Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Chapter 2...Ms. Perfection

Welcome to YES TO GOD Tuesdays. Remember you can visit the host of this Bible study, Lelia at Write From The Heart and read what other women are saying about this particular chapter.

Chapter 2- Ms. Perfection (Behind Those Eyes by Lisa Whittle)

Chapter 2 begins by Lisa describing the Great Sunday Morning Fakeout. Do you relate in any way? I know I certainly do. How does the Great Sunday Morning Fakeout begin in my home? Well, let me just tell you. It happens within the first half an hour of being out of bed usually. My children are complaining about having to go to Sunday school. One of my children (who will remain anonymous) doesn't like what he has been told to wear because otherwise he would wear the same thing every single Sunday. I am seeing some progress in this area to be fair.  I don't have anything to wear. Women you know what that really means. I don't like what I have to wear and I want something new. I'm just sayin'. Why is it that only on Sundays, my boys seem to really push each other buttons more than any other day of the week? In the meantime, I'm getting angry, impatient, and frustrated. I'm reminding (yelling) at the kids to turn the T.V. off  because they need yet another reminder that we don't watch T.V. on Sunday mornings. Jessica gets up on her own, but if I have to go in her room one more time to make sure she's up, I'm going to blow. I'm having to deal with this all on my own because my husband is a pastor (even more reason to put on that smiling face right?) and he has already been at church since 7:30 A.M. All I want right now is for a peaceful, beautiful Sunday morning and for everybody to just be like Jesus!

I then walk down to church. Our friendly greeters are waiting at the door for my precious family so we can enter the House of the Lord. Do I sound sarcastic when I say that? I don't mean to. Sort of. Actually as I sit here and write this, I'm cringing because I can feel the stress. Anyway, my smile goes on. 

You know the rest of the story I'm sure. We've all done it if we are honest. We say hello with the prettiest of smiles. When asked how we are, our response is,"Great!" Everything is great. Our marriages are great. Our children are great. Our spiritual life is great. Or is it really?

We strive for perfection in every area of our life. Lisa states, "We are buying into the notion of perfect wife, perfect mother, and perfect package, at the expense of ourselves and our loved ones." Well said, don't you think?

Several years ago, God took me to a place of having to deal with the idea that I had to be perfect. Who I was, in my mind was based on what I looked like and what I did. It stemmed from nothing more than wanting to please those around me.  I really came to a complete place of brokeness before the Lord over this particular issue. I couldn't live up anymore. I was tired, drained, spiritually and emotionally worn-out, and really living a complete lie. To myself, to my husband, to my family, and to God. 

Lisa says, " It doesn't take us very long to see and know that in our flesh, perfection is not even remotely possible. But while it is not possible to achieve this on earth, perfection is, perhaps, the most common characteristic that women impersonate."

When I am wanting to live that "perfect" life, I leave no room for Jesus. I'm too focused on me. I don't want to live a life like that. A life without freedom to be who God really created me to be. I want to give my attention to knowing God and surrendering to His will and His way in my life because then I can be a woman He uses. A woman that still has flaws and imperfections but is allowing God to use them for good. 

I was challenged to really search my heart through this chapter. I know that God has brought me much growth in this area. He has made areas that were weak and broken whole. He has replaced lies with truth. He has brought restoration. I won't think for a minute, however, that I won't struggle or have the temptation to be in the place of wanting to be the perfect wife, mother, or woman. In fact, I just found myself in that place last night at my youngest son's baseball try-outs. Yep, I did all the measuring up and comparing to the other moms out there. Do I look as cute in my jeans as she does?  Is my son as good as all the other boys out there? After all, behind every perfect child you will find a perfect mom. Right?

The struggle to fight those areas of wanting to be perfect and have it all together will always be there. This side of heaven anyway. I have to go back to truth though. The truth of who Jesus is and that I am made in His image. Through Jesus, I can have the courage to let my imperfections be seen because I want to be real to those around me.  I can love my husband and my children well knowing that in spite of all my mistakes, God covers them with grace. 

So from here, I'm willing to keep searching those deep places of my soul because I want wholeness and for God to move in and do what He has to do to make me more like Him. If there are areas that need to be brought to the light, I trust him to do so. I will ask the Lord to quickly, but gently show me when I am desiring perfection over being real. I know what I will find in being real too. Genuine, authentic relationships. Experiencing Jesus in my life as well as those around me because I've given them the freedom to be real too. 

Even perfection has it's limits, but your commands have no limit. ~Psalm 119:96 NLT


  1. So many Sundays I strive for a great morning and it turns out to be nothing but strife and disagreement...then we walk through those church doors looking like "Leave it to Beaver". I am not sure why but Sunday is always a bit tense...I think Satan works hard on that day!
    What a great reminder and post!
    -Sandy toes

  2. It's so hard to be "me" when sometimes all I want is to be someone else. I understand. I am trying to sit in that freedom, praying that my life reflects what He wants and not what I want. I'm thankful for grace today.

  3. Great post Christy. I enjoyed reading yoru Sunday morning fake out! How sad that it's our realities! lol

    Have a BLESSED day.

  4. Oh how I desire God to, as Beth Moore has said, "burn the fake right out of me!"
    For the longest time I always wanted folks to see the "perfect" me. What I found... it's just way too hard to keep up the facade. Don't get me wrong. Airing my dirty laundry or my aggravation at my dear hubby isn't going to happen at church. But I found being real is more important than being perfect. I am in sales... and there are times I have to put on a different hat than my own, but what works best... me being me. Me being what God desires me to be. That's when I am the most blessed!

    I am loving this book!

  5. I'm not doing the study, but I'm glad you posted on this topic. This is so true
    #1- Sundays are just the worst for me. I do the same thing. Yell b/c my dd is more into disney channel than getting ready AND..(I have the same no TV rule on Sunday's). My son waits until the 11th hour to decide he needs something ironed and then my hair just won't do a thing. By the time I get there I am so grouchy, I don't even feel worthy.

    #2 - But even though I may have just had a spat with my kids or husband or have a need for someone to pray for me. Why do we just keep it all inside? Aren't our church family members the ones that we should be able to share our burdens?? Shouldn't they be the willing ones to pray for us or with us? Yet, I won't even speak up when I am in need of prayer b/c I don't want to lose that "perfect" appearance.

    #3 - And oh how I go to each ballgame wondering how I look compared to other mom's. And I feel so inadequate. Sometimes that's why I love the blog world. You guys can only "imagine" what my life or my "figure" is like and I only have to reveal the good stuff. lol.

    Great Post! Sorry this is so long.

  6. Christy,
    This was so good. It's taken me a long time to get to the point where I no longer try to be perfect, but what freedom it has given me. Thanks for the great reminder!

    I'm so glad you are doing "My One Month"...can't wait to read what you write.

  7. Christy,
    This is a great post. Thank you for taking what Lisa said right into your own life!

    We women struggle soooo with this one. At the end of the day, it is just what you said here:"When I am wanting to live that "perfect" life, I leave no room for Jesus. I'm too focused on me. I don't want to live a life like that."
    Ms. Perfection is stuck in idolatry of self.

    But of course, I wouldn't know...
    (wink, wink)


  8. Christy, this post was, ahem, perfect. :-)

    And, isn't it true that we are only whole when we allow ourselves to be broken before the Lord? It's then that He can create a beautiful and unique vessel with the bits and shards of our imperfect lives.

  9. It is so difficult to break the bad habits we start. Attempting to be perfect is one of them.

    I am so glad I found this book study and am getting to know so many wonderful women.


  10. I knew that you would already have a lot of responses :) Honestly, I felt a bit out of the loop on todays reading. Why? Well, kind of been there and done that...and laugh about it now. Adult children drive themselves to church along with my husband. Yes, we have 4 stinkin cars at church. I am always astounded that it took me to be 40 something to let a lot of the stuff that Lisa wrote about go. My prayer is that you younger ladies will find liberty in Christ a wee bit earlier than I did. I have to be honest, in reading your entry, Christy, I still go through the "what am I going to wear" crisis on Sunday morning. Some Sundays are better than others, and I seriously think that it may be my hormones? I am not in any way down playing todays reading, just that for me the days of the perfect dresses for my little girls and the perfect hair bows are gone...(thank heavens!) I, though, do spend a lot of time obsessing about my hair on Sundays...and, well, most every other day of the week as well.

  11. What a well-written post, Christy. Yep, I can totally relate. Right now we're dealing with MAJOR issues with our 17 year old son {please pray for him...his name is Tyler...he is my 'prodigal son' in every sense of the word...on the verge of making some really stupid, life changing decisions} and ya know what I'm kinda worried about? This is so stupid, but what will people think of us *if* Tyler follows through with these ridiculous choices? Then that excludes me right out of the "perfect mom" category...HA HA HA!!! Thanks for your honesty :)

  12. I can totally relate! Why are Sunday mornings the most stressful and why do my husband and I snip and pick at each other all the way to church? It sounds like the Bible study you are doing is GREAT! I will have to file that one away for the next time I am looking for a new one! :)

  13. Christy,
    You said "I wonder why only on Sundays".

    This just hit me like a ton of bricks. It is because satan is trying to steal your joy and your focus so that when you go into your worship you aren't really worshiping. Rather, you are focused on the bitterness over all the fussing and the chaos that just happened 60 minutes before coming in church to sing "How Great Thou Art". It gets your focus to say when if you're that great how come you didn't give me kids that do this, this, this.

    My second observation is the same as what someone else doing this study commented (on Lelia's blog I think). Perfectionism is (or can be) an idol. Just as you said in when of your paragraphs that you become so focused on being perfect that there is no room for Jesus. You see where I'm going. When there is no room for Jesus that means something else has taken His place, an idol. Many times we see idols as people but idols can be things or perceptions. I believe worry can become an idol also if not controlled and put into check regularly.

    My small group will be doing a study on idols soon and I can't wait.


  14. "So from here, I'm willing to keep searching those deep places of my soul because I want wholeness and for God to move in and do what He has to do to make me more like Him. "-I shouted a big AMEN here! You wrote my heart. Thanks for this post!

    In His Graces~Pamela

  15. Christy, I too had to search my heart with this chapter as God already has brought me through several battles with Ms. Perfection. Unfortunately she still pops up but I am trying to be real and let Jesue use my imperfections.

    I notice you had one of my favorite verses on your sidebar (Isaih 30:21). I have prayed that serval times over the years when I wasn't sure about a decision.

  16. Your post was great,it was all great:)Loved what you said about the whole church thing.

    Your so right,when life is about being perfect,there's no room for Jesus.

    I must confess...He's showing me through this book about who Ms. Perfection is.

  17. First it's so good to find out that the pastor's wife, has to deal with the Sunday Morning Fake Out too. I think there were so many times I put the wives on a pedestal, and was afraid to be around them because after all they are married to my pastor.

    I'm over that, as I have gotten to know my pastors wife, and she's as real as they come. Thanks for being real with us.

  18. Christy,
    This was an awesome, honest post. Thank you for sharing your heart and thoughts! I love that you are a pastor's wife who wants to be real. Growing up a PK, I know firsthand how hard it is to "live up to" all the expectations placed on you. Talk about a position ripe for perfectionism!

    But your voice for authenticity is touching women's hearts by the example you are living. Does that mean you are perfect? No. Thankfully that is not a requirement for any of us.

    I think you are beautiful...especially your heart.

    And...I prayed for you by name tonight!
    Lisa :)

  19. Thank you for your post. I can't tell you how much it spoke to me. Though I am not a pastor's wife, walking in to church is always a stress for me.
    My in-laws are very involved in our lives. Some Sundays I find that we walk into church with either no children, or only one instead of two. Sometimes I walk in by myself, without my husband. And then I get the 3rd degree. Mostly about the kids, because it is well know that my husband, as a nurse, has to work shift work... so I can always blame his absence on that, no matter the excuse.

    I love my in-laws and am so glad they are close by and involved in our kids lives. I am so thankful that my husband has a steady job, that is in no danger of being cut right now...
    it makes me put on a face that things are just peachy, even if things are falling apart, and my husband didn't feel like getting up for church, and decided to keep the kids home with him.
    Not that I am complaining, there are many times that I feel like that. I love my husband and kids. I just want us to be the perfect family, that everyone thinks is perfect too.
    I know...
    Thanks for your openness.
    God bless,


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