Welcome back to my blog where I share what I learn from and about God. I have been really focused on love lately. I am SO super thankful for belonging to the family of God. My inability to embrace love with a hard heart before I knew God scares me. I don’t know where I would be without Him. I look forward to your comments and questions about this post.
When you realize you need to make a change in yourself, it feels like you are riding along on a bicycle with the breeze against your face. Suddenly, your legs struggle to push the pedals around. The wheels that were once rolling with ease moving you forward feel stuck. It’s taking all your strength to keep the bike going up this stretch of your journey …
Check out what Max Lucado says about your given life:
“You have been given your life. No one else has your version. You’ll never bump into yourself on a sidewalk. You’ll never meet anyone who has your exact blend of lineage, loves and longings. Your life will never be lived by anyone else. You’re not a jacket in an attic that can be recycled after you are gone.” (p. 3, Out Live Your Life)
This passage inspired me to hurry my change along a bit.
I want to leave this life loving well. We do not get second chances after we leave this earth. We are free then, but may leave others in a pile of hurt.
As my last post indicated, perfectionism has been a huge weight around my ankles in a sinking ship for a long time.
(In case you missed it, https://juliedibblewrites.wordpress.com/2017/05/22/perfectionism-is-the-opposite-of-self-worth/) .
In my life and according to research, perfectionism is tied to depression and lots of criticism including shame-based parenting (Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection).
So how do you break free from the patterns of expecting PERFECT, the flawless version of life in your head, which confuses your lonely heart?
1) Pray about all things, and pray about them again.
Especially when you have gained awareness that something in yourself needs to change. God is already aware of it and is surely glad you joined the party.
Praying each day for His help in giving and receiving more compassion has led me sometimes:
to think before I speak
hug when I would rather yell
2) Be kind to yourself, for goodness sakes!
Opening yourself to His love will leave you momentarily breathless and forever wordless. As a writer, I still cannot craft an adequate description of the depth of the supernatural power of His love.
Can we agree His love is a necessary mystery to invite into our lives?
Without earthly bounds on His power, we can begin to forgive ourselves for past controlling and critical behaviors with perfectionism. He knows of your struggle. He says YOU are worthy because You are His. He says Your past is forgiven and today is a new day.
3) Lowering my expectations for yourself and for others.
Did I let go of shooting for the highest of stars right at the start?
No sir and no ma’am. I am still working on being realistic, taking lots of things into account before I comment.
Not sure if you are like me and enjoy talking to yourself and God out loud?
Today, I give you permission to ask yourself:
What am I expecting here?
Is it realistic?
Is it kind and fair to everyone involved?
May seem like elementary school stuff, but basically for me I had to start from scratch … that’s how bad it got before Jesus taught me. So far, I have learned that when I get pulled away from His love-path, it’s better to reorient myself by going back to the basics.
4) Growing an ability to embrace the messiness of this life.
Perfectionists tend to subscribe to ALL or NOTHING thinking.
At some points, this type of thinking has affected my whole family. Our two boys also struggle with perfectionism. Our youngest will give up almost immediately if he can’t understand math or read perfectly without much effort. For him, it is either I can do it or I can’t.
There are so many in-betweens in this life.
It takes time to truly embrace this messy life with only moderate success and the best-you-can-do achievements.
Could it be self-defeating to expect less?
In loving our God, loving ourselves and loving others, there are no distinct rules.
Love does not come in a neat box with illustrated instructions.
The Bible is filled with His truth that requires seeking (NLT, Matthew 7:7).
His truth can help you sift out the most important items from the muddy mess of life.
• Does the placement of the dishes in the dishwasher have a direct effect on my holiness?
• Does this parenting issue need grace instead of a consequence or grace AND a consequence?
• What do I need to accept about my spouse and children? How can I be used by Him to help mold them into the people God wants them to be?
It’s a teeth-gnashing, stomach-churning journey, but so worth it.
Love can’t grow when its stifled with unrealistic expectations and criticism.
When your energy and mood are down, it’s not the time to ramp up the enemy in your head and tear your progress to shreds.
It’s time to ask the question,
What do I need right now?
And if I can’t have that nap, walk, prayer time, shower, that I need right now … how can I be kind to myself and others while I wait for the opportunity?
The enemy makes sure we have temptations to fall, while our Jesus makes sure He is always there waiting with compassion for us and our mistakes.
The cross is our promise that every moment we can choose to live
When your heart sees that He is the Only Perfect One, there’s simply more love to go around.
And then, we don’t have to try so hard.
Thank you for being here with me today. Next post this week will be about forgiveness. In the meantime, you are welcome to connect with me in these places: