender to Your Purpose

For us, there is another option…

When it comes down to it, we may not really want to know the purpose God has in mind for us. Or we may be afraid of what God’s purpose will require of us.

Dr. Katie Brazelton

My hope is that you choose to know God’s appointed purpose and joy for your life. Like Jesus, you must surrender your will…a moment by moment process for us.

And although God’s plan probably doesn’t require you to die physically ~ brutally ~ in order to know and fulfill your purpose, you surely must die to yourself. When you do, yes, you will be exposed. But you will also live as you were meant to…truly you.

Purpose Step

What will you surrender today to help expose yourself to God’s purpose for your life?

Purpose Prayer

Lord, thank you for appointing a unique purpose for my life. Help me to boldly and humbly desire and accept your will for my life surrendering myself completely to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Listen To Your HeartSong (Click the link below.)

Surrender/Lincoln Brewster

The Stories We Share

By: Ms. O

I am not sure why we do it….it seems to come so naturally. Perhaps it is to let someone else know they are not alone…that you have shared that same struggle…and survived. Maybe to let it be known you are a survivor…you have earned your stripes…part of the “club”. What I have come to realize is that as we “share”, the joy is at times lost…in the story.

The happening… sharing…. takes place when someone has a baby. The story swapping of sleepless nights, colic filled hours, potty training disasters, terrible two’s, tiresome threes….the list goes on. The tales flow from our lips….commiserating the battle we fought to raise our children…and come out with half a brain and most of our nerves intact. We speak freely of spit/vomit/poo soiled clothing….trading a fashionable purse for a functional diaper bag….clothes that never fit the same again. I can’t even go into the teenage years…

What I have come to realize is I was missing the forest because of the trees….so caught up with the hurdles that I forget to mention the fact that of how much I miss the scenery along the way. There is much joy in the journey…which makes it all worthwhile… everything we go through as parents.

I can still “smell” the scent of my babies snuggled under my chin, looking for the safety that only a parent can give. I loved those times that I had when only “mommy” would do…when I was their do all end all. I miss their little voices calling my name…seeking me out…touching base to make sure I was still “around”.  I have long ago gotten rid of the maternity clothes but I still remember the feeling of carrying my children in my body….that sweet joy of knowing you share breath and life.

There were times that I felt my heart would burst with pride as I watched my children graduate….go on to college…live on their own…find their own way. Sure, I have been part of their packing and moving but I also know that they are separate entities now…what is supposed to happen…and I got to witness it. The struggles were there…but those moments caught in time remind me that parenting changes “faces”…it is still…parenting.

This blessing we are given as parents is so utterly humbling. God trusts us to raise “His” child…His gift….and His desire is that we not just “get through it” but more so remember the moments…the joy filled moments…that linger only when we make a point of reminiscing.

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

To put it plainly, I would do it all over again…and again…because it showed God’s character…in me. I am in awe of what I got to experience…those captured moments of accomplishment that served to reveal God’s faithfulness.

God has more confidence in us that we can ever imagine. He has made us to endure the tough times but even better than that…He softened our hearts to take in the joy of the moment as we “fight the good fight”. I am amazed when I look back and take in the full picture…realizing that there is a season for everything but no season is lived alone.

As God assured me that I will make it through long nights…. whether it was with an infant who would not go to sleep or waiting for my teenager to make it home safe…to take in whole picture….the joy of knowing I was part of it all. God revealed to me that He created me for the long haul….and to enjoy the struggle because I won’t pass through it again….it is a season…and it’s gone.

It is fine to share our stories…it connects us…assures others…ourselves….that God is in control. There were times I wondered if I would make it…and I look back now and laugh at my very “young” view….because He fashioned me to not only make it…but also to rejoice in it all.

One day I will sit at my Saviors feet and I will share my joy in the journey we walked together…knowing that it is the mix that makes it so wonderfully worth it. Praise be to God from Whom all blessings flow.  Amen.

4 Facts About You That Insecurity Doesn’t Want You To Know

4 Facts That Insecurity Doesn't Want You to Know

By: Amy Dalke

I don’t know about you, but some days I just wake up at the bottom of an Insecurity Pit.

And it’s on those days that I have to preach the gospel to myself, or I will otherwise spend the day as a pit-dweller, which pretty much means that I’ll spend the day measuring myself against others, and reminding myself of the 58 reasons that I’m ill-equipped and under-qualified.

Insecurity is a bold-faced lie that creeps into our life from all angles. 

We have insecurities about everything from our bra size, to dress size, to the size of our homes. 

We wear insecurity on our shoulders as we muddle through friendship issues, mother-in-law drama, and parenting fails; and insecurity is the filter through which we interpret every conversation.

Insecurity is a pit-dwelling trap, and nobody has time for that. 

But it’s not like we text Insecurity and invite her over for coffee and muffins, nor do we go looking for a pit to jump into. Which means something tricks us into that pit, and we need to figure out how to avoid it next time.

Here’s the deal: if the way you see yourself is rooted in insecurity, then your view is vastly different from God’s. And the key to avoiding the pit is to live based on how God sees you.

Since God’s thoughts about you outnumber the grains of sand, there’s no way I can pack all of that awesomeness into 600-ish words. But this is a start:

4 Facts About You That Insecurity Doesn’t Want You To Know

(1) You have been adopted as a CHILD OF GOD. (John 1:12; 1 John 3: 1-2). I know. How clever of me to tell you what your 2nd grade Sunday school teacher told you.  

I might as well say, “Hey, don’t be insecure. You’re God’s child. He’s got this.” #FistBump #PrayingForYou

But actually, when you sink your mind into the implications of what “being God’s child” really means, you will discover that true faith isn’t grown in a cotton candy patch. 

Throughout scripture, God’s people are the underdogs who have no hope of winning and every reason to fail. They are the Least Likely and Most Ordinary who dare to believe God is who He says He is.

Their lives aren’t defined by their trials or successes, but they have a deep sense of security in the middle of hard and painful and unfair. 

This is the life God invited you into as His child- the great adventure life of faith. The difference between facing Hard as a child of God, is that you know who holds your future and faithfully directs your life. (And that happens to be God, who runs the world.) 

(2) You are ACCEPTED in Christ (Romans 15:7, Colossians 2:9-10). We can list every reason why God shouldn’t accept us. But I forget that nothing I do surprises him…and I start thinking how disappointed He must be. 

But, hello, God knows more about us than we know about ourselves…flaws and all.

And He accepts us anyway. 

This means that even when life throw us for a loop, or when relationships fail us and disappoint us, we can still rejoice in Christ’s complete acceptance of us.

(3) You are CHOSEN to bear fruit (John 15:15). It took me a long time to grasp the awesomeness of this verse. Mostly because it’s hard to relate myself to parts of a tree. (Or really the whole gardening concept in general.) 

Nonetheless, knowing this will change your life: God purposed you to live in this time, in this place, in this generation. And He custom-made you with skills, strengths, and gifts so that He can uniquely impact others through YOU. 

Yes, YOU. (Even though ____, even if ____, and even still.) 

(4) You are a CITIZEN OF A HEAVENLY KINGDOM (Philippians 3:20). I know, I know. You aren’t dead yet, so what does your eternal address have to do with it? 

Actually, heaven has everything to do with this very moment. Jesus-people have been born into the Kingdom of Heaven where we enjoy the rights and privileges of our new homeland right here and now.

We are ambassadors of this heavenly kingdom, and God works in us and through us to bring heaven’s work to earth in every step we take. 

————————————-

The enemy knows that when we know who we really are…we will be unstoppable.

Satan is well aware that God has defeated him. But if he can trick you into believing that you’re the loser, then he’s won a small battle. 

And to keep winning, all he has to do is keep you focused on who you aren’t.

If insecurity is masking your true identity in Christ, then ask God to show you where your thoughts have gotten tangled in a lie. He will lift you out of that pit, one truth at a time.

(Also please feel free to kick insecurity in the face with every new inch of victory you gain.)

Amen.

Set Apart To Fulfill God’s Plan

The Truly You Purpose Project

The Truly You Purpose Project God Knows and Loves You Anyway

Truth Tip #3

God Set You Apart  

 To Fulfill His Plan For Your Life.

It’s week three of The Truly You Purpose Project. So far, we’ve learned you are of sacred worth, and God’s love is unconditional…he loves you…no matter what. While you may have already known these things intellectually, I hope you have now enveloped them in your heart and invested them into your soul as they are foundational to moving forward and living truly you.

This week, we step into Truth Tip #3 of our life purpose project and realize God set you apart to accomplish his specific plan for your life.

Truth Tip #3 

God Set You Apart To Fulfill His Plan For Your Life.

…before you were born I set you apart;

Jeremiah 1:5

I’m married. For the second time. Divorce was not part of my plan.  Frankly, it wasn’t God’s plan for my life either. In hindsight, perhaps neither was my first marriage.

Back then…1981…I didn’t think much about God having a plan for me. I was much too focused on myself for that. I definitely had a vision for my life, my marriage, and future family. Unfortunately, I don’t recall that I included God in the picture except for maybe church-going on Sundays. I claimed Christ as my Savior, attended bible studies, prayed and read scripture, but my faith wasn’t deep enough to know I could trust God in and with everything…even my life partner…even my dreams. I didn’t know how to be brave and listen to God’s voice, to view circumstances as signposts on the path to my first marriage.  I didn’t know God set me apart and had a specific plan for my life.  A plan to accomplish his purposes and bring me joy along the way.

I know now…and it has made all the difference.

Your Role In God’s Plan Is Significant

…God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles…

Galatians 1:15

When we set something or someone apart, we do so to keep it or her separate for the right purpose, place, and time. We separate good china from the everyday dishes for use on special occasions. When we bake, we set apart the dry ingredients from the wet until the right time. We separate our music on play lists based on our moods and preferences.  We set apart people for different jobs at our offices to bring optimum results. Setting apart has purpose.

In this scripture from Galatians, the apostle Paul reconfirmed the calling God had on his life…this ‘setting apart’ that occurred from birth. Paul testified that God lovingly and specifically selected, separated, and meant for him to complete a plan. Not Paul’s plan, God’s plan.

Paul’s plan was to persecute Jews…and he was good at it! But God knew all along the winding roads Paul would choose to take and he used them to strengthen and empower Paul’s testimony of Christ’s love to the Gentiles…eternally life~changing to those of us who are not Jewish!

Paul’s role in God’s plan is significant. So is yours.

Your role is significant

If you are anything like Paul ~ or me ~ in setting out to follow your own plans, you need to know that you have been set apart from birth to make a way for the completion of God’s great plan and glory. His plan includes your roles, personality, relationships, giftedness, location, experiences, faith, and even the ashes resulting from wrong choices.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purposes.

Romans 8:28

Through my first marriage, I was gifted an incredible son.  I gained a whole lot of wisdom, and my relationship with Christ grew deeply. God has used my past to create a desire in me to help other women draw close to him and know and accept his plan for their lives. In doing this, I live God’s plan for my life and bring glory to his name.

Step forward into God’s plan for your life.  Be truly you!

You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.

Proverbs 9:21

Purpose Prayer

God, forgive me for making my days all about me and my plans. Please open my eyes, ears, and heart to know and accept your will for my life. Thank you for somehow using my mistakes and misdirection for my good and greater impact for your kingdom, greatness, and glory. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Purpose Step

Write down the plan you have for your life. After praying and reading scripture, do you sense God has something different in mind for you? Are the differences small tweaks or huge leaps? Perhaps you’re right on target! In any case, praise God for his plan and ask that he reveal specifically how he wants to use you for his glory.

Listen to Your HeartSong Here

Set Apart/Worship Central

-Written by: Gail Armatys

How To Change Your Own Weather

By: Amy Dalke

Tired of your own bad attitude? Learn how to change the weather in your own head.

One recent Saturday morning, I went about my business trying to hold the whole world in my hands (as I sometimes do), and I was a little stressed out (as I sometimes am).

The day’s calendar was bulging at the seams, and I had kicked it off in sort of a grumpy mood. It was in that sour attitude that I hustled through the house and observed its contents through an Angry Mom lens.

Apparently a sporting goods store had just blown up in the middle of the living room; there was a layer of dust covering the coffee table; and animal hair (so help me, God) had gathered in each corner and doorway within my line of sight.

This didn’t exactly have a positive affect on my state of mind.

After I took all this in, my mind raced to count all the things that were wrong with the house. The pantry floor needed to be mopped. Luke’s bathroom still had dried Scentsy wax on the floor. The windows hadn’t been cleaned in 9 months. The kitchen walls desperately begged for a make-over. The curtains in the game room cried to go back to the year they were cool. (Which, well, I’m not sure when that was.)

According to my perspective, there was nothing good or satisfactory between these walls. In fact, everything was just all wrong.

But then smack in the middle of my internal grumbling, I recalled a day earlier in the week when I viewed the exact same scene through a happier (rosy-like) lens.

On that day, the clutter didn’t choke me. The dust bunnies didn’t throw me into a tailspin; and the baseballs and cleats strewn across the wild blue yonder didn’t gnarl my nerves. The game room curtains didn’t rent any space in my head.

I didn’t even threaten to kill the cats because of their exasperating propensity to shed.

It occurred to me that I had prayerfully begun that particular day, and had determined to live with a non-emergency attitude. My mind was bent towards grateful instead of grabby, and since I had acknowledged from the get-go that God was in charge, I was able to maneuver unwelcome setbacks with grace.

Tasks were purposefully performed one at a time, and I deliberately paused to take a breath before reacting to various hiccups. I was miraculously calm inside and out, and outside circumstances didn’t have permission to toss me back and forth.

So what’s the deal? (Besides the fact that the latter description seems like I stepped out of a Mr. Clean commercial where the mom always scrubs the toilets with a smile on her face.)

One day I’m all Cloudy With a 98% Chance of Tornadoes, and the next, I’m Miss Sunny With a Cool Breeze & Fluffy-White Clouds.

Same house.

Same set of circumstances.

Same life.

Same baseball cleats.

Same God.

(Also, same animal hair.) 

The only variable factor present is my mindset. Which sort of means that I can change the weather just by changing my thoughts. 

A non-emergency attitude is only possible (for me) when I set my perspective on truth (beyond how I might feel), and intentionally humble myself before the One who (really) runs the world.

On the other hand, a “me-centered” perspective sees other people and situations as they relate in orbit around the ego-centered universe. Everything teeters or totters according to how it fits with my personal plans and expectations.

(Which leaves no wonder to why I whine about the color of the kitchen walls because my view doesn’t go beyond that.)

So what does your own view look like today? Do you see things through heaven’s reality, or your personal worldview? Is it all hazy in your head with a major chance of storms, or are the skies all clear?

If you catch yourself wallowing in negativity, remember that you don’t have to change a single thing around you to experience a completely different scene.

You just have to change how you look at it. 

Amy