We’re three blogs into a series titled, “The Tangle of Perfectionism.” I hope God is speaking to your tangled heart and giving you hope for your healing.
Earlier this week, we unpacked the expectation from others that we have to be “perfect” Christians. And how we’re sometimes joyful when others prove themselves flawed. Nasty, nasty, nasty. You can read it here.
We’ve also talked about how we’re all trying — somewhere or somehow — to be perfect, and how it’s exhausting. And how striving for perfection is actually very selfish. If you missed it, you can check it out here.
Today… let’s talk about those times we’re paralyzed by the fear that we’re not perfect…
I was in Barnes & Noble the other day trying to find Untangled in the wild.
Every time I stop in a bookstore, I can’t find it. And when I ask the sellers to help me, they tell me it’s sold out and then ask, “Can I order it for you?” or “Can I call you when we receive the book?”
Usually I just say I’ll check back another time, not mentioning that I shed blood, sweat and tears as I wrote that book. And I walk away disappointed.
But this time was different.
When the seller’s computer showed it sold out and on order… and when he asked if I wanted to be notified when it arrived… I said these bold words…
“Actually, I’m the author. And I’m just so anxious to see it on the shelf.”
And those two simple sentences tangled me because the Enemy quickly whispered… “You’re so prideful. You’re a show-off. You sounded stupid.”
I hate when he does that. And I hate even more that I listen.
Within seconds, a second employee was right in front me. “We’ve been trying to connect with you! We want to do a book-signing in the store for Untangled!”
And I was paralyzed.
She must have seen the look of fear on my face. “It will be good. Don’t worry. We will take care of all the details.”
Here’s what ran through my mind in warp speed:
~ I’m lame. No one will show up for that.
~ I’ll sit all alone at a table and no one will stop by.
~ I’m a nobody. Why would anyone be interested in what I have to share.
So I politely told her… no thanks.
But my 12- and 13-year-old kids spoke up saying that I should… and that I would. And just like that, she got my number and my email and said she’d be in touch soon.
Ugh. I hate to put myself out there like that. (it makes me sweat)
As I shared the fear of rejection with my editor a while back, she called me out on it. She said that God created each of us to share a message with the world. And when we let insecurity paralyze us, everyone misses out.
~ So often, we find ourselves trapped because we’re afraid to fail.
~ We’re sure we don’t have what it takes to be successful, so we don’t even try.
~ We’re afraid of being judged, and so we become paralyzed, losing confidence to do what God is asking.
But we forget God isn’t expecting perfection from us.
He is just hoping for a “yes”.
Matthew 5:48 in the Message says, “In a word, what I’m saying is, grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity.”
Woah. That’s a little in-your-face. I like it.
In other words… get busy, girl.
Waiting for the perfect conditions or the perfect moment, waiting for the time when all your insecurities and struggles are untangled, is… unrealistic.
You don’t have to be perfect to do what God is asking you to do. Because God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.
Don’t let the Enemy make you believe you don’t have what it takes—that you’re not brave enough, or holy enough, or smart enough, or have the leadership skills to do God’s work.
Don’t let him tangle you with memories of past failures. Don’t compare your abilities to the abilities of others. And stop waiting for those perfect conditions.
You see, whatever God is calling you to do—big or small, here or there—He will give you everything you need to do it.
Here’s why I know that: “There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.” (Philippians 1:6 MSG)
Sweet friend, you are good enough because you’re backed by God. You have His unchangeable Seal of Approval.
And if you ask, He will loosen the tangle of perfection that says you can’t… you shouldn’t… or you won’t be able to.
Because you were created on purpose to do good things in the world.
Now go do them.