Practicing Acceptance

This week in Chapter 8 of  A Confident Heart, we’ve been talking about the comparison trap and learning discovering that something special we each have to offer! One thing that is absolutely essential is acceptance. God wants us to accept who we are as well as the gifts, personalities, idiosyncrasies and life experiences we’ve been given so we can embrace and become the woman HE created us to be. When we accept ourselves and the blessing God speaks over our life  - then we discover what we have to give – and the joy that comes with it!

Today I have a special guest, Kay Warren, wife of Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. In her new book, “Choose Joy” Kay shares the path to experiencing soul-satisfying joy no matter what you’re going through. She says, “Joy is deeper than happiness, lasts longer than excitement, and is more satisfying than pleasure and thrills. Joy is richer. Fuller. And it’s far more accessible than you’ve thought possible.”

From Choose Joy, chapter 7: Practice Acceptance

I am a perfectionist. It’s not something I’m proud of, but I have jokingly said that I am a card-carrying member of the Perfectionists Club of America. I expect perfection from myself and others, and from the world I live in—which means I’m always setting myself up for disappointment.

I want my hair to look just right—and yet it never curls the same way twice. I precisely follow the manufacturer’s directions for washing a new shirt, and it shrinks the first time I wash it. I go to church, and there’s a typo in the song lyrics on the screen. And I get really upset because things are not, well, perfect.

I’ve been known to ask out loud, “Why is perfection so difficult?” Is it any wonder I get a few raised eyebrows in response? The answer to my question is simple. Perfection is not difficult. It’s impossible. It’s impossible because of what happened in Genesis 2. When Adam and Eve decided to eat the fruit off that tree so they could be like God, they unleashed a curse on our world. The world doesn’t understand it. They call it Murphy’s Law: If anything can go wrong, it will. They think it’s cute and clever, but it’s really Genesis 2 in action.

Perfectionism has its roots firmly planted not only in Genesis 2 but also in the environment we grew up in. Often a hard-to-please parent, family member, or highly respected teacher or coach can seriously damage our developing sense of self, causing us to carry around their “voice” in our heads as an inner critic.

How about you? Does your desire for perfection significantly interfere with your job or your ability to achieve your goals? Does it get in the way of developing deep relationships? Perfectionism’s reach extends to eating disorders and anxiety disorders. It’s nasty. Have you discovered that chasing after perfection robs you of joy and peace?

Richard Carlson writes, “I’ve yet to meet an absolute perfectionist whose life was filled with inner peace. The need for perfection and the desire for inner tranquility conflict with each other.”

What a relief it was for me to realize a few years ago that my desire for perfection in and of itself is not wrong. We were made for it! We were made for perfect bodies. We were made for perfect relationships. We were made for perfect minds. We were made to live forever. Something deep inside us calls out for what was lost, so we keep reaching for it, keep trying to find that perfection our souls long for.

So it’s not wrong to long for perfection; it’s just wrong to expect it on earth. It isn’t found here. There truly is something wrong with everything. That’s not just me, an Eeyore, talking. It’s recognizing the fact that we live under the curse. Perfection will only come when God creates the new heaven and the new earth and paradise is restored. Paradise was lost in Genesis 2. But in Revelation 21 it is restored. When that prophecy is fulfilled, all we long for will be restored to us. God tells us he will “wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain. . . . ‘I am making everything new!’” (Rev. 21:4–5).

That means no more living under the curse. It means hair that curls properly every time. Song lyrics with no typos. Conversations with no misunderstandings. It means no more relationships that go sour. No more mental illness. No more bodies that don’t work right. No more cancer. Everything that has been broken will be restored. That’s a reason for joy.

The antidote to perfectionism is acceptance—acceptance of our earthly imperfections because we are focused on the day when imperfection will be no more. If I try to experience perfection here on earth, I will come up short every time. If I keep looking for perfection within myself, I will kill the joy in me. You and I need to fire our inner critic!

When I accept myself as I am instead of who I wish I was, when I accept those around me as they are, not as I wish they were, when I accept the world as it is, not as I wish it was, my joy in today as well as my hope for tomorrow can grow.

Thank you so much Kay for giving us the antidote to perfectionism. I know I need to fire my inner critic for sure! If you’d like to find out more about Kay, be sure visit her website. Also, tomorrow my friend Holly Gerth is sharing another excerpt from Kay’s book so be sure to hop on over to read more from “Choose Joy” on Friday.

Win a copy: Share your thoughts about today’s post and you’ll be entered to win a copy of Kay’s book, Choose Joy. We’re giving away two copies!

Comments

  1. Today’s post is right on time. As I read it, I realized that I had this discussion with my husband a year ago. I told him that he expected everyone around him to be perfect. I now realize that it wasn’t him, it was me. While I read the post, I wished that I could go back and change all of the things I have said and my wrong behaviors toward my husband, toward my children, and other family members. Because I have been so focused on myself, I can’t/couldn’t see the trees because of the forest. My heart is grieved because I have hurt so many people, but I couldn’t see past myself (pride, arrogance, low-confidence, self-doubt, etc). Wow, what an eye-opener. Thank you, Renee and Kay for such an awesome resource.

    • amy martin says:

      Also thanking Renee and Kay for a “perfect” chapter on perfection. I am very guilty of being a perfectionist and have to confess it often to the Lord. Once I realized how I set my twisted expectations on others, (thank you Lord!) I found it much easier to give those expectations to God rather than have that attitude with others.
      Acceptance is so important, thanks again for the reminder. Lord Bless my sisters here today! amyfaith

    • I think my perfectionism was tied to my low self-esteem. I learned a teaching that my born again spirit is perfect, righteous and holy. My soul and body didn’t get saved. Once I realized this it turned me from thinking I needed to pray more, read the Bible more to get blessings from God. I was able to have joy when I went from sin- conscious to SON- conscious. Thank you Jesus.!!

  2. Karen in Canada says:

    The antidote to perfection is acceptance! What an awareness, I’ve never looked at acceptance as being part of the solution to my perfectionism. I’ve always believed my perfectionism was a weakness because it has lead me to burnout, anger, resentment (etc)for never reaching the perfection my mind seeks. I laughed out loud when Kay writes:
    You and I have to fire our inner critic!
    That’s a reality lol!
    Thank you Renee and Kay for another great and helpful post!
    Karen

    • If I could speak with Kay, I would quote Dori from “Finding Nemo” and ask her – are you my conscience? I’ve wasted so many years wrestling with my inner critic – the one whose expectations I can never measure up to -that I’ve become one of those people who lives under the motto, “If you’re not going to do it right, then don’t do it at all.”

      As I look around at my home, my husband, and my children (my treasures), I realize that over time, as “life & stuff” have piled up, I’ve let a more and more go undone until it’s too overwhelming to do anything – I’ve become paralyzed from taking action.

      When I discovered P31M (where have you been all my life?), I learned of Renee’s study and Glynnis Whitwer’s study “I Used to be so Organized”. If it had been left up to me, I would have tried to tackle “Organized” first. God seemed to know that I would have been doing it in my own strength and that I needed to take back the Confidence I once had in order to succeed in other areas.

      Renee’s encouragement is like fresh water in a parched land. I’m definitely adding Kay”s book “Choose Joy” to my wish-list!

      Blessings ~ Jackie

      • Lakeeia says:

        Oh how I can relate to leaving things undone, but the sad thing is I have allowed what’s most important to fall by the wayside, such as the spiritual well-being of my household (because my husband does not have a relationship with Christ). Another part of the reason for this is I believed the voice in my head that said I couldn’t handle it on my own. As I have begin to re-prioritize my life and actually taking time for the most important things (such as family time), I can see where I have fallen short as the spiritual head of the household. I would love to read that book “I Used to be so Organized.”

        Lakeeia

        • Dear Lakeeia ~

          You have a very difficult additional challenge, in the fact that your husband is not a Christian. Can I just tell you how proud it makes me of our God that He is faithful to convict us in order to restore us?! And, although I can take no credit, I am proud of you for responding in obedience to God’s conviction and facing those challenges head-on with the power of the Holy Spirit!

          I have been in that place of “living in regret” and it is a deep pit that the enemy tries to drag me back to often. But we have to be on guard against his schemes so that he won‘t outwit us (2 Cor 2:11), because condemnation is not of God and living in regret is not where He wants us to continue to live.

          Yes, we must take responsibility to correct our conduct once we’ve been convicted, and there is no doubt that we deserve to reap the consequences of what we’ve sown. But I also believe with all of my “repentant heart” that:

          God is Faithful to forgive confessed sin (1 John 1:9)
          God’s mercies are new every morning, Great is His Faithfulness (Lam 3:23)
          God does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities (Psa 103:10)
          God will restore the years that the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25)
          God is for us – who can be against us? (Rom 8:31)

          Pausing to pray for your husband’s (and children’s) salvation; For God to show Himself Mighty in your life; And for your endurance as you persevere to seek God with all of your heart.

          Many Blessings ~ Jackie

          • Lakeeia says:

            Jackie,

            Thank you so much for this. I never really thought about it this way. When I read your reply, it made me cry because it so true. I have been living in a pit of regret and I want out. Thank you for your prayers for my family. I really appreciate it. I’m realizing now-just how much I need the Lord. Pride has blinded me to this. I can’t you enough. Now I know..

            Lakeeia

      • Jackie–
        Thank you for sharing. I can SO relate. I too am overwhelmed and paralyzed!!! But I cannot seem to “accept” as Kay shared above. I try to and I try to focus on what matters for eternity, but it still irks me that I can’t get my life in order. And when it’s your home that’s unorganized, it’s a constant reminder (of failure, to me). I appreciate your transparency and encouragement. I’m trusting the Lord and pursuing Him for His strength to accomplish what He would have me accomplish. Thanks again!
        Tanya

        • Dear Lakeeia and Tanya ~ (This “posting” thing is new to me, so I hope you both get this.)

          Well you both made me cry. Thank you for letting me share and for your encouragement. I was talking to myself as much as anyone else because this is a battle that I am continually (if not constantly) engaged in.

          When I read your posts, as well as all the others – I had this mental picture of each of us limping along like the walking wounded (I know – it’s not supposed to be this way!) Then it was as if God was showing me that by linking our arms together, He can make of us a mighty hedge against the enemy – by joining forces, standing united, praying for and encouraging one another – He can not only change us, but He can use us to change the world.

          What a concept! What a Savior! What a God!

          Tanya ~ I get it. Oh, how I get it. Knowing the truth and accepting it can be worlds apart. The frustration of having our failures thrown in our faces day after day is exhausting, and frankly I believe it’s more than we can handle in our own strength. Praise God we don’t have to. That’s why I believe the Lord led us Renee’s insight through “A Confident Heart.”

          Lakeeia ~ It’s my honor and privilege to pray for you and your family.

          God is so Good! ~ Jackie
          Hebrews 3:13

        • Tanya,

          I know the feeling of not being able to get organized, especially at home. It seems like everything I try in my own strength leaves me feeling empty and worn out. It seems like that is my daily prayer–”Lord, give me strength to make it through this day.” I often feel like what I am doing is all being done in vain. I keep telling myself that I need to seek God and my heart concerning the reason and purpose for everything I do then maybe I won’t feel that way. I thought I was the only woman who felt this way. I am so thankful for this forum and women like you, Jackie, and the others. It helps me to see that I’m not running this race alone. Thank you!

          Lakeeia

    • Donna from Honolulu, Hawaii says:

      HI KAREN :) Ditto me too…
      The antidote to perfectionism is acceptance! ACCEPTANCE! I need to always remember this…
      I SO LOVE THIS: When I accept myself as I am instead of who I wish I was, when I accept those around me as they are, not as I wish they were, when I accept the world as it is, not as I wish it was, my joy in today as well as my hope for tomorrow can grow. JOY & HOPE!
      Thank you Kay & Renee
      Karen I dedicate this song to you:
      If you all get a chance go to youtube and look for this song:
      “THANK YOU” BY: THE KATINAS
      LYRICS TO SONG:
      Just a little while longer I wanna pray
      Can’t get You off my mind so I came to say
      Thank You Lord just for loving me
      Many times as I do forget
      Every need that You have met
      Oh thank You Lord, I know You’re showing me
      You are there when I am down and out
      You’re holding me, Your love is so amazing
      Oh it changed me

      Chorus:
      Here I am with all I am
      Raise my hands to worship You
      I wanna say thank you, oh thank you
      For everything, for who You are
      You cover me, You touch my heart
      I wanna say thank you

      I could have died in my sin but You saved me
      Didn’t have any hope at all
      You gave me peace divine, strength to carry on
      I should have been the one to pay
      But instead You took my place
      My Jesus, words cannot explain
      Even though I don’t deserve Your love for me
      You look beyond my fault and You showed mercy

      CHORUS

      I wanna say thank you for the sun
      I wanna say thank you for the rain
      Everything You do is beautiful
      I’m so grateful for Your love

      Aloha from HawaiixoxoxoxDonna

  3. I guess when your ok with you, you will be ok with others. Sometimes it’s hard to get the balance between accepting yourself and working on areas in your life that do need improvement.

  4. I really enjoyed reading this today and glad I learned of your website. My girlfriend and I are both perfectionist on different levels. We knowing this are always working on being better in Christ especially with the “judging others” and ourselves, that is in us. Being we are accountable to each other we share our thoughts and revelations with the goal of growth in Christ. I will be sharing this excellent excerpt with her, thank you for your ministry.

  5. Ruth - Kenya says:

    Wow! This is so powerful & for real – I am humbled.
    I came across his website through a colleague three weeks ago and its been such a blessing.
    May God give me grace to accept others the way they are – the world would be a better place.

  6. So timely!! I’ve fallen into the comparison trap in a big way recently. Thank you for these words today. You are one of many God is using to speak to me this week and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it!

  7. One line that really stuck out to me was “accept myself as I am instead of who I wish I was’ . Easy to see what I don’t have (any longer or “Compared” to others). But right now at least none of that is going to change. The days I accept my situation & especially me as I am are much more positive than the ones when I don’t.

  8. LaKeisha says:

    OUCH!!!! Today’s post is soooo about me…who’s the fly on the wall! ;-)
    I am getting much better though…just the smallest of things would ruffle my feathers. It use to really bother me if the pillows on the couch weren’t straight or fluffy enough, dishes in the sink, bed unmade as soon as you roll out of it…and the list goes on. I’m positive that my children would agree that I’m a “hard-to-please parent”. Thank you so much for sharing a portion of Kay’s book with us. I’m not yet all that I could/should be, but THANK GOD, I’m not what I used to be! I choose JOY and to practice acceptance.

  9. I have struggled with perfectionism for as long as I can remember. Even as an elementary student I remember if my paper was not perfect I would tear it all up and start all over again. I know I developed this from abandonment issues that are being prayed through and have come to the CROSS on my knees with my face to the ground to ask for forgiveness when I impose my perfectionism on my lil ones and my husband.
    GOD has broken many chains off of me and I am so thankful for HIS Grace that I am able to wake up to everyday!!
    I am a work in progress, however my FATHER has brought me a long way through my marriage and my children….
    I would truly enjoy reading Choose Joy….
    Thank you Renee from the bottom of my heart for all of your encouragement, prayers, and allowing GOD to use you in such a mighty way..

  10. Elizabeth Lynn says:

    Perfectionism leads me to give up and dispair. I feel like “why try, I’m just going to mess it up anyway.” I need to learn that things don’t have to be perfect, just OK. Help!!

  11. This is so me, struggling to accept who I am in Christ instead instead of rejoicing in the freedom He brings. Thank you for the wonderful encouragement!

  12. I have fallen into the perfectionism trap. And when I can’t get it. I give up. Acceptance as an antidote- what a wonderful idea.

  13. Wow, my first thought was also “OUCH”. That’s me to a T and I am not proud of it either. It’s so difficult to break that chain of thinking this way especially when we chalk it up to “doing things with excellence”….afterall it’s kingdom work and its for God isn’t it? I also admit that I would experience more Joy if I wasn’t so hard on myself and others. I work hard at everything in my life and I also expect it from others hence the feeling of disappointment always creeps up on me. Would love to win this book and consider it for my next book club study!

  14. I definitely need to “fire my inner critic.” Still working on that… How I long for that day when everything that has been broken will be fully restored! Thanks, Renee and Joy.

  15. Dawn Kitchen says:

    Oh my gosh, this is me. I want everything to be the perfect fairy tale: work, my partner, my kids, my house, and especially myself. And I’m miserable! Miserable and currently alone because I’ve succeeded at alienating everyone around me. Thank you so much for this article. I have a lot of work to do but at least now I have a little bit of hope.

  16. I will re-read this, the concept that caught my eye is the one about anxiety being caused by perfectionism. I have asked in prayer for God to help reveal to me ways to deal with it. Voila, He answered!! Cool.

  17. christine lowe says:

    Hi Ladies
    Growing up with an alcoholic grandmother, an absent father and a mother who wanted our life to look good to others was a reciepe for failure. I tried so hard to do the “right thing.” The only problem was I had no idea what right was. I was taught by the nuns to be a good girl and do as I’m told. When I failed there were severe consequences. I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone “family business” and I always wondered why. Later I learned we are only as sick as our secrets and boy was our family sick.

    In all that mess I learned the only chance I had to survive was to be invisible and that meant being perfect. Even when I wasn’t, I couldn’t believe I was anything less than right. Only problem with that is I made other people wrong. I was exhausted keeping up the pretense.

  18. This is so what my sister & I are going through with our mother RIGHT now!! God is ALWAYS so on time!!

  19. Kristi Stirler says:

    I can’t say I’m a perfectionist, but I’m a controller…I like to do things a certain way and if it isn’t I scream. Learning that God made us all different and God made each of us exactly how He wanted us to be is huge. Believing it is another depth to His grace that I am discovering:) I do still need to remember that I am not perfect and I will never have a 20 year olds stomach that hasn’t had 4 kids…though I would still like one, my stretch marks are a sign of the joy of carrying my kids. This book continues to show me how much I’ve grown, but how much more I still need to do. Thanks, Renee!!

  20. “The antidote to perfectionism is acceptance” — it has been said before but I loved reading this! I’m going to adopt it as my new mantra because I too am a card carrying member of Perfectionists Club of America. Driven to perfectionism by all the possibilities you listed, at 66 I still struggle to let go. The timing for your post was, may I say, perfect. I’m struggling with writing a memoir because I want it to be perfect NOW! You have given me manna for my soul and much food for thought. Thanks and God’s blessings on both of you inspirational women.

  21. Heidi Snelson says:

    I had to give up the “perfect” image my mother had instilled in myself and both my sisters about 10 years ago. Spent 42 years trying to meet her expectations until I realized God’s view of me is the best one! PTL!

  22. christine lowe says:

    Well, I no longer try to be perfect. I learned about Celebrate Recovery where everybody had “hurts, habits and hangups” and it was okay. What a relief. I discovered nobody but God was perfect. I’d had very little happiness up til then. I didn’t know I could choose how to feel. Being God’s creation,His masterpiece I have access to joy…way better than happiness. And now I’m learning to have a confident heart. Life is good,huh?
    Thanks for this opportunity.

  23. I am a controller also. I don’t care if things are perfect as long as they are done MY way. I’m really trying hard to let go of this and accept that my way is not the only way. As the mother of two teenagers, this is difficult, but I am working on it and getting better. Thanks for a timely post!

  24. ~ I unfortunately am a “defeated” perfectionist and have been all my life. I don’t believe it is due to anyone’s influence though, as I had a wonderful environment and was surrounded by encouragement while growing up. But rather, I think it is just simply an inner struggle that is going on within me. I have struggled with this since the very beginning, as early as I can remember really … never feeling like I was being good enough, often times feeling let down by people and circumstances, always being hard on myself whenever I mess up and make a mistake. And always, always striving to be more like Christ! :) So, I would LOVE to win this book and find out if there is any hope for me to change!

  25. Esther Smith says:

    I loved this quote from Kay, “What a relief it was for me to realize a few years ago that my desire for perfection in and of itself is not wrong. We were made for it! We were made for perfect bodies. We were made for perfect relationships. We were made for perfect minds. We were made to live forever. Something deep inside us calls out for what was lost, so we keep reaching for it, keep trying to find that perfection our souls long for.” I had always thought perfectionistic qualities were worldly, vein, and even something shameful. I made myself feel even worse for wanting to be perfect, by being ashamed of it on top of it all! Now I understand that desire for perfection, the desire that almost killed me in my youth through an eating disorder, and has made me doubt everything about myself, or out an out dislike it. However, I also know I don’t want it to take over my thoughts any longer, my time, or spill over into how I raise my daughter, or how she sees me, and never to follow that example. I have spent my whole life seeking perfection, and I am learning through Renee’s book that the Lord loves me just as I am, and I try to keep reminding myself of that daily, and rely on God’s promises. I think if I don’t win this book, it will for sure be on my to be read list! I need it! Between the two books it will be the double dose of truth on what God has to say about perfectionism I have always needed. I loved hearing from Kay today! Thanks Renee, and thanks for sharing Kay! :)

  26. I am sooo guilty of this. I have an anxiety disorder that I am sure stems from my need to have perfection in my life, with my child, marriage, friendships, and job. I am sure if I could just accept that I am not perfect and not everyone around me is I would be able to feel true joy, not just intermittent happiness. Thank you so much for this post, it truly does give me some meaningful insight on this issue. Let Go, Let God, words I need to truly live by.

  27. April Kandel says:

    I had always been a perfectionist. Your comments today are so wise. In my 20s I figured out how to let go of perfection and begin to accept myself and truly accept Christ’s Death on the cross as ENOUGH for all the things I couldn’t get right. My 30s have been spent helping others accept themselves so God could have all of them. Until we accept ourselves and stop TRYING to be perfect, we aren’t surrending all of ourselves to God and our joy is sucked out of us.

    Thank you for sharing all your experiences in your book and your comments here today!

    Blessings!

  28. I think I am beginning to understand that my trouble with giving grace and love to my children is that I am having a hard time accepting who they are. As young as they are, I expect so much from them. Maybe too much….perfection. I never would have said I am a perfectionist, but I am, and it shows in how I react to the way things happen. I would love to read this book!

  29. God & I are still working on this particular issue! Thank God he’s not through with me yet!! Acceptance really is key. Realizing that I can’t change everything, and that this world was not created just to make me happy. I don’t settle for less than what my Heavenly Father wants for me, and have learned that His ways are higher and better that my way could ever be! Thank you for such a timely reminder that it’s not about me, but ALL about HIM!!

  30. Melissa says:

    This post (and book) could not come at a more appropriate time. I can tell lately that I’m more aware that God is working in my life. It’s not so much of my own perfectionism that is troubling since I am learning to allow myself to let go; it’s dealing with the perfectionism in the family tree that is so deeply rooted into the depths of the earth that is difficult and causing strain in relationships of those very close to me. Praying that I stay grounded in God’s word to walk through this valley.

  31. Adriana says:

    God’s joy doesn’t follow the definition of the world’s joy. Worldly joy is found in things, Godly joy is found in Him who transcends all circumstances.

  32. I have been struggling with perfection all my life, and it gets in the way of really getting close to people. I am always worried that they will find out who I “really” am, and I won’t measure up. This reading was very helpful to me, because it pointed out that we all strive for perfection, which is normal, but that perfection just isn’t possible while we are on this earth. It reminded me to put my trust in God, that he has made me the way I am for a reason, and all I have to be is that me.

  33. So longing for perfection isn’t wrong? Thank you for dwelling on that. Our very souls are wired with the longing for what could be… or should be… but can’t be yet. Just having the perspective that some day things will be put right is enough. There will be a day. Until then: acceptance that it isn’t time yet. What a gift to not be made to feel that our inner desires are wrong, they just not going to be met for a while yet.

  34. Michele says:

    I can totally relate to what Kay writes. I have often described myself as a perfectionist as well. The interested part is that I have tried to find the root of how this entered myself because I never grew up feeling like I had to over-achieve. I absolutely love the quote by Rick Carlson, “I’ve yet to meet an absolute perfectionist whose life was filled with inner peace. The need for perfection and the desire for inner tranquility conflict with each other.” That is so true. I understand totally that my needs for things to always be “just right” creates much unnecessary anxiety and stress in my life. I have been striving to let go of things and totally rest in the Lord. It is easier said than done, but I am making progress. Thanks so much for the encouragement.

  35. Being a perfectionist often keeps me from starting projects or even dreaming because if I can’t do something perfect, I won’t even begin or try.
    I am making progress with this with the Lord’s help and he is slowly teaching me that he made me a detailed person on purpose.

  36. oh, you don’t know perfect this was for me. Really struggling with some things that have been happening that I haven’t been happy about and I really have had a hard time choosing to be joyful. Thanks for allowing God to use you.

  37. Renee M. says:

    I loved reading this today. I definitely have some perfectionist tendancies. I think it’s more like, I feel like I have to do everything better than everyone else, or people won’t like me because of my flaws. This definitely relates to what Kay said about that critical voice in our heads. I have started to realize lately, that it’s not what other people think about me that matters so much, it’s what God thinks of me and He loves me, Praise God. Thanks for sharing this and of course, I hope I win the book:>)

  38. Oh the timing of this was “perfect” for me! I finished my last final for the school quarter this afternoon and I spent my drive home afterwards whining and complaining and putting myself down because I know I didn’t do it perfectly.. I also know that my grade in the class won’t be what I want it to be. I also worry that my grades won’t be “perfect” enough to get me into a nursing program. Instead of accepting how far I’ve come I still struggle with this thought that if I were perfect my life would be better. If my hair is perfect, or my makeup perfect, or my clothes, that someone will love me. That if only I could figure out how to be the perfect entertainer or the perfect conversationalist all things would be better. Instead… I am a tired 44yr old single mom, who is a full time student trying to do it all on my own and most days my hair ISN’T perfect, or I have a stain on my clothes.. Learning that what matters is how God see’s me.. TRYING to rest in that!!!

    • Lori,
      Wow! Sounds like alot on your plate! (in addition to the topic of the study) Just remember, as far as school is concerned: One day at a time. One test at a time. Where you are weak or lacking, He will pick up the slack!
      Raising your family on your own…hmmm…I think the same advice fits here too!
      I too have been fighting with “If I only could/would etc”….but the further I get into this study and really let it sink in………….He is changing me. I understand what you mean by TRYING to rest…. it feels impossible, but …IDK…just picture yourself being held in your big, strong Father’s arms…and rest there!
      Praying for you to receive that rest you are so deeply desiring and that you would come to know how “perfect” you are to Him!!

  39. I struggle with perfectionism. My mantra lately has been “Accept Good Enough.” (It is so hard to put that into practice.

    Wanted to let everyone know that Kay offers at her website, free “Choose Joy” video devotions. When you sign up, for 30 days you’ll receive an email from Kay with a link to a short video where Kay shares portions of her book. They are awesome. (I’ve listened to some of them over and over!) http://kaywarren.com/devotions/

  40. I definitely need to read her book… just a few days ago I said to someone…

    I need to belong to ‘Perfectionists Anonymous’ … “Hi, my name is Laurie and I’m a perfectionist!” LOL!!

  41. Lisa Jones says:

    i thought this was very insightful. it is something we all have a hard time with accepting and it feels good to know that im not alone in that.

  42. priscilla says:

    thank you for this today. I so needed to read this. This helps explain one of the reasons I have so much trouble accepting myself. I pray that th Lord can help me accept myself and deal withy need for perfection on earth before hurting the ones I love.

  43. Just what I needed hear/read. I striv for perfect myself and in others and boy what a let down it can be when it is not right. THis is one BIG area I am working on:). Kay’s insightfulness as to Genesis 2 was so helpful. I have never looksed at perfection/inability to obtain from this perspective. Thank you Kay and Renee for yourleadership and involvemnt. Blessings

  44. Domanicka says:

    I love how Kay explains that the reason some of us crave perfection is because we were created to be perfect when He originally created us. So it makes sense that we want perfection. I deal with this quite often and it sometimes it’s crippling. It stops me in my tracks from doing things that I am not certain how it will turn out. The only perfect person is Jesus himself. This reminds me of something in the earlier chapter of Renee’s book that because God’s love is perfect I do not have to be. Acceptance… Love it.

  45. Nadia Mendenhall says:

    So thankful for women like Renee and Kay, and many others who share their stories. It helps me not feel so alone. I know that God is doing something great in my life in the area of confidence. Even though it’s not always a piece of cake, I am staying focused on Him and trusting His promises :) Being “imperfect” is something that I struggle with a lot. I am learning (with God’s help) not to allow Satan’s lies to take over me, but finding strength in His promises and trusting in Him. It’s not easy, but I am taking steps forward in confidence and He has been faithful!

    Thank you so much Renee for this bible study and all the time you (and others) have put into it! It has blessed me so much.

  46. I have struggled for quite a while to ‘accept me as I am’. I even have a journal on my laptop that is titled AMAIA (Accept Me As I Am) where I pour out my heart to God. Have I made much progress? I don’t know. God is working with me right now on letting go of my perfectionist tendencies which are more focused on myself than anyone else. I can give others quite a bit of grace about not getting things absolutely perfect, but I find I can get tremendously stressed out about my own imperfections. Just today I had to keep telling the condemning little voice in my head to take a hike for most of an hour. Every time I started a new activity, there it was telling me I wasn’t doing things the way they should be done, that people were going to judge me badly for not doing things well, and the like. I know that happiness and joy are things I can choose, but it has also become obvious to me that I have a real fight that I must face to break through over 50 years of heeding that condemning little voice in my head. I hold tight to my confirmation verse: All things are possible for the one who believes. (Mark 9:23)

    • Nancy,
      I have that same little voice in my head and have always given others grace, but not myself.
      Thank you for sharing!
      Since we have started this study…..that little voice keeps getting quieter and quieter!! God’s voice is booming!! :)

  47. As Paul says in Romans, “For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” The reminders are necessary! Daily! Thanks for this reminder. I struggle daily with this very thing and unfortunately my children are the ones who feel it when I want perfection. Only the Lord helps me overcome and yet I keep trying on my own. Will I ever learn? Lord, help me find peace among the imperfections and keep my hope in the Perfect.

  48. Lisa Gaska says:

    I am a fellow card carrying perfectionist!! Kay’s book is one I need to read, for sure!! Working on acceptance.

  49. beatriz says:

    LlaWow! A lie has been torn down in my mind. Thank you so much Renee and Kay! This area was affecting my relationship with my children,there were many nights where I would run to the feet of Jesus and pour my heart out. I now know that it was not because I am a bad mother. The lie has been identified and now I will walk in victory knowing that I am accepted by my Father in heaven and that he loves me even with my flaws. I will pass down this nugget to my children because I do not want them to be in bondage of perfectionism.
    Thank you so much for these nuggets!!

  50. This is exactly what I needed to hear. Again and again would be good! I am definitely a perfectionist, and I know it causes me a great deal of stress, and is hurtful to my relationships with my family. I think I really need to read this book :)

  51. Christina says:

    Wow!!! This comment really hit me “When I accept myself as I am instead of who I wish I was”. I have often had trouble accepting myself for who I am. I know that the Lord is working on me too see me as who He made me to be. Reading this has made me realize that I am not perfect nor will I ever be. I just need to focus on the promises He has for me and not allow the enemy to still my joy by whispering lies to me.

  52. Months ago I saw a poster on some website that said, “comparison is the thief of joy.” Such a great reminder! I used to be a perfectionist, but after many years, realized that it doesn’t exist here on earth. Acceptance does bring joy. I’m a happier person after letting go of always trying to be perfect. I’d love to read Choose Joy. Thank you for hosting this giveaway.

  53. Perfectionism is surely a kill joy!! Thanks for making this crystal clear.

  54. Natalie says:

    I love it when I read something and the Holy Spirit so uses the words to touch me that it brings tears to my eyes! I had this reaction reading this post. I suffer from anxiety disorders. I was on medication for 5 years to control anxiety. I am battling anxiety still but the Lord is helping me. I had never connected my perfectionist tendencies to my anxiety disorder until reading today’s post. I even strive to be perfect for God, and well, I can’t be perfect and the enemy has been using those imperfections to discourage me and make me ineffective for God’s kingdom building.
    What a relief that learn that acceptance is the antidote to my perfectionist tendencies-and my anxieties! And just as I was starting to condemn myself for being a perfectionist, I love that Kay says its ok that we seek perfection. We were made for perfection, its just that its not on this earth! Thank you Jesus for allowing me to be accepted in your eyes and that one day we will be perfect in a perfect world! And not only will acceptance calm my anxieties it can bring joy?! WOW. My heart’s desire is joy and peace.
    I hope to put this into action: “When I accept myself as I am instead of who I wish I was, when I accept those around me as they are, not as I wish they were, when I accept the world as it is, not as I wish it was, my joy in today as well as my hope for tomorrow can grow.” Thank you for sharing this excerpt!!

  55. Charee Cook says:

    I really need help with silencing my inner critic. I berate myself constantly for not measuring up. I want to “choose joy”! :) Thanks!

  56. Loretta Pearson says:

    I am a perfectionist and it makes life difficult! It’s hard becaue I don’t measure up and friends don’t. There are no perfect friends, no perfect me. I’m tough on the job because I only accept perfect in me and others. I’m trying with God’s help to learn to relax and let life happen and not get upset about what comes that’s not perfect. Not criticizing myself and others. I grew up with a perfectionist Dad who made me re-do my homework until perfect nightly! He was tough on me, it made me stronger but I am too much like him. Lots to have God chisel away in me. I also have been plegued most of my life with eatting disorders, and a lack of confidence.

    I’m so thankful for this study, I don’t get online much to post, but read all the email and when I can bounce online read the posts of my “sisters” also working through this confidence thing.
    Blessings all!

  57. WOW!!! I sat in a bit of shock after reading the first 2 paragraphs because I could have written them. This was just what I needed to read!!!!!!!!

  58. I am a perfectionist as well! This looks like such a good book.

  59. Felicia S. says:

    Wow, I have always expected so much of myself and continually let myself down and it leads to depression and self-doubt and low self-esteem. I want to please others and when I don’t, I am crushed. I am working towards acceptance. I know The Lord loves me for me. I just have to keep working and staying close to Him.

  60. I can so relate to this. I struggle with perfectionism, and often don’t do things because I am afraid to fail. I’m trying to push beyond that and do things anyway, and accept that I don’t have to be perfect all the time, but it’s hard sometimes.

  61. Wow, what a timely post for me. I have fought perfectionism all my life. I had to be the perfect student, daughter, coworker, etc., etc. and was devastated when I didn’t measure up. I was taken in by the world’s lies and the world’s vision of happiness and success. God is showing me that I am never going to measure up in this World, but am accepted by Him just as I am. It is so freeing to realize that I don’t have to conform to the world’s version of my life, but need only be obedient to my loving Father.

    Thanks for the wonderful post and your wonderful ministiry.

  62. Yes, it is so easy to get caught in the trap of perfectionism, and, therefore disappointment. It is hard to let go, but I am guessing the resulting joy will be worth it!

  63. Mary Beth Schaden says:

    I was not familiar with this book but it definitely sounds like one that I would really enjoy reading….am anxious to get a copy of it myself.

  64. Kimberli says:

    I have always compared myself to others and of course I didn’t measure up. I’ve always been jealous of my step sister, because she made better life choices than me, thinner than me, more driven than me….etc. I have to ask God to help me see my worth as He does and quit comparing myself to others.

  65. would be beyond blessed if i won this book…thank you for giving me the chance to do so.Gods Peace :O)

  66. Susan M. says:

    I think because of my perfectionism I was drawn into the comparison trap,or was it the other way around?! Either way, it is so hard to get out of either one and they are both traps of satan and he lures you in and by the time you realize what is going on you are in too deep and now have to find your way out of the trap. But it is so freeing when you start to release the hold they both have on you and when you put your focus on Christ and realize He is the only perfect one and He wants me who is never going to be perfect it helps release the hold they have on you~~~anxious to get the book and read it~~Thanks!

  67. Several things spoke to me from Chapter 7 of Choose Joy!
    I am a definitely a perfectionist – not so hard on others – but terrible to myself! :(
    I do feel like that is robbing me of peace & joy – I am truly warn out trying to be “everything”
    for everyone in all aspects of my life – as a wife, mother, employee, church volunteer, etc.
    I can’t allow myself to do anything half way!
    it is good to hear that perfection is impossible! I need to reflect & pray on that on!
    What a powerful & wonderful reminder that perfection does not come on earth!
    And I will work to ACCEPT as you suggested!
    Thank you for speaking to me in such a powerful way through these words!

  68. Elaine Segstro says:

    Yes, I have to accept that I am not perfect, and just as God accepts and loves me (with my many imperfections), I need to accept and love others. That has been so important in my career as a teacher and especially as a mom.

  69. Thank you for sharing Kay’s words of wisdom that perfection is waiting for us in heaven! Something to look forward to!

  70. Thank you for this timely message, it hit right to the core of my being! I look forward to reading and hearing more from Renee and Kay.

  71. A great teaching! I am soooo critical of other people and things at times, and disappointed in myself at the same time. (As a past proofreader, typos REALLY bug me.) I pray for guidance to true joy and simple acceptance. .

  72. Sounds like we all have the same problem! I’m climbing on the wagon with all my sister Perfectionists with the desire to flip to Acceptance…..how simple, yet PROFOUND….TRANSFORMING! Thank you for this post!

  73. Oh this is so me, If I can’t do it right, I get depressed and want to quit and do nothing. I’m not as critical of other’s as I am of myself. I need to learn to accept me too! I would LOVE to win Kay’s book. Thanks for the opportunity!
    Blessings,

  74. Would like to win the book. Be grateful for what you have for someday it may be gone. I choose to be positive and happy most of the time.

  75. I am a member of this club! I am so super hard on myself, I choke my joy and peace so quickly with my perfectionism. Thanks for sharing…I need this word today!

  76. Practicing Acceptance and perfectionism don’t quit fit into the same context for me. I am not a perfectionist. I am an artist and I let God make the painting or what ever I am doing. However it turns out that is just the way I figure he wants it. For example: I was doing a painting of my client, Marie’s King Charles Spaniel, Maggie. Her daughter has a sister of Maggie and her name was Allie. As I painted the picture it looked more and more like Allie until I decided it was Allie and not Maggie. It is 3 years later. Marie died and her daughter got Maggie and the painting. Allie died shortly after Marie did, so the daughter ended up with the mother’s dog and the painting of her dog that had died. Only God does stuff like, that…who would have known.

  77. Donna from Honolulu, Hawaii says:

    The antidote to perfectionism is acceptance! ACCEPTANCE! I need to always remember this…
    I SO LOVE THIS: When I accept myself as I am instead of who I wish I was, when I accept those around me as they are, not as I wish they were, when I accept the world as it is, not as I wish it was, my joy in today as well as my hope for tomorrow can grow. JOY & HOPE!

    Thank you Kay
    Thank you Renee

    Aloha from Hawaii xoxoxo

  78. This chapter really spoke to me – I am always comparing myself to others and always feel I am lacking. I have been guilty of being critical of my husband and children for the way they did or did not do things and in a tone of voice I wished I hadn’t used. I don’t know why I feel like I am always right because I know I am not. I want peace and joy in my life and my family. Thanks for providing this study to make me think and be more accepting of myself and others!

  79. This is my daughter to a T and I’ve tried to help her understand, but her responses are there is a place for everything and everything needs to be in its place. I forwarded this to her hoping she reads it I would love to see her joy back again.

  80. wow, its hard to admit I can so relate to this… Im not just anal… I’m anal retentive… it’s funny because it’s so true… we can get to caught up in making sure that everything is just perfect or at least that’s the intent… but on this side of heaven it’s just not going to happen… What a great relief it really is to know that while we can strive to attain perfection… as long as we do our best and aline our actions with GOD’s will … all will be just fine… because He makes things perfect… He turns our hick-ups to make them just right… So grateful and I would love a copy of this book… Had not heard of it.. but now I know… Thanks.

  81. So, I guess that all boils down to giving ourselves (& others) GRACE in life! I need that. Thank you!

  82. Yes, guilty as charged, a perfectionist. I used to think this was an admirable trait but this post shows me that being a perfectionist zaps the joy from my life and the lives of those around me. Boy do I need this book as a followup to confident heart. I want to experience the fullness of joy God speaks of in the bible but somehow feeling responsible for making sure nothing ever goes wrong and attending to my entire families needs I never seem to reach the joy God wants me to have because I’m preoccupied with being perfect for everybody else.

  83. I so struggle w/ perfectionism as well. And, sad to say I passed it on to my daughter who has it worse than I do! She finds it difficult to complete a task b/c it has to be perfect! I ache for her. We are beginning to recognize it though, which is the first step in overcoming this. Also, to give myself permission to like myself

  84. Sarahkay says:

    Sad to say I still struggle with perfectionism and as a new homeshcooling mama I’ve had to really hold it in, especially when it comes to my children cutting and colouring. Drives me potty but managed not to take it off them and done it myself.

  85. Christine says:

    Thankyou so much for including the words of Kay Warren from her book ‘Choose Joy’, it was such a great encouragement and how my heart cries out for joy. i experience the joy she talks of in fleeting glimpses in my life, but I long for a deeper experience. Mostly because I desire to share that with others and I am quickly learning that if I want to share something with others then I have to experience it first. So that it is not just words. I am also reminded that joy ison a similar level to ‘ peace that passes all understanding’, it is far beyond the actual circumstances you are in. I long to share all this with a young woman I know who struggles with perfection and comparison issues, so that she too can know joy and peace in her life. Thankyou again, I am learning so much from all you share.

  86. Joanna Warren says:

    My name is Joanna, and I am a perfectionist. Oh, how the truths of God’s Word have helped me combat this daily struggle! I often find myself relating to my children with old tendencies, though, and I know I need to work harder to shower them with grace and show them joy.

  87. I love what Kay writes…
    When I accept myself as I am instead of who I wish I was, when I accept those around me as they are, not as I wish they were, when I accept the world as it is, not as I wish it was, my joy in today as well as my hope for tomorrow can grow.

    This really spoke to me…Thanks Renee for posting from
    her book..my word this year is Joy so Choose Joy is a perfect read! Excited to read it after A Confident Heart!
    Blessings to you today!

  88. Trusting and letting others help me is something I have struggled with so I can relate.
    Great quote: Richard Carlson writes, “I’ve yet to meet an absolute perfectionist whose life was filled with inner peace. The need for perfection and the desire for inner tranquility conflict with each other.”

  89. We live in a fallen world that is not operating as it was originally designed to exist. This is a reminder I need every day because it helps me eliminate “why” from my vocabulary! And that in turn eliminates one unnecessary step between the Lord and me as we commune together about how He would like me to move about in the places He has me. Oh Lord, help us let go of any desire for perfection except You. AMEN.

  90. Victoria Harvey says:

    Good day ladies,
    I want to thank you for this – I have just recently confronted a family member – my dad – I have always felt I didn’t measure up. Just last week I came head to head and spilled by inner feelings. I am not one for confrontation or agruements. I was tired of hearing want a dissapointment I was. How I wasn’t strong enough to care for my children. How what I did in the past has given me the outcomes of my children today. I did my best with what I had. I couldn’t help it when my husband came home and said honey I got a heart problem, I don’t love you any more. That tore me up and I didn’t recovery quickly – it took me 5 years to get it all back together. But God was with me all the way. And even how HE is with me going through the situation presently. I just had to get it straight before I didn’ t have the chance to let my dad know I was tired of the way he was and has treated me. It’s a bit rocky now but I have left all this to the LORD too! He is in control. I seek my joy – the joy and peace that only my FATHER above can give me. SO, I have tried to spend time every morning to praise my Heavenly Father. TO slow down and wait on HIM. I don’t know if it’s discipline or redirecting me back to HIS plans for me. But I have felt my joy come. Not long ago I started a prayer journal – need did one, but in it I wrote – Joy is internal in Christ/Happy is circumstance an outward emotion. I rather have joy any day – it last longer than anything, for it is eternal. Thank you for the encouraging words – it’s amazing how GOD does work in our lives. I have come back to HIM again and HE is there – what an awesome GOD we have! His love endures forever, I am choosen and HE LOVES ME! Amen and Hallelujah!

  91. Jessica W says:

    “Perfect” is a word that should be reserved for describing our great God! At our house, we encourage one another by saying, “Practice makes progress.” :)

  92. Deb Wood says:

    I am getting close to finishing Joan Webb’s year-long devotional Meditation for Christians Who Try to be Perfect. God has used it tremendously in this perfectionist’s life. I would love to win and read Kay’s book!
    Renee- I am loving your study and praying that God will show me the special gifts that He has given to me and reveal the opportunities where He wants to use me. I am so where you were. I don’t feel like I have any special abilities to offer. I have compared and come up short with those who have the “best gifts”. I have served in areas mainly b/c no one else would or b/c I wanted people to think well of me. Thankfully, I had a wise friend who told me it was okay if I stopped volunteering at church when my third child was born. It felt very weird not to be “doing something” at church. A couple of times, I felt compelled to sign up to volunteer again b/c I was asked. I always said “yes” before, but I did not. I would love to learn the truths of this chapter and know with certainty where God wants to use me.

  93. Just what I needed to hear today. Thank You!

  94. Vivian Painter says:

    Oh how I feel the pain of being a perfectionist in a non-perfect world. I try so hard to accept things as they are and realize that everything does not have to be perfect. Even my dog. He feels that he must be first in everything and it somewhat embarrases me in front of my friends with their dog. Poor baby is not perfect. Reading all that I have during this study is gradually sinking in. The reality that the world won’t end if things aren’t perfect. Today I actually left dishes in the sink. Walked away and didn’t look back. It really is OK for me to do this.

  95. Jill Kuiper says:

    Why do our strengths also have to be our weaknesses. Perfectionism can be a good thing, but used in a negative way when judging others can be bad. I need to remember to let go & not judge, afterall, He is the ultimate Judge and I have no business ranking others. I too have failed. Thanks for the reminder.

  96. S. Waters says:

    I am reading “A Confident Heart” and have begun to read your blog posts. Thank you for your courage an honesty. Kay’s book sounds like it is something I need to read as I discover what in my past is holding me back from total surrender to God. I have a daughter who is entering K soon and I want don’t want to be a critical voice to her.

  97. It is always encouraging to hear that I am not the only one that struggles with perfectionism. My sister-in-law was jut recommending Choosing Joy for my next read. I think she is right. Sound awesome.

  98. i LOVE THE FOCUS ON JOY RATHER THAN HAPPINESS. THEY BOTH SOUND LIKE ELATED EMOTION; HOWEVER, CONTENTMENT IS A BETTER FOCUS THAN HAPPINESS & IT SEEMS THAT JOY IS MORE OF AN ANCHORING IN GOD’S TRUTHS THAT RUN THROUGH US & WE REALLY NEED TO HOLD ONTO SO WE ARE NOT RELIANT ON THE FLEETING FEELING OF EMOTION- WHICH IS NEVER CONSISTANT. I AM DEFINATELY GOING TO DO SOME DIGGING INTO GROWING IN TRUE JOY.

  99. I live with a man who is a perfectionist. My husband expects perfection of himself and others. It is very frustrating to hear him explain his failures or his lack of trying if he can’t do it perfectly. In turn, I hear how imperfect me and my children (we are a “blended family”) are and how if we would just learn from him we could be better. It’s daunting and debilitating. It’s crippling and frustrating. You can imagine the strife and confusion that seems constant in my household. My husband is a professed believer and he is currently in a strong place in his relationship with God. I trust that God will move him away from this idea that he can be perfect and expect perfection from himself and everyone else. I trust that God will help me to know that He (God) is with me when I am hurt and confused by the demands given to me to be perfect and that I cannot possibly be perfect in this imperfect world.

  100. I’m for sure a perfectionist. NOT fun! I have been sensing for a couple of months how God is wanted to return joy to me. I’m not perfect. Jesus is! To lean more on Him and the JOY of the Lord is my strength. Looking to him for all today. I’m glad I’m not alone in this walk. I choose JOY today.

  101. Jenny Mabe says:

    That was so needed. I could relate to that post because st times I want things to be perfect. Thanks for reminding me that things don’t always have to be perfect. I need to learn to accept things just the way they are and we can’t control the way they happen. Right now I am struggling with the changes that are going on at church. I need the joy of the Lord and his strength right now and that he is in control and he knows what he is doing.

  102. Kimberly W says:

    Absolutely loved to hear this! I can kind of relate to Kay and her story of being a perfectionist. I don’t like making mistakes… (even though I know I’m going to make them)… and I always have had a hard time forgiving myself when I do make those mistakes. But through this study, and from what God is teaching me through it, is to ACCEPT who I am in Him… (not who I am in this flesh). If I’m living in the Spirit, and being led by Him he will take care of me. His grace is sufficient for me, when I’m not. When I fail, his grace is sufficient to help me with whatever I mess up with. I thank God for this message today to remind me I’m not perfect, and I will never be… so quit trying to be. I’m going to learn to accept Kim for who she is, and who she is in Christ Jesus. We are not made righteous by our works, lest any man should boast… but we were saved through grace, by faith. Thank you Jesus!

  103. Thanks for your insights. They are very helpful and explain a lot. This put perfection in perspective for me. I hope to put it into practice, that is, to do my best here on earth and not be so hard on myself or others.

    Chris

  104. Wow!!! I love “that my desire for perfection in and of itself isn’t wrong, we were made for it.” This is big for me. I have felt like I was wrong all these years. I can have freedom in my desire for it and freedom in knowing it just isn’t possible on “this” earth. Thank you.

  105. Alexis M says:

    Such wonderful insight. I never thought of my perfectionism as something normal that God created us to long for. Put in perspective, perfectionism could actually be good for us. Thinking of it in this way creates more of a longing for the Day when it will be possible. :) Thanks!!!

  106. Kathy Sturgis says:

    I am so glad she gave the antidote to perfectionism. It helps to know what to “put on” when you “put off” something. It will also help me with other areas that need cutting and replacing. thanks!!!!!

  107. Jennifer Wallin says:

    Oh my goodness….how this hit a chord with me. I am a perfectionist in certain things. One of my biggest fears is that my issues will affect my children. (I homeschool them.) The last thing I want is to harm their self esteem by something I say or do. :( I know I will not be a perfect mom…..that has already been proven in my life. However, I PRAY that God will guard my mouth in all situations when I am talking to my children, my husband, anyone! Perfectionism can turn into criticism very easily. Lord, help me to accept all the unique character qualities of myself, my precious kids, and my dear husband today!! And quite frankly…….let me relax my expectations of everyone and rest in YOU ALONE! AMEN!!!!!!!!!

    Be Blessed ~
    Jennifer

  108. Wow, this hits close to home for me too. I often avoid doing things I need/want to do if I think I can’t do it “perfectly”. I’m definitely putting “Choose Joy” on my “wanted” book list.

  109. i commented earlier on your devotion about the “comparison trap” – thinking everybody else does things perfectly. TodayI am reeling from an inner comparison of how I did something and how I think I should have done something else, constantly beating myself up, constantly looking for perfection. Thanks for reminding me not to look inward or outward but upward.

  110. I’m more of a perfectionist when it comes to myself than to others. I give other people far more grace than I give myself. I liked Kay’s point about how a desire for perfection is rooted in our longing for Heaven. It’s the expectation, not the desire that is harmful.

  111. Definitely need to read this book!!!!! I am a perfectionist, and it frustrates me greatly when things don’t happen perfectly. When having company, especially, because I want everything perfect, I get uptight, and often take out my frustrations and anxieties out on my husband or kids……not good! This encouraged me to look at it in a hope-filled way, that one day things will be perfect….not now, but to accept that – and I Always try to remember Gods perfect plans and timing, which make up for my own imperfections!

  112. Jessica Fish says:

    Oh my goodness! This is me!!!! I so needed this to tonight. I have been struggling with finding the perfect guy and having the perfect job that will fit into my perfect life!! But I need to sit down, fire my inner critic, and realize that God’s Devine plan for me is just that, his plan. It surely will not be perfect, the hours I work may not be favorable, and the man that I fall in love with probably won’t have everything on my checklist. But God has put these things in my life for a reason, they are all part of his plan and I will find peace in these things. Then when all is right and I am sittin with the Lord in heaven, he will reveal to me the pieces that make everything else perfect!! Thank you so much Renee and Kay for these words I wisdom. I feel much better on the inside right now.

  113. Thank you for expressing why I can’t let go of striving for perfection. It’s something we long for because it was lost with sin but will be returned in paradise. I’m glad that I can choose joy :)

  114. Jennifer says:

    Growing up with an abusive Dad, I had to strive consistantly to be smart enough, do things well enough, be nice enough, etc. to win his affirmation that was rarely there. I knew that I had to be as perfect as possible to win his love instead of this anger. These feelings drove me to excel in my profession at the cost of a family. It took about sixty years to realize that I was good at what I did, that, though it might be very good, it would never be “perfect and to accept that ~ and be pleased at well it really did turn out. I have found such an inner peace realizing that what can do is the best I can and be happy.

  115. Oh, how this post has hit home for me. I have most certainly added this book to my wish list. I am a perfectionist in so many areas of my life – it’s exhausting. I need to re-read this post, go to my knees, and seek out God’s answers for how to fix it.

  116. I would love to have a copy of Kay’s book. The title says it all. I think my husband, through his midlife crisis, is seeking for what he thinks is happiness….passion in life and in personal relationships, escape from boredom, distraction from realization that he is getting older. Instead, he should really seek joy in his relationship with God. That is my prayer for him and for myself. God, please give me joy in my life, regardless of my circumstances.

  117. I am having a hard week… everything is changing in my life. My husband is ill in hospital and when he gets our he will have oxygen at home. He has a lot of health issues. My granddaughter who never speaks to any of the family (neither does her mom), has divorced or separated from her husband. She is very young and we had raised her for her first 16 years. 20 now. my best friend who was like a sister moved away..i have no real sisters. I now baby sit my youngest grandson..that is GOOD, its just 2-3 days a week, but LOL i have to get up really early and that is a routine change.
    Good thing… really good thing… God has taught me not only do I need to “get everything right”, I truly CANT, its impossible and he loves me anyhow.
    But all these changes are a bit overwhelming to my heart.
    I guess so that is good because it sure sends me to GOD.
    Whining over, life goes on and there will be many blessings even in this very day…just need to look for them.

    • And for the first time since the grand-daughter left, i have no idea where she lives.. but I am trying to trust that God does.

    • Susan M. says:

      Dodi, my heart breaks for you and your family, prayers for the Holy Spirit to move in the hearts of all to start to heal the speration and bring people back together in love and acceptance~~~also for your husband to regain his strength when he is home~~~~hang in there, remember Who is your Rock and who holds you in the shadow of His wings~~~~Blessings Sue

  118. I was encouraged and also reminded when I read this paragraph. It really spoke to me:

    “So it’s not wrong to long for perfection; it’s just wrong to expect it on earth. It isn’t found here. There truly is something wrong with everything. That’s not just me, an Eeyore, talking. It’s recognizing the fact that we live under the curse. Perfection will only come when God creates the new heaven and the new earth and paradise is restored. ”

    Thanks for sharing.

  119. Acceptance of who we are and how we are made is such a struggle for most people, myself including. We live in a world that portrays a certain style, way of living and especially how our body is to look. God made us exactly the way we should be. We are perfect in Him. It has taken me years to realize when I criticize other people for not being perfect “like me” or doing it the way i would… it is heart issue within myself. We all have issues whether it be self image, acceptance, hurts..the list could go on. The world is not perfect, people are not perfect…I’m not perfect BUT God is! I’m learning to relax and let things happen without getting “uptight”. Thank God He loves me through my imperfections! Oh how He loves us!!

  120. I love that Kay said “We need to fire our inner critic”. Thank you so much for sharing this excerpt from Kay’s book “Choose Joy”.

    I am going through Kay’s online 30-day devotional messages; powerful to say the least.

    Thank you for the chance to win Kay’s book.

  121. I so needed this at this point in my life! I am constantly comparing myself and when it comes to myself I feel the need to be perfect. It doesn’t help that I work at a place that expects everyone to be perfect as well. I have been struggling and praying and Thursday I put in my notice to resignation at my work and I am taking a HUGE leap of faith that God is going to provide for me. I am a single mother and I just can’t continue to work with negative comments and never measuring up. So, thank you for this excerpt and thank you for the chance to win a copy of this. I know I am my worst critic and nothing I seem to do is enough or right, I have felt such peace since putting my notice in and I am struggling to not let my doubts and insecurities change my mind and retract it.

  122. I am new to the blog and am so blessed that today’s topic is really hitting home. I am going through so many struggles in my life (marriage, children, work, etc) and it seems all of it is piling up on the other… I find it hard to regain and maintain the joy I once had. I recognize my own flaws and sins, and need to work on those before I can ever expect the other areas of my life to change. It is only through God’s unfailing mercy that I find the strength to try again…His Example makes me shameful to do any different.

  123. Stephanie says:

    I thought I was one of a few that struggled with this. Didn’t realize so many people do! It seems to affect so many aspects of my life. Good to know there is a way out of the vicious cycle.

  124. Shannon Steckel says:

    I have the same issue because I look at some of my friends who are married, have children, husband, I realized it’s not always easy giving your time. They have family and friends family that they get together I remember that in my childhood years but since I’ve been laid off twice and only working 8-10 hours right now. I really can’t do anything due to budget and my friends who have families I feel like they will feel sorry for me which I know they really don’t feel that way. But that is the way they give and show there love. However, now since I can’t do zumba probably for 3 months which was my main social time with bible scripture at beginning of class, devotional at the end. I miss that so much. Even though it may feel weird to show up at the devotions time. I don’t know but I will just pray and go from there and hope for the best. Thank you for your prayers.

  125. Faith Doud says:

    Great chapter on perfection. I am one who puts the pressure on myself to always be prepared, planned and perfection is another area of my over-doing. I also expect others to take on the same desires of striving that I put on myself. This shows me that changing my mind set is what is important and accepting myself and others as we are not perfect till heaven. Acceptance is so important!!

  126. Jenni Mac says:

    I am sobbing as I read this. I wonder how much different I would be now if I hadn’t lived the last 37 years of my life under the pressures of trying desperately to be perfect, and always falling short. My husband says that even if I did approach my perfect, I would raise the bar even higher as I got there just because. Who was I trying to please? Me or God? It breaks my heart. Was I created to be a perfectionist, or am I fighting who I was created to be by trying to be perfect?

    • Shannon Steckel says:

      Jenni, I’m a pleaser too especially with my Mom. I feel like I can never please her but I know in my heart I know she is please but my self-confidence is low in this area. She doesn’t want to let me go and free me on my own. We are gift from God. He is our Father and Creator. He created us, know our plans so it’s all in His hands. It’s not easy and can be very difficult but I’m so thankful for this study.

  127. This too is true, when you expect everything to be perfect and/ or compare yourself to others to things others have and you do not, you do lose your Joy. Joy to me in living and learning that my life is what God planned for me long ago before I was even born. Yes I too have had the joy taken from me, with a family situation of how others treated and to me and my children. I was not until recently that I found my joy again with learning and praying daily for forgiveness in the faults that I had contributed to the situation. I know have peace and joy for I know the Lord knows my heart and has used this as a lesson in my life and as a testimony. Each day I remind myself, I have a purpose in life and that purpose is to serve the Lord. I have no idea if I have been forgiven by the other family members in which where involved. I continue to pray that in Gods timing that our family will be reunited again as a whole and that each understand and learns that we are all different according to Gods plan for each of us. Has this been a hard and difficult lesson for me, yes it has, but because of this I have grown closer to the Lord in which I know was his plan for me all along. I know now that I do not have to please everyone, I need to be me according to Gods word and I have been released for the disease to please. Thank you Lord for your love, forgiveness and lesson in life that bring us closer to each other. God Bless

  128. Shawna Salkil says:

    I can totally relate with this post. I never thought of why we strive for perfection and then why we can’t attain it. Such wonderful truths in this! I MUST learn to move to acceptance or NEVER have peace and joy. Thank you for sharing this. Looks like another book for my “must read” list.

  129. Choose Joy is a good title for a book. Growing up in a negative home most of the time I choose that instead of Joy. Mostly because it my first reflex. Thanks for giveaways.

  130. Great input. I too feel the negativity caused by always trying to be perfect. This post hit home. Thanks for the chance to win!

  131. I had a “choose joy” bracelet made to remind myself of the fact that it is my choice at any moment to make. Especially for remembering to choose joy instead during those times that I want to give into feeling sad and like a failure when I haven’t performed perfectly or don’t look perfectly etc…. Although I believe I give grace easily to others and actually want to encourage them, I so often have been the last one to give grace to myself. I’m learning though. I would LOVE to win and read Kay Warren’s book. Thank you for this giveaway!

    ♥Lee Ann G.

  132. Understanding a concept and applying it can be at 2 opposite ends of the spectrum. I know there is no such thing as perfection here, but I can’t stop expecting it. This idea is very foreign to me. Thank you for sharing. I also appreciate the opportunity to enter your give away.

  133. Michelle says:

    This post really spoke truth to my heart. I was raised by a critical mother and have carried that “voice|” around ever since. I remember as a child thinking that there was no point in trying because it would never be good enough anyway. I am ashamed to say that I have become so critical of my husband because of my insecurities with myself. If he steps in and trys to help out with something that I feel is my area of responsibility my reaction is to become very defensive and critical. For example if he does a load of laundry I will critize him for the way he has folded it rather than thanking him for helping out. I will complain that I have to refold everything because it is not done my way.

    I love the line in Kay’s book that says ‘When I accept myself as I am instead of who I wish I was, when I accept those around me as they are, not as I wish they were, when I accept the world as it is, not as I wish it was, my joy in today as well as my hope for tomorrow can grow.” I want that kind of joy in my heart and in my home.

    God is showing me so much through this study. Thanks to Renee and Kay.

  134. I know I’m probably too late to enter for the giveaway, but if you’d just pray that I internalize this message and fire my inner critic, I’ll be grateful. Sometimes, I feel so entrapped by feelings of lack, that I can’t move. These words, capture my heart perfectly–No pun intended!

    “The antidote to perfectionism is acceptance—acceptance of our earthly imperfections because we are focused on the day when imperfection will be no more. If I try to experience perfection here on earth, I will come up short every time. If I keep looking for perfection within myself, I will kill the joy in me. You and I need to fire our inner critic!
    When I accept myself as I am instead of who I wish I was, when I accept those around me as they are, not as I wish they were, when I accept the world as it is, not as I wish it was, my joy in today as well as my hope for tomorrow can grow”.

  135. I understand what Kay meant by seeing the typos in the lyrics on the screen. That happened this past Sunday at church and that was all I could focus on. I totally missed out on the blessing God had for me in the message.

  136. I guess I never thought about perfectionism as being an opposite of choosing joy. It is obvious that my tendencies towards perfectionism lead me to Overwork, worry, and struggle in some of my relationships with those who are “not Perfect” but I think it would help to address those perfectionist tendencies if I thought of INSTEAD – CHOOSING JOY. Looking forward to reading this book.

  137. Loretta says:

    Thank you for this timely reminder. I often have to remind myself that not only do I have a choice on what i focus on but that I am a work in progress. God doesn’t expect perfection based on my efforts. They would always fall short but I can choose to stop comparing my insides to their outsides and remind myself that God loves me just as I am today, not who I aspire to be. That it is in Him, I live and move and have my being, not in the superficial things I get hung up on. So just for today, I choose to accept myself as I am and those around me as well b/c my heavenly Father accepts me and love me right where I am. So I choose joy.

  138. I’ve have a hard time with Joy this week. I felt drug down, drug out and basically drug through a rat hole backwards. Today after I came home from running across two counties doing errands I was exhausted. I got out a new Bible Study that we are doing at my church and went through all the Bible Scriptures in the first chapter. Then I just decided to ‘put on my big girl panties and deal’. I got out my walking shoes and even though I was
    tired I walked for a couple of miles.
    I began to feel some of the joy I had been reading about the fruit of the Spirit needed the watering of the Word of God.

  139. A bit behind on the blog but wanted to reflect on the post.

    I love this quote!

    When I accept myself as I am instead of who I wish I was, when I accept those around me as they are, not as I wish they were, when I accept the world as it is, not as I wish it was, my joy in today as well as my hope for tomorrow can grow.

    Thanks for sharing it!

  140. Thank you for sharing the chapter out of Choose Joy. I’ve had this “funk” on me and I have been unable to describe it. It was a heaviness, a depression, and doubt about my abilities. I too, am a perfectionist. This chapter is just what I needed today to give me an attitude adjustment and keep me moving forward in my walk with God.

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