Getting Started

breaking-upwithperfect-2

Welcome! I’m so glad you’re here and interested in the Breaking Up with Perfect online book study.

If you’re like me (and I’m guessing you are since the title of my book caught your eye!), you’re wary of things that are new or unfamiliar. I’m always a little afraid, worrying that I won’t know what to do or where to go.

It’s my heart’s desire to make it very easy for you, so all the details are below. I know it looks like an awful lot of information, but some of it’s repeated to make sure you don’t miss a thing. Go ahead and read it all– you can do it, and I promise it will be worth it!

If you have any questions left after you’ve read through, feel free to leave a comment, and I’ll answer you just as quickly as I’m able. We’re in this together!

HOW DOES THIS WORK?

WHEN: You can start any time and work at your own pace.
WHERE: Right here on the website. Here are the links for each lesson to make it easy. You can return to this page each time and click on the lesson where you want to start. Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3, Lesson 4, Lesson 5, Lesson 6, Lesson 7, Lesson 8, Lesson 9, Lesson 10, Lesson 11, Lesson 12, Lesson 13, Lesson 14, Lesson 15, Lesson 16
WHY: There are lots of great reasons to do your study online. Here are just a few:

  • This is written in an easy study format, and you can complete as many or as few of the activities as you like. You can access each lesson right here.
  • You can interact online with others around the ideas of the book. If you’d like, you can join the private Facebook page here for more interaction. This group was active in August 2016 when I did the study live, but you are welcome to join, access lots of additional resources, and comment if you’d like. Note: The giveaways are not current.
  • You’ve got an irregular schedule because of work, kids, appointments, or other interruptions. You can do an online study on your own time–right on schedule or at your own slower pace.
  • You’re mobility is limited, and you’re at home. This is a way to connect with other women right in your living room.
  • This is a safe place to build relationships with others while maintaining your privacy. You can share freely without fear of judgement. Authenticity is a cornerstone of my book, and I was very vulnerable in writing this. I hope it makes you feel free to be your truest self too.
  • This is a super-easy way to lead a small group. The group can meet together once a week to discuss your personal take-aways, but I’ll lead the weekly assignments. If you’d like to have a Leader’s Guide with tips, videos, and a schedule for leading your group, click here to purchase it.

WHAT WILL I NEED?

  • Access to a computer or mobile device.
  • Your Bible and a pen.
  • A copy of Breaking Up with Perfect purchased from Proverbs 31 Ministries, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or your favorite book seller. Digital copies are fine!
  • Optional: If you send a copy (scan, photo, etc) of your receipt OR a photo with you holding your copy of the book to breakingupwithperfect1@gmail.com, you will receive a free printable copy of the Participant’s Guide.
  • Optional: Click here to download and print a Lesson Plan that gives you a place to keep it all in order and a place to check things off as you complete them. As you’re about to find out, there’s almost nothing that I love more than a list full of check marks!
  • If you would like to lead a small group in person along with doing the online study, please click here to purchase the Leader’s Guide. There are discussion questions for each week, links to Teaching Tips for Teachers videos, and lots of other ideas for your small group!

WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE STUDY?

The lessons are organized with 3 posts for each set of chapters:

  • Each week will start with a blog post connecting my book to my powerful lessons from my last trip to India. This will be a slant on the book that you can only find here! Assignments will be at the bottom of each blog post.
  • There will be a video for each set of lessons. These videos were originally created for a Facebook Live event, so they’re informal (read- roughly edited!) and fun. Leaders, you may want to use them with your group or simply as a resource for your own study and teaching.
  • Fabulous extra resources will be shared here and on Facebook (click here). There’s a free download each week right here on the website (just to keep it fun!), but make sure to join us both places.

5 Easy Steps to GET CONNECTED

signature
Leave a comment here | 2 Comments

Lesson 1: When God Shows Up

Welcome to the first day of our Breaking Up with Perfect online study. I’m unbelievably excited to get started, and I’m so glad YOU’RE here!

After the official post, I have a little FAQ just in case you’ve got some questions. If I don’t answer your question, please leave it as a comment, and I’ll answer it quickly. I want everyone to feel comfortable, and I know we perfectionist types get squirmy if we have unanswered questions. In fact, if you’re consumed by questions, scroll down, read the FAQs first, and then scroll back up to start. 🙂


It’s easy to say, “This is just the way I am” and move on down the road. It’s painful and hard to change.

After a series of friendships imploded in my life about a decade ago, I looked at the wreckage from those relationships and realized there was a disturbing common-denominator. ME. That was the heart-breaking season when I realized change was needed.

Over time, my pursuit of perfection had chipped away at my relationships. My friends didn’t feel safe confiding their struggles to me, because I seemed like I had it all together. My husband wouldn’t say it (he’s way nicer than I am!), but he felt constantly critiqued. My kids were starting to show signs that performance was a problem.

The saddest thing about my problem was that my relationships were the reason I tried so hard to be perfect.

I’m a deeply flawed woman, but just like you, I do have some redeeming qualities. One of them is how deeply I love. God has given me the gift of glass-half-full, and I especially believe that for you. My family is my most precious treasure, and my friends are the joy of my life. When I faced the fact that I was the one who was hurting the people I love, I was devastated.

Maybe you’re starting Breaking Up with Perfect in the same state. Probably one or more of these apply to you:

You’re exhausted from trying to be everything for everyone. It’s always seemed like the way to show your love, but now you’re starting to wonder.

You feel distant from God, and you’re not sure He’s pleased with you.

Friendships feel shaky, and people keep their distance.

All the stuff you’ve surrounded yourself with doesn’t feel fulfilling or like enough anymore.

The calendar you’ve kept is over-full but your soul is achingly hollow.

Even your service feels off. Lately it’s become more of a burden than a blessing.

If you identify with any of these, can I encourage you? You’re in good company here! Like me, you’re ready for change.

But how does change really happen? We need God, our gentle transformer, to show up!

In April, I took my third trip to India to build a partnership between Proverbs 31 Ministries and Mission India. The persecution of Christians in India, a predominately Hindu country, is significant, so there’s very little “cultural Christianity.” Jesus-followers there are passionate and on-fire. I’m challenged and convicted by Indian believers every time I visit, and I learn big lessons. Each week during our study, I’m going to share one that ties in with what we’re learning.

The most impactful lesson I learned this time came from hearing stories from the women in Hope Cells formed in Mission India’s literacy classes.

p31_India_Edited_lowres (85 of 279) 2016-04-25 16.11.20 2016-04-26 16.33.02 2016-04-26 17.31.09

Hope Cells are small groups formed from within the larger class within weeks of the start of the class. These women who don’t yet know the One True God are taught to pray and ask God for what they need.

Their needs are overwhelming.

They pray for enough food for their children, against false accusations that could land them in jail, and that their husband would stop spending every dime he makes on alcohol.

They pray for wounds to heal, for friends to come out of comas, and for a loved one who is sleeping on the street again tonight.

They pray. God answers.

Our team heard story after story of women who prayed and watched our good God show up. This is how they come to know Him. To believe in Him. To trust Him.

I’ve never thought of prayer as evangelism before, and the lesson my head knew but my heart needed to learn is that God shows up and answers prayers of desperate faith.

In the middle of the night during our trip, I laid awake with God speaking to me. Urging me. Pushing me. Whispering to me, “Amy, pray some prayers of faith.”

I realized that even after experiencing salvation at 10, falling passionately in love with Jesus at 16, and years of watching Him at work, my faith had grown weak. He wanted me to pray big prayers and watch Him go to work. He wanted me to know Him better. Believe in Him more. Trust Him completely.

That’s exactly how I want us to start our study. Let’s stop right now and pray a big prayer of faith together:

Lord, I want to be free from perfectionism. Not partly free. Completely free. I want to be free to know You in the deepest way possible. I want to be awash with Your love for me. I want to love with abandon the people  you’ve put into my life . I want to become the woman you dreamed of when you created me– my truest, wholly authentic, most glorious self. God, in our group and in this study, I ask You to set me free. Because I know You, I believe You can and will do it. I trust You! Amen.

Question for You: My greatest problem with perfection was how it damaged my relationships. What’s your greatest problem with perfection? Where do you need the freedom that we just prayed for?

—————————————————————————————————————————————-

This Week’s Assignments/Activities:

  • Read the Introduction & Chapter 1
  • Do as many of the extra activities for these chapters as will benefit you–Transformation Points (at the end of each chapter) & Going Deeper (at the end of the book). Both are in the Participant’s Guide.
  • Choose and complete at least one action step this week from 50 Ways to Leave Your Perfect which starts on p. 197.

______________________________________________________________________________

FAQs

How do I get the free Participant’s Guide?

Send a copy/picture of your receipt or of you with your book/ebook to breakingupwithperfect1@gmail.com for a free download of the Participant’s Guide.

How in the world am I going to do all the activities?

The beauty of an online study is that you can do as much or as little as is beneficial for you. The book and Participant’s Guide has a lot of extra material for you– Transformation Points at the end of the chapters, Going Deeper Bible study at the end of the book for each chapter & 50 Ways to Leave Your Perfect (starting on p. 197) with fun and transformational action steps.

Go through the book only as fast as you can absorb it, and do only as many activities as make sense for you.

What will I get from joining the private Facebook Group?

The private FB Group was formed when I originally went through this study live with a group in August 2016. The content still remains, and you may enjoy going through the questions, reading the comments, and reaping the benefits of extra resources there. The only thing that you should ignore is the giveaways. Unfortunately, those were completed with the live group and are not current.

If you’d like to join the Facebook Group, click here.

What’s the deal with the videos?

The videos were originally created as Facebook Live events for the private Facebook Group. They’re informal and fun, and there is additional teaching there. They will be fun to watch on your own, but if you’re leading a group, you may want to consider using them there. Leaders, they can also be used as resources for your personal study and teaching in your group.

<– Previous Lesson                          Next Lesson –>

signature
Leave a comment here | 15 Comments

Lesson 3: Gifts of Love from a Resource Junkie

Several years ago, the Proverbs 31 team all took the StrengthsFinder 2.o test to identify our areas of strength. One of my top five strengths is “Input”. That means that I’m a hoarder. My husband would tell you that I’m a declutter-er to the extreme with our material things (oh the sorrow over giving things away that my people considered treasures!), but I hoard ideas and information.

Hi. I’m Amy, and I’m a resource junkie.

One of the things I want to do as we go through Breaking Up with Perfect together is to share some resource love, so I’ll have a free download each week here on the blog. On our private Facebook page, I’ll share a link to some nugget of information gold. We’ll keep it fun there– songs, quizzes, etc.

Here’s your first freebie. I hope you’ll click on the graphic below to access the download which you can print to help you jump-start those action steps.

BUWP Day 1

 

<–Previous Lesson                                   Next Lesson–>

signature
Leave a comment here | 5 Comments

Lesson 4: God Uses Even Our Worst

(This post was written in conjunction with an Encouragement for Today devotion that was posted that day, so you may like to read it as an extra resource. Click on the devotion title to read it.)

During our P31 International Initiative team’s trip to India, our hosts, Mission India, took us to visit many of their life-transforming literacy classes. We got to see lives changing right before our eyes as men and women learned to read and write, but the day we visited Raju’s community was the highlight of my time.

Let’s let the pictures tell the story.

It was a hot, Indian spring day.

2016-04-29 05.07.19
Our team left the city and drove to the rag-picker village where Raju and his community live, sifting through a nearby dump for recyclable materials to sell for about $1 a day.

2016-04-27 11.20.17
2016-04-27 10.06.29
IMG_20160427_243515898

Our gracious host and leader of the community, Raju, invited us into his home which is also the church and school for a group of about 20 families.

IMG_20160427_014410148_TOP

2016-04-27 10.07.48

2016-04-27 10.44.46

As I described in today’s devotion, Raju led us in prayer and worship, and I experienced God’s powerful presence as I have never experienced it before.

IMG_20160427_244200345

IMG_20160427_245338605

Seeing how God’s Spirit is alive and active in Raju’s life has taught me a critical lesson. Even when we don’t have much, our desperation for God is enough.

The man Raju is today is a Spirit-filled, inspirational leader. It’s hard to imagine him being any different, but just like us, Raju has a past. Before he knew Jesus, he was passionate but angry. Hungry for justice but belligerent. Ready to fight for what was right… with his fists.

After Raju came to know Jesus, he started to live out the truth that has captured my heart. God is using the very flawed characteristics of the old Raju to gain true justice in the new Raju.

That passion for justice and what’s right that used to get Raju in trouble? Now it’s fueled him to get a well for his community…

2016-04-27 11.07.34

And food ration cards…

2016-04-27 11.10.31

And land rights…

2016-04-27 11.10.40

The good news is that we don’t have to despair over our flaws IF we’re submitting them to God to redeem them. They may be the very parts of our personalities that He wants to use. He can take what seems to be our worst traits and turn them around for good.

Our Flaws + God’s Redemption = Our Usable Strengths

Reforming perfectionists, have you felt crushed by your natural wiring and hopeless that things can change? Submit those traits to God. Let Him turn them into the beautiful center-pieces of your soul. Your work ethic, the desire to do well, and your craving for love may have worked against you in the past, but God can use those very things for His glory. Change is possible.

Our surrender is all that’s required to experience God’s power.

Question for you: What personality trait that has been negative would you like to see God redeem? OR How have you already seen God do this work in your life?

________________________________________________________________________________

To watch a powerful video of our hero Raju telling his story, click here or watch below.

Make sure to visit Mission India’s website by clicking on the last slide of the video or by clicking here for more compelling stories of God’s power and to learn about getting involved in the amazing work of Mission India.

 

________________________________________________________________________________

This Week’s Assignments/Activities for the Online Book Study Group:

  • Read the Chapters 2 & 3
  • Do as many of the extra activities for these chapters as will benefit you–Transformation Points (at the end of each chapter) & Going Deeper (at the end of the book). Both are in the Participant’s Guide.
  • Choose and complete at least one action step this week from 50 Ways to Leave Your Perfect which starts on p. 197. You can create your own activities too. 🙂

 

<–Previous Post                        Next Post –>

 

signature
Leave a comment here | 102 Comments

Lesson 6: A Fun Daily Reminder Download

I don’t know about you, but I need reminders that I’m breaking up with perfect. Often.

Below is a picture that you can download and use wallpaper on your computer screen as a daily reminder of the process. It comes in three sizes, so one should fit yours. Click on the size you need, save the image, install as your wallpaper and enjoy!

1900x1200

1900 x 1200

1024 x 768

1280 x 1024

Disclaimer: I  hope these free downloads are a treat, but I’m unable to provide technical help for installation. I always advise people to do what I do when I get stuck on my computer— ask a teen-ager! 🙂

<– Previous Post                        Next Post –>

signature
Leave a comment here | 1 Comment

Lesson 7: Defining God and Ourselves

2016-04-25 17.33.54

This was one of my favorite pictures from my trip with Mission India. See the beautiful woman in pink on the right? She began as a teacher for one of the literacy classes like those that Lysa TerKeurst and Proverbs 31 Ministries are helping to sponsor, but she’s now the project manager who oversees several classes. She moved through the desperate poverty around her with such joy and grace. I was struck by the way the women she leads obviously love and respect her.

When we asked her why she’s embraced this work, she told us that she had seen many families come to know Jesus when she taught a class. Whole. Families. Jesus’ power in these families inspired her so much that she felt compelled to continue and expand the work of the literacy classes.

She’s a woman who has moved out of poverty and a religion of fear herself because of experiencing first-hand the difference Jesus makes. We reforming perfectionists have lived in a kind of poverty and religious fear of our own making because of pursuing the right things in the wrong ways. Let’s move into abundance and confidence as we watch Jesus make a difference in us!

Knowing Jesus makes a difference in how we see ourselves. Knowing Jesus makes a difference in how we love others.

Now, check out the bold little boy on the front row left. Isn’t he ADORABLE?! I couldn’t help but think that his mother’s increased confidence from learning to read in the literacy class had rubbed off on him. Instead of being broken by poverty, you can see his zest for life and his confidence. I remember him as a little super-hero, hands on hips, in the midst of dire need. Don’t you wonder how he’ll change his world? All because his mother has been touched by Jesus, Mission India, and literacy.

His mother has been set free from a religion that worships idols made my man’s hands. We’ve often poured our worship out on a god we’ve tried to define ourselves. Instead of resting in being created in God’s image, we’ve tried to make Him in our own. Through the study, we’re growing and learning and finding a better way to live our truest ourselves!

Only when we see God as He truly is do we truly become who we are created to be.

A Question for You: How did it go this week writing down the benefits and beautiful characteristics of God as you read scripture? I’d love for you to share some of what you’ve written down!

________________________________________________________________________________

Assignments:

The reading assignment this week is Chapters 4, 5 & 6. Now… I know that may have you freaking out, because it’s three chapters instead of two. I get it! But we can do it together, and here are some tips for keeping up:

  • Read with a pen or highlighter in your hand. Even if you only read and highlight, you will still feel up to speed with the group and able to participate.
  • Add on the other pieces only as time allows, but don’t feel badly if you can’t get to them.

 

________________________________________________________________________________

A Video:

For a look into Mission India’s literacy classes, click here to watch a short video.

<– Previous Post                      Next Post –>

signature
Leave a comment here | No Comments

Lesson 9: A Devotion to Share

In our Facebook group, Carol gave a challenge that I’d like to share with everyone:

Amy reminds us in chapter 3 that we are to have a servant-like mentality and put others ahead of ourselves. What can you do this week to help someone?

Have you done something you’d like to share here in the comments? Or you can write your goal in the comments to make it “in-writing official.”

For the free download today, I thought I’d include a printable devotion to keep for yourself or to share with a friend as encouragement. Passing it along could be the way to help someone this week. 🙂

Click here to download “Love Rest”, a free devotion.

<– Previous Post                      Next Post –>

signature
Leave a comment here | 7 Comments