My friend, and fellow military spouse, Ginger Harrington shares with us thoughts from her about-to-launch book, Holy In the Moment, on how we can master the messes we make when we strive for perfection to embrace God’s holiness.
Are you a perfectionist?
Until recently, I’d have answered. “Anything but. I’m always struggling just to get it together. I am NOT a perfectionist!”
I would shrug at the piles on my kitchen counters, thinking, I’m a terrible housekeeper.
I would tell you the ironing board has been in the dining room for a month.
Despite my joking, I would hear relentless whispers: why didn’t you ___ and you should have ____.
And from my own self condemnations.
You see, I thought of perfectionists as people who always succeed. The mythical creatures who. . .
· never have a hair out of place,
· always have angelic children
· loose extra pounds without breaking a sweat
· enjoy plenty of friends
· experience success at work
. . . and on and on the list goes.
Longer than a roll of toilet paper, my list would include the things I didn’t do well. The ways I didn’t measure up.
Nope…definitely not perfectionist material.
Or is it?
What’s beneath the discouragement that reeks like old garbage in the back alleys of my thoughts? The fact that my first response is to recount my failures is a blaring beacon.
Fear Lurks Behind Perfectionism
Truth is, lurking behind perfectionism is fear:
· Fear of failure.
· Fear of rejection.
· Fear of disapproval.
· Fear of being hurt.
· Fear of not being picked in the kickball games of life.
For me, perfectionism is a protective measure. I responded to the pain of critical words, ridicule of others, and standards I rarely met.Other roots of fear grew from family dynamics. Somewhere in my child’s mind, I made a resolution that I would never make the “mistakes” I thought my parents made. I would do it better—but the underbelly of those good intentions was fear.
Friend, it is a quick step from fearing the disapproval of men to fearing the disapproval of God. Have we twisted holiness into self-imposed molds of perfectionism dressed up for Sunday and hiding behind our efforts to please both God and others?
The work of trying to make our selves acceptable is exhausting. The struggle of self righteousness is trying to make ourselves right apart from God.
It’s easy to equate holiness with somehow finding a way to do it all right, especially when we read verses like 1 Peter 1:15-16 (NASB), “but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’ ”
Holiness isn’t a cosmic self improvement plan on the road to perfectionism. Isn’t it time to stop striving for perfection and receive God’s holiness?Isn’t it time to stop striving for perfection and receive God’s holiness? #holyinthemoment #masteryourmess @GingerHarrington Click To Tweet
Motivated by love rather than fear, we exchange the trap of performance for the acceptance of Christ. When we embrace the unconditional love of God, we let go of chains of perfectionism.
Experience freedom from perfectionism and our relentless efforts to set ourselves straight.
“Be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
Embrace His Holiness
We get hung up on doing things right, but God wants us to know that we are righteous and holy. Choosing to remember we are a new creation is putting on the new self. Being open to God’s transforming work in our mind is part of putting on (living out of) who we are in Christ: righteous and holy.
This is hard because we’re wired to measure value and identity by how well we perform(perfectionism). Holiness is actually a practical word that sets us free from the pressure to be perfect.
“Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself.
A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be.
And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.”
Romans 3:24, The Message
God is teaching us new ways to think that will change the choices we make. As God renews our thinking to the truth, feelings and behavior begin to change.
In reality, because of Jesus, holiness. . .
- Is a gift from God.
- Is received rather than achieved.
- Is who we are not what we do.
- Is our identity by spiritual birth, not behavior.
God isn’t tapping his holy foot, impatiently waiting for us to finally do it all perfectly. He still sees us as righteous even when we sin.
“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness,
but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration
and renewing by the Holy Spirit”
This is our moment to choose holiness rather than performance. Today is the time to cease striving for perfectionism as we embrace the gift of righteousness from God who makes us holy and whole.Cease striving for perfectionism as we embrace the gift of righteousness from God who makes us holy and whole. #holyinthemoment #masteryourmess @Gingerharrington Click To Tweet
Ginger’s honesty pours off the pages of her new book, Holy in the Moment. She speaks openly about her struggles in motherhood, her difficulties with anxiety, and the fears she encountered with cross-country moves while her husband was in the military. But she also writes about the joy she has experienced when she allowed the Lord to lead and guide her through some wearisome circumstances.
Pre-Order Ginger’s book, Holy in the Moment, now!
Linking Up With
For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne Eller, Faith On Fire, Susan B. Mead, Faith Filled Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith and Fellowship Friday, Soul Survival, Rah Rah Link Up, Tell His Story, Sitting Among Friends, Testimony Tuesday, Planting Roots, and Fresh Market Friday, Salt and Light, and Becoming Press’s Writer Wednesday, Moments of Hope