Do you find perfectionism holding you back on the journey of faith? The top 5 lies of perfectionism can be wiped out with the truth.
“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…
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.
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.”
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?
Pull up a chair. Click to share a comment.
Finding Your Voice: Thursday’s 2/20 Blog Link-Up. Faith Jam
psst… I wrote today’s post three years ago, right when I was struggling to write the book proposal (for “The Book” that will be published in this June).
I had made a new years resolution to write a book proposal the year before — before I turned 40. Well, I turned 40 and yet, I failed, even though for months and months of time and energy into it. I felt like such a loser. Defeated. Then, God gave me these words aboutThe Love Dare.
This Love Dare launched me to pick up my pen again —
To begin the journey again.
Of finding my voice.
To sit down and draft the book proposal.
Not because I was going to get published. But, the dare to be the beloved. When I removed the goal of accomplishing a goal and replaced that goal with a journey to let God love me, it changed my journey.
Beginning is very difficult. But, it’s what we were meant to journey through. Beginning is the nature of faith.
And so, I’m beginning from scratch again on my post-PTSD life. You know what? I’m encouraged by this Love Dare again today. The book I’m publishing turned out to be a different book than the book proposal I submitted. But, writing it led me to take a journey to where I could find my voice.
Even if you may not be writing a book, I believe with all my heart God writes his stories into our lives.
And it’s part of our calling to live out those stories.
To find your voice.
No matter what that looks like — in our quiet times at home with ourselves, in our relationship with God, with our hearts, in our families, with our friendships, our jobs, our parenting, marriages, — as well as our dreams, our art, and our future.
This Thursday, the writing prompt for our community Link-Up called Faith Jams is: Finding Your Voice.
If you have a blog, I want to encourage you to pick up your pen. Join me on the journey of finding our voices. Together.
Don’t think about it. Just sit down and let the words flow. You’re writing in community, a safe and welcoming community here at Faith Barista. Start now. Begin the Love Dare. In whatever area God is prompting you. Click here to learn more.
Photo Courtesy of Photobucket, Bash_emm.
Bonnie, I am so glad to be on this journey with you. Each post contains such a golden nugget of encouragement. Instead of battling mentally with the rights and wrongs and ‘ought to’s of a situation, I’m going to become a perfectionist – A PERFECTIONIST IN ACKNOWLEDGING MY FATHER’S LOVE FOR ME, BEFORE EVERY OTHER CONSIDERATION. Now this would be a truly worthwhile competition – how many times today did you choose to believe in Your Father’s Love for you, prior to trying to sort out every other consideration 🙂 Bless you Bonnie.
Thank you so much for helping me on this journey, Bonnie. I really, really needed this today. My worst perfectionism is towards myself. Those lies can be so strong sometimes. I have been so tempted to not join the Faith Jam on Thursday. How can I write about finding my voice when I sometimes still feel like it’s trapped inside of me? I feel I’m at that fork in the road. I’m so downhearted this week and I am sorely tempted to give up my website. Your Love Dare challenge to take the next step that reflects only on God’s unconditional love for me has encouraged me today. Thank you.
Dear Trudy, don’t give up on finding your voice. I have a beautiful operatic voice which I discovered back in 1998 but for numerous reasons have been unable to explore and develop, although I know this is God’s desire for me and despite my most fervent attempts to keep this dream alive. My desire to sing even lead to me giving up my 20 year addiction to nicotine. But in the last 3 years I gave up trying. But the dream is still there. Let the healing waters of this sisterly love shared via Bonnie blog carry you for a while and strengthen you while you rest and heal. I will allow my dream to bob about here as well xxx God bless xxx
Thanks so much for your encouragement, Wendy. Bravo for your fight against nicotine. Please don’t you give up either. Praying God will heal you and bring out that beautiful voice for others to enjoy!
Thanks Trudy. Giving up nicotine 13+ years ago is one of the hardest things I’ve done, but it was because of my passion to sing. Sadly endless throat problems and continual soreness that no-one has had the skill to help me overcome, has meant the dream is finally dormant now, although there will always be a glimmer. I see it as a physical variation of the trauma/blocks we each need to overcome in order to find our own, authentic voice. I am so encouraged and re-envigorated by sharing through Bonnie’s blog. Bless you Trudy. We will be fighting onward together to find our individual voices and express them beautifully as God always intended. I believe again, no matter how many years I’ve already spent fighting for this. I BELIEVE! 🙂 Bless you.
Amen 🙂 Bonnie’s blog has really helped me as well to move ahead in spite of fears and imperfections, to rest in Jesus as our hope, to be “real.” Do you have a blog, Wendy? When I click on your name, I just come up with some Yahoo page. I love this: “I see it as a physical variation of the trauma/blocks we each need to overcome in order to find our own, authentic voice.” It brings up a thought of hope that maybe God will bring out our authentic voices to be richer, deeper, and more to His glory because of the trauma/blocks.
Wow. Wendy, it’s great to hear your story. You’re already on the journey. It’s not how much progress we’re making. It’s the diretion you’re facing. And that direction is heart to God, in community here and in your in-the-skin life. Thanks for sharing. Keep resting in the truth that God’s gift of voice in you cannot be destroyed. Would love to hear you sing!
Hi Trudy, I wrote a long reply earlier then my phone froze! So here’s a second attempt. Also there isn’t a reply button on your last message, so I’m replying via your previous message and hoping you see this. No, I don’t have a blog but the question has provoked some interesting questions, which I’m asking myself, about why not 🙂 A good starting place. Also, I loved your comment about our authentic voices potentially being richer and deeper etc., It made me imagine that perhaps our voices may even surprise us ourselves, ie., to hear them coming out of us – which reminds me of Isaiah 49:21. PS I love reading through everyone’s comments, they are so encouraging and affirming and I love your handle ‘Stones Cry. Bless you.
Trudy, please do not give up your website! I just found you. 🙂 And I want you to know that I somehow completely missed Bonnie’s post this week. I have been wrestling with this very issue of voice for 12+ years now. On Monday this week, I asked God if His promise to me from 12 years ago to restore my voice was ever going to come to pass, or whether I had just simply heard Him wrong. I’ve asked Him this many times in the last 12 years. But lo and behold, this week, He answered me. It is a long story of how he began to reach out to me through a stranger to encourage me to hold onto promises long forgotten, followed by a word from a friend yesterday out of the blue (who does not really know much of my real story) – that He told her that I would not be silenced, that He would quicken my words and give them feet to run. Really? I was blown away yesterday reading her words to me. “What is God doing?” I thought. But you know what made me laugh out loud?? This morning, the first thing I saw in my email was the title to your post: “God Can Breathe Life into Your Voice.” Your reference to God breathing life into dead, dried up bones and using this analogy with the hope that God indeed is capable of breathing life into our voices that have long been silenced….Just wow. Hold onto those words, Trudy. He gave them to you for you. And He used your obedience when you couldn’t “feel” those words to blow me away this morning. So I will repeat your own words back to you, new friend: “You are uniquely created. YOU ARE ENOUGH. Your VOICE MATTERS. Your STORY is IMPORTANT. Your life has a PURPOSE.” Indeed, a purpose beyond all you could ask or imagine. Keep talking, friend.
Oh, Stones Cry, thank you so much for your kind words. My heart is melting. So awed that your heart is strengthened by words, as you say, I don’t always “feel” myself. And hearing them back from you like this means more than you will ever know. It’s so hard to imagine those words for myself sometimes. Isn’t it something how God works? God used Bonnie to encourage me to write anyway, and I feel so humbled that He used the words He wanted me to write to encourage you and then back to me. I hope you keep talking as well, Stones Cry. You have been through indescribable pain, and God is already using you to reach others who have been trafficked out so cruelly and also to me. Praying He will breathe His Spirit of Life into your voice.
Bonnie, you are heavy on my heart today, since you usually have Faith Jam running. Which is fine as you need to take care of YOU first. I just hope you’re not feeling overwhelmed or extra vulnerable with publishing your book. I hope you and your family are alright.
As you can see, Trudy. You are important. Your voice is important. Don’t give up. Even if it means resting. Your voice can never be lost.
Wow. Stones Cry. Your voice is touching us loud and clear. Praising God for all His breaking free in you! Thanks for being *you*.
Thank you, Bonnie! You have no idea how much your words here have helped me keep reaching for authenticity and so much more – time and time again. Your giving voice to things I have always kept hidden has given me courage so many times! I don’t comment often but I read always and am so thankful for your brave words that always make me feel less alone and more courageous! You are so dear to me! <3
This hit home. The lies can seem so strong and paralyzing at times. Thank you for this dare to believe in God’s love. And that even if (or when) I get hurt, God’s love is greater and He has a great purpose to use the pain.
Hello, my Beloved Bonnie!
It all started in kindergarten…Note on my Report Card: Jennifer spends too much time making her papers perfect.” My thought: Whatever! 🙂
Continuing on: I am a matchie match girl. If everything doesn’t match, then I can’t leave the house. This will include the reading glasses I have to wear constantly, so I have over 60 pairs to match with my outfits. They are all arranged by style and color in eye glass display cases that are housed on two matching bookcases in my bedroom. The other shelves hold black velvet jewelry display holders for the costume rings, watches, and bracelets. Necklaces are in jewelry armoires. Scarves are in the drawers. Clothes are arranged on Platinum Wonder Hangers (they are metal because the plastic do not hold the weight well) arranged by color and style. A bad day: my black socks don’t match even though I am wearing black boots and you can’t see them.
Currently I have two major projects that I started but have not finished because I know deep down I am afraid they won’t be perfect. One is a 100 page paper to finish my missions degree. There is no timeline on it, which is really bad for me. The second is a TESOL course (Teaching Language as a Second Language). I have missed some of the questions and topped working on it.
There is one more daily problem – I don’t go swimming because of excuses such as: I used to swim before work every day. I can’t seem to get up like that as I once did because of back pain. If I try after work, I’m too tired or I have doctor appointments. If I get all of the way home, I don’t want to leave again. If I workout too late, I won’t be able to sleep.
Conclusion: I feel like a failure. I realize on some level of consciousness that is not true, but hearing that broken in my head makes me believe the lie some days. Might I come along on The Love Dare journey?
Happily His and yours,
Not being perfect or fear of not being good enough or just plain TOO DIFFERENT have stopped me from giving my gifts so many times in my life. Finally, after lots of counseling and an on-going relationships with good Christian friends and Al-Anon, I am beginning to step out and be me–not without trembling but in faith. God always is there for me and my experiences lead me to growth. I feel almost like I am in God’s nursery growing like a child should grow with love and holy light all around me. I’m trying things I would have been way too frightened to try before. Some healing from my past has occurred and God is cheering me on to be the person He wanted and created me to be. There are set backs and stumbling blocks, but God, my husband and faith community help me over those. I didn’t have these resources growing up, but I have them now. Miracles fill my life. I’m joyful most of the time and pray when I am weary and can go no further. That is when I rest in Him who heals and loves me. It’s an awesome, amazing journey.
The Lord spoke clearly to me today within your post. I have just turned my back on a project I’ve been working on b/c it is not “perfect,. I’ve struggled with this issue my whole life and it is not getting any better! You have given me a new perspective on this whole thing and I thank God for you. I am going to go forward as the beloved and lean into Him.
Everytime i receive an email from you it always seems relevant to what going on in my life, probably not just mine either, but we can only be ourselves I don’t know what other people are feeling or thinking because I am not them, I am me!!! I have had to face a couple of things today re: my mother who passed away recently and i was dreading it to be honest, and also God yesterday hi- lighted for me something I had been doing since I was little girl till now so long time, that where my mother bless her had constantly compared me to my sister had given me inferior complex for years and God has been at work in me, but I have grown deeper with Jesus that issue brings me to tears of late, it came to me sunday evening till monday morning through my dreams one in which i was looking at my mum very strange, well I had actually put my sister and every relationship up on pedestals i had made them into idols without realising worshipping them instead of God comparing myself constantly to them and failing everytime, believing the lies has seemed easier my coping mechanism has been to run and hide and now God has me in a place where by I can no longer run but face Him I am no longer uncomfortable praise Him I don’t want to run anymore I’m not scared in fact I’m quite excited as today went really well, I have been facing my fears and confronting and letting my sister know how I feel and have been feeling, coming out from the shadows, its been a long extremely painful journey and I know there going to be more storms valleys and peaks, I have copied your top 5 lies into my note pad on my phone to assist me everyday when Im out and about especially in my line of work, as Satan aware of my weaknesses need my ammo. May God Bless you Faith Barista you are my inspiration I so look forward to receiving your emails they brighten my life up. bless you xxx
Hey Alison, I am so happy to hear all your discoveries this week — I’m so sorry about your mother’s passing, but I can also see how God is touching you through it and it’s so beautiful how you’re feeling prompted and moving out in new ways. You are very courageous about confronting your sister. It’s very painful. I know I’ve had to do the same. And there isn’t a fairytale ending, but the better journey is where we’re no longer letting our fears keep us trapped. Becoming real is more important and your story here inspires me. I can see your faith as you walk into breaking through, finding our voice and saying — with Jesus — “I am me!!”. (hugs)
Wow Bonnie, thank you for this post! It was just what I needed! I’ve been in a fork for weeks wondering what should I do regarding a new task a friend asked me to do and your No. 1 lie was the thought in my head. Now I know how to respond to the lies of perfectionism.
Those lies are all the same. The enemies tactics are always so predictable. He never gives up. But, neither does God. And He is Lord over our hearts. I’m cheering you on, Jessica! Hope today’s post I wrote on anxiety also cheers you on. You can do it!
Fabulous message, Bonnie! I don’t think I’ve ever read anything else on the subject quite so succinct and complete. Even though you wrote that this particular post is three years old, it’s still so fresh and certainly resonates with me today! I sure hope I can join you on The Love Dare and Finding Your Voice (which I’ve found to be so very important after finding the Voice of Truth). ☺♥
I first want to say thank you for Faith Barista. Reading it makes me think; meditate on the subjects and how it pertains to my life and relationship with God. When I think about finding my voice-I find I must think of it as finding God’s voice through me. Right now I don’t think there is a big way for me tovocalize. But Incantation see myself finding my voice- Gods voice in many small things throughout the day. I never considered myself a perfect tionist. BUT I see some of the “lies” that you point out within my thoughts. I intend to work on remembering them so that I can keep them from interfering with what God wants me to say and do. Dear God help me to do what you would have me to do every day in all the little things. Ithnk you for loving me– just like I am.
Oh, Bonnie, lights are flashing, horns are blaring —hearing God speak clearly to me in your Love Dare! I am tucking your words in my journal and moving forward on my own journey of writing without the need to please man, but pleasing only God. I have always been transparent in my writing, but cautious if I thought my words were not going to be approved by readers. “What will they think of me?” Being obedient to God, that is my desire. Thanks for the reminder! Bless you…….
I know. Those critical voices are shouting at me all the time. 😉 Everytime I want to write what I want. lol. You’re in good company. It’s okay. Write anyways! It means you’re close to sharing what’s real between you & Jesus. And *that* is what is real and makes a real difference when people sip your words. And if it’s not their cup of tea, then be it. We love you.
I remember writing this post years ago when my boys were little:
Now many years later, I know I will never be that resourceful-in-control woman I admire in other people who walk through trials seemingly unseared. I feel like charred remains most of the time, so your dare is very challenging, not to listen to that ‘feeling’. But to tell the truth, since I started contributing to the Thursday jams when I made a commitment to be fruitful in the land of my affliction, my world started falling apart financially. I stubbornly hold on to Him, but my stomach is in knots. I so want to ‘feel’ loved, by God, but all I feel is His rod beating away at my folly which never seems to end.
Oh, that sounds terrible Sita! That is definitely not God beating up on you. I think it’s time for you to have some real in-the-skin encouragement. To really hear someone’s say they hear you. To have a pair of eyes look across the table and listen. And to give you a hug. Take care of your heart — go see the ocean or walk through some beautiful trees. I don’t know any woman who is real who hasn’t been seared by life’s trials. The difference is we are not alone and we can help each other when we are discouraged.
Bonnie, had to let you know how God showed His love. Thank you for your words.
I love your Love Dare! Thank you so much for reposting this. I didn’t remember it but need these thoughts often and probably always will in this life. I also loved this part:
” 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.”
I don’t know that I will join the jam tomorrow. I really have no idea what I would write, and other obligations may prohibit writing tomorrow besides. Perhaps you could pray once, when you read this, that I would find the voice God has for me and be obedient in using it? I’m 42 years old, and I still don’t know what I’m meant to be when I grow up. 🙂
You are beloved. You are amazing. Thank you so much for taking us along on your journey.
Hey, girl. We’re the same age. And I’m *just* beginning that journey now. Who am I? Who do I want to be when I grow up? I think you can start writing your post with the words you started here. With this phrase “I still don’t know what I’m meant to be when I grow up.” and go from there! 🙂 Don’t worry, you can post anytime. As you feel prompted, see writing as a journal to enjoy. Catch my post today, I have a few suggestions. Dear Jesus, take care of my sweet friend tinuviel. Assure her all she needs to do is rest. You don’t have any expectations from her. And neither do we. We love her just as you’ve made her. in your name, Amen.
[…] was about to give up writing this post until I read Bonnie Gray’s post: The Top 5 Lies of Perfectionism, and she encouraged us to take the Love Dare Challenge. To just take the next step that reflects […]
You know bonny i have the same problem , i hope my personality can shine again one day :/ , im like 13 years old and i just want my spark back so i can be who i am and be my old fun loving self . pray for me please , i know you dont know me but plzz do !!
Sherry – thanks for sharing. Lord Jesus, reassure Sherry of your presence and your promise. You see her. You love her.
[…] might appeal to. Funny how, looking back, I just noticed that my very first entry fit well with the Faith Barista’s post on perfectionism from February […]
Dear Bonnie, Your email on the Love Dare is probably the most valuable message I have read in years. I led a warrior woman’s life, raised a large family: took care of my mom and worked full time to help keep our household together. At 67, these challenges are out of mine and my husband’s lives. I have reasonably good health and a wonderful family. I imagined this part of my life as productive, creative and of service to others; instead, I spend hours on the couch, fear, doubt and guilt ridden. What drove the warrior woman in my earlier life was fear for my family’s survival and desire that they would thrive. The warrior woman in me was fueled by knowing I was doing the right things, not that I was loved.
So today I stand at this Y in my path. I can stay in the lane I’ve been in for a couple of years, guilt ridden and paralyzed, or I can choose the fork to the right, witch would be freedom to do and be. Your message has helped me see this choice so clearly. I chose my word for 2014 to be BELOVED. To allow God’s love to fill me, to know I am the daughter of the King. But the word beloved was becoming just a word, as the new year has progressed. I see, from the Love Dare, that I can step out onto the new path, using God’s love to fuel my steps, heal my pain, give me courage and purpose. But only step my step, in His Love. I can see that He is calling me to step out in His strength and that my weakness is ok with Him. In fact, it will glorify Him. 67 years old and I have never been able to admit and accept my weaknesses, I have been a slave to the tyranny of perfection. I am thinking, I might even learn to laugh at them!
Bonnie, thank you for such a clear vision of how to step out in faith, trusting God’s love in the little things of my life. I feel, in some ways, that my life is just beginning. Joy is bubbling up in me!
I also want to thank you for sharing your experiences with PTSD and the causes of that in your life. My childhood was similar, and your writing has helped me understand myself better, finally. Your honesty has helped this old gal have the courage to live more honestly, God Bless you, Bonnie.
Faith is a verb!
Thank your for such a refreshing blog…I will check back often as I see there is so much good content!! Which can only come from somebody who has been broken…and now God can use mightily! ( I happened upon your blog–never saw it before–when I did a google search for Bible: best days are ahead of you. I know this to be true, but wanted truth)
Richard, I enjoyed reading “Are You Producing Media Clutter or Sharing your Knowledge and Expertise?” when you said, “it’s time to produce content that truly brings some value…” there is media clutter… it reflects the cultural pulls towards noise and distraction… but people’s hearts and souls are still alive and are drawn to what it truly wants and needs. A connection to each of our stories. And the spiritual journey. Love what you’re doing and may you continue to listen and follow that voice that express God’s voice through the videos you compose and create. Through your voice.