"Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart." 1 Peter 1:22 (NIV)
I was at the height of my glory. All my friends had gathered in a large closet off my third grade teacher’s classroom, where we put together a play for the class. Our girlish giggles floated through the air as we created a story and practiced our lines. I was in charge.
Large and in charge.
I directed. I bossed. I revised. I plain took over. Soon the giggles turned into grimaces until finally the group staged an all-out mutiny. They were tired of trying to live up to my idea of perfection, so my cast abandoned brokenhearted me to deliver a monologue.
Sadly, that same kind of scenario continued to play out in different ways again and again into adulthood. I wanted to do well so badly, and I wanted the approval of my friends even more. Perfection seemed like a good goal, but my Good Girl List, the list residing in my heart of all the things I needed to do to earn approval and love, constantly battered my relationships. My perfectionistic ways drove friends away instead of drawing them close.
I learned this truth: Relationships shatter when we value perfection over people.
Maybe you hold the Never Good Enough List close to your heart. Instead of listing all the things you need to do to measure up, it’s the list of all the ways you feel you don’t make the grade. You’re going to die trying, though!
On the outside, Good Girls and Never Good Enough Girls look the same. We work hard to create a perfect facade in order to hide our mixed-up insides.
It’s exhausting! Always trying to do it right. Always working to follow the rules. Always falling short and feeling the sting.
It’s strange that Jesus has used a little rebellion to rescue me. Even though I tend to be a rule-follower, I have a rebel streak, too. I hope you have a little rebel in you as well — whether you wrestle with the Good Girl List like I do, or struggle with the Never Good Enough List. Just when we feel beaten down and nearly subdued by our lists, our inner rebel rises up, our sass kicks in and fresh strength surges to fight our urge to be perfect!
Inside, we’re sick of our own perfection — those facades and lists — and we scream, "Enough!"
When our lists interfere with the gifts God has for us, including the gift of friendship, that’s when it’s OK to rebel. Not only OK — but good!
When we — as freedom-loving women — band together in this uprising for authenticity and against perfection, a miraculous thing happens. Restoration begins. Relationships begin to flourish, and these relationships fulfill the profound longing we all have for deeper love — a love that extends to God, ourselves and others.
Even though our longing for relationship is a God-given desire, we often turn that longing upside down, and it becomes an unhealthy impetus for approval. That upside-down longing is what propels us into a frenzy of trying harder and harder to earn love.
But when we participate in this righteous rebellion, our longings are turned right-side up and morph from the warped pursuit of perfectionism to the beauty of authenticity.
Instead of seeking perfection, we’ll be free to connect deeply with God and with the people we love. These new relationships will be tighter and more invested than we ever imagined. Tighter than all our self-determined work could ever accomplish. And that’s what we’ve been after all along.
Lord, my pursuit of my own perfection has worn me out. Help me stage a righteous rebellion, surrendering to Your perfecting work in me. As I surrender, please restore my relationships with You and others to a place of true authenticity and love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 19:7, "The instruction of the LORD is perfect, renewing one’s life; the testimony of the LORD is trustworthy, making the inexperienced wise." (HCSB)
Today’s devotion is adapted from Amy Carroll’s newly released book, Breaking Up with Perfect. Enjoy the FREE resources included with your book purchase today.
Amy invites you to visit her blog where she’ll be giving away 10 copies of her brand new release and a grand prize you won’t want to miss!
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Which list do you hold most closely … the Good Girl List, or the Never Good Enough List?
How would it change your relationships if you staged a righteous rebellion and laid your list down forever?
© 2015 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.