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Archive for June, 2011

by Bonnie Gray

Faith is a verb described as a noun.”
~William Backus

I used to tell myself, “I have to stop being a perfectionist!” Can anyone else hear the irony of those words?

One of the biggest traps I often fall into is the notion that I can get rid of perfectionism.

If only I had more confidence in myself…

If only I could let go of the past…

If only I trusted God more…

If only…

All this If-Only thinking accomplished only one thing: keeping me from my Only-Hope of freedom. My focus to overcome my flaws blinded me to the truth. God hasn’t been waiting for me to be better. God has been longing to love me deeper — more than I had ever dared to imagine.

An Experiment

You and I don’t have to wait until we are free from perfectionism to start taking new steps. I have gone through a lot of re-starts in my life.   One thing I’ve found consistent: the voice of perfectionism always tries to stop me. The newer the step, the louder the criticisms of perfectionism hisses.

It’s become so predictable that I came to a startling conclusion:  the pull towards perfectionism isn’t going away.   On this side of heaven, these critical voices can’t be annihilated completely. But, I’ve also found a more powerful truth: the voice of God dares me to step forward anyways, because I am more loved than my imperfection.

Part of being human is experiencing our weaknesses. But, it doesn’t have to control the choices we make. I’d done a pretty good job of listening to the voices of perfectionism, I decided to try an experiment.

Just for argument’s sake. What would happen if I started siding with the voice of God’s love? I did a word study on “perfect” and “love” through the Bible. I began taking The Love Dare.

When In Doubt, Take The Love Dare

Using the nuggets I dug up from God’s word, I challenged myself — as a dare — to make choices that reflected my trust in God’s love for me, rather than how I felt about myself.

The Love Dare:

Whenever I get to a fork in the road between my fears and faith, I dare to:

1)  Stop making decisions based on three things: fear of failure, mistakes or others’ opinions of me.

2) Take the step that reflects only one thing: God’s unconditional love for me.

The Love Dare is based on this key verse:

“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:5b

Top 5 Lies Of Perfectionism

As I took The Love Dare, I found some ammo to combat the Top 5 Lies of Imperfection.

Lie #1. I’m not good enough.

Truth #1: So what.  God loves what I’m doing anyways!

“If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness… God’s power works best in my weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9, 11:30

Lie #2. It’s too late.

Truth #2: It’s never too late. God saves the best for last!

“Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” ~ Jesus turning water into top grade wine. John 2:10

Lie #3. Why bother starting if I can’t finish?

Truth #3: I don’t know how long this will take. But if God’s in it, I’ll make it!

“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

Lie #4. People won’t like me.

Truth #4: Not everyone will.  It will hurt, but God still thinks I’m wonderful!

“it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself… but the one who examines me is the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 4:3-4

Lie #5. People will hurt me.

Truth #5: Even if that’s true, hurt won’t be my end.  God’s love for me still wins in the end!

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good…” Genesis 50:20

Take The Love Dare

I hope you take the Love Dare, as you find yourself at a fork in the road.

It can happen many times during the day, but remember God’s love will never grow tired or weary.

God’s love goes beyond our limits. And nothing — not even perfectionism — can keep God’s love from you.

Even as I wrote this post, the threats of imperfection wanted to sabotage me. That’s okay.

I’m going to publish it anyway.

How is perfectionism are holding you back?

How is God encouraging you to step forward?

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Sometimes being a grandma has its downfalls…I love being able to say I have 9 grandchildren! They are all awesome. But the problem I’ve been struggling with lately, is I never hear from them. Yes, I’ve tried calling…maybe a couple of times.  Yes, I feebly tried to write letters….once. I didn’t get any answer back.  The problem is this: I don’t keep at it. I just don’t perservere. Is it because I don’t seem to love them unconditionally? I surely thought I did, but you know, when they don’t respond….then I don’t respond.

Well, what kind of person would I have been had it not been for my Grandma Hull? Looking back now, I know that she prayed for me all of the time. We did talk on the phone, but it was after I was married. But even then, it was usually her calling. Looking back now, she never put any conditions on our relationship. I can see that now…but probably never even thought about it before. She knew I would grow up to be the kind of woman that God wanted me to be. I know that, because she treated me like I was already that woman.

One thing that I happen to do regularly is to pray for them. But God has shown me lately, especially, it’s not about me. It’s not about whether or not they think of me (I know they do). It’s not about if they love me or not (I know they do!). It’s about them and how they are looking at life now. Some are teenagers. Some are much younger. One is an adult man. It’s about them knowing that God has a plan for them. It’s about them doing the right thing. It’s about them making the right decisions. These grandchildren of mine have lots on their plate. It’s about how they are handling their Dad being in Bagdad. It’s about how they are feeling about their future, just graduating from high school. It’s really about their relationship with God.

I feel so much more encouraged to continue to love them and pray for them. No, it’s not about me. It’s about these wonderful 9 grandchildren of mine.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”  ~Jeremiah 29:11-13

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