Amy Carroll » Growing Spiritually » Breaking Up with Perfect So That…

Breaking Up with Perfect So That…

This has been the year to break up with Perfect once and for all.

Today’s devotion is just a glimpse of the love affair I’ve carried on with Perfect. Remember your teen years when you realized the boyfriend you just had to have wasn’t good for you at all? It took me far too long, but over the years I’ve had a dawning realization that my perfectionism wasn’t creating something good. It was holding me back.

Last Friday night, hubby and I went out to eat with friends. Afterward, we went back to their house, and they suggested something that would have made me break out in hives before. They wanted us all to play pool.

pool-table-balls-game

Before I broke up with Perfect, I would have made an excuse. Protested I couldn’t really. Been a spoil-sport. I hated doing things I wasn’t good at (re. anything athletic or requiring coordination of any kind) because then others would get a glimpse of the deeply flawed me. The un-shiny me. The human me.

Mercy–me, me, me.

I’ve decided to put that kind of behavior behind, though, so I played pool. I stunk, but I had a blast! Here was the big surprise. Nobody judged me. Nobody looked down on me. Instead, they cheered when I sunk a few balls. They laughed at my happy dance when I used the “bridge” for the first time even though I missed the ball I was aiming for. They agreed that I “blocked a shot” (HA!) when I actually missed the hole.

What had I been so afraid of?

I experienced so much joy Friday night. Because I played pool?

No.

I experienced joy because in breaking up with perfect, I’ve stepped more fully into a realization of my Father’s love for me. I’m not so focused on myself and how others perceive me. Instead, I’m focused on the full acceptance and love my Father has for me.

In John 15, Jesus says this following a verse about living in our Father’s love. “ I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:11 (NIV 2011. Italics added)

No more focusing on the externals while our insides go unattended.

No more missing out because we might show our flaws to the world.

Let’s do it. Let’s live in our Father’s love. Let’s asked to be filled with His joy. Let’s break up with Perfect so that His joy would be complete in us.

Today, if you’d like to enter to win a copy of Wendy Blight’s wonderful Bible study Living So That: Making Faith-Filled Choices in the Midst of a Messy Lifeleave a comment. I’d love to hear your story of breaking up with perfect, or if you’re living life on the fly today, just simply comment, “I’m breaking up with perfect.”

Note: Amy’s first book, Breaking Up with Perfect, will be released July 7th. She can’t wait to share more stories from her journey to leave perfectionism behind.

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83 Comments

  1. that we should forgvie and forget’. Even if this were actually possible, we are certainly not required to even attempt anything like it if they are unrepentent and likely to offend again on the same serious way. We are entitled to say within ourselves something like: whilst I have handed calling you to account over to God, and whilst I pray that you will see the light, understand what you have done and repent, and apologise so that we can safely be reconciled, I now know you and what you are like, and I choose to guard my heart and the hearts of those under my protection, and (for the time being anyway) to love you in absence.By doing this, as well as protecting ourselves (we are not called to continually cast our pearls in front of swine’) and giving ourselves time and space for our own healing, we give those who have done us wrong the chance to experience that we no longer seek their company, but at the same do not carry any resentment towards them. If it is God’s will that we should be reconciled to them and resume an active friendship, then this course of action can have a powerfully positive challenging effect. If it does not, then it is better that we let them go and enable God to give us something/someone else instead.We hope you find this reply of help.God bless and guide you.

  2. What a wonderful subject! I first read about your devotion about messy on the inside on Proverbs 31 which lead me here. Wow, this post was the one that resonated deeply for me as I’ve only recently started living my life with Christ as my daily companion. My heart has been filled with Christ’s love but have much work to do changing those flash thoughts that tell me I’m imperfect, less worthy. Your “pool story” describes me perfectly…afraid to fail or show my poor skills so I always offer to keep score or keep the participants beverages and snacks filled. You gave me another perspective and I’m going to push myself past these fears of being inadequate. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I struggle with the need to have everything perfect. I am BREAKING UP WITH PERFECT today!!!!

    Thank you for your inspiring words!

  4. I struggle with “keeping up” I am surrounded by picture-perfect moms who arrive at carpool in full make-up, the perfectly matched out fit and jewelry. I have struggled with trying to fit in. I look at my sloppy sweatshirt, and slippers. I am struggling….. but I am trying to at least get it together for my husband and kids when they make their second appearance during the day. God doesn’t mind my sweatshirt when I study my Bible in the morning…. I am sure of it!!!!

  5. Heather Morgan says:

    I’m breaking up with perfect!

  6. This is really the best time in my life for this blog Amy!! Thank you and thank God for speaking through you today. I have been struggling so deeply with my outter appearance for the past 10 years. I used to exude confidence and felt so beautiful and worthy and over the past several years I’ve been dealing with self-hate and disgust for myself. I have been obsessing over other women and feeling lower than low. I have let it truly consume me and overtake me and have allowed that feel of “not good enough” to rob me of my joy and peace. I am so thankful to break up with perfect and allow God to love me through this and show me that it’s not about being a size 6, nor is it about having radiant skin and perfect legs and the best wardrobe ever….it’s about the glow of peace and joy and love that it brings inside when I allow Him to love me well…so that I can love me well!!! Thank you!!!!

  7. Tashina Clark says:

    I am really struggling with this right now. I am 27 and many of my friends have husbands, boyfriends or fiances. I always look at them and look at myself and determine my worth based on being in a relationship. I felt like in order to have a perfect life, I needed to have a man to share my life with. I still struggle with this, but after years of dating and being in and out of relationship after relationship, I decided that I needed to take a hiatus from dating. I needed to have a relationship with my Heavenly Father before I could have a loving relationship with a man. I do not have a lot of confidence and I do not love myself like I should. I have always felt like I needed a man to love me. After taking a two year hiatus, I am so much happier. I have built a stronger relationship with the Lord and I don’t feel like I need to be in a relationship to make myself feel complete or perfect. I loved your post! Thank you for sharing!

  8. Christine says:

    Thank you for this! I’m breaking up with perfect.

  9. I am breaking up with perfect. It takes so much time and energy away from living life to the fullest. One example is keeping my house clean to the point that I had a friend say she was afraid to sit in my living room and mess it up. Now I am ok if some dishes sit till I get to them. I am breaking up with perfect one step at a time

  10. I’m breaking up with perfect!!

  11. So true. My prayer this morning for my son, a Senior in High school was for God to calm his anxieties over his future and for him to Believe in what he can’t see.

    We look at the stacked up pile of things we aren’t or haven’t yet achieved and we forget the most important of all is the belief of what God can do from the inside out.

  12. I was somewhat forced to break up with perfect a few years ago when I was diagnosed with cancer. Although no one wants to have cancer it has been a life changing experience in many positive ways as well. I still have moments when “perfect” wants to get back together but I’m trying to remain strong! I enjoyed your devotion on Proverbs 31 yesterday and am happy to have found your blog. Thank you for the inspiration!

  13. I’m breaking up with perfect! Can’t wait for your book!

  14. I am breaking up with what I think people define for me as perfect and falling in love with what Jesus has cleaned and ordained me to be.

  15. I am breaking up with perfect!!

  16. Food for thought, that’s for sure! The idea of “breaking up with perfect” sounds enticing, yet the commitment to really do it is scary!

  17. Deborah smith says:

    Wow! I felt like you more eloquently wrote my exact thoughts!

  18. I’m breaking up with perfect! 🙂

  19. Heather Miller says:

    I have to choose to break up with perfect everyday! Sometimes things fall apart or don’t go as I imagined, and I can be so let down or hard on myself. But day by day I’m getting better at letting go.

  20. Thank you for your inspiring post! It was a reminder for me and has me mulling over some changes that I’ve been looking to implement in my life. Your words are so honest and natural. Thank you for sharing your gift with us. I look forward to reading your book!

  21. Amy – Your recollection of entering your son’s room really hit home with me!! And I, too, would love to break up with perfect! Thank you for asking us (ever so graciously) to look in the mirror today…God Bless! 🙂

  22. Heather German says:

    THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
    Today I needed this more than ever!

    I’m breaking up with perfect!

  23. I am so breaking up with perfect!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart! This really opened my eyes to what I am doing every day. Thank you again!!

  24. I REALLY needed this right when I read it today. I too need to break up with perfect…BUT know doing so will not be an easy task for me. Ready to try though.

  25. Wow! I echo what Janet said, this really hit me too!
    I am breaking up with perfect.

  26. Gee, I felt, I was living your story. I have been there all of my life. I use to get up at 4am every morning just to clean for a couple hours before going to work as a nurse for 12 hours. With two small kids back then , I thought this was the only way to live. I still to this day am way too perfect. I won’t try things cause I am not excellent in them.Thank you for opening my eyes to letting go of trying to be perfect. I am getting rid of Perfect today. May God Bless You in all you do. Thank you once again for sharing your story.

  27. Been there. Done that. Still working on letting go of perfect. Thank you so much for sharing. I can’t wait for your book to come out in July.

  28. Jeanie Benso says:

    I’m breaking up with perfect! I have decided after reading this post and the one on P31, I need to stop worrying how I look on the outside and spending so much time and energy on Hair and Makeup and use that time to perfect my inside. I’m going to go without makeup this week and instead of putting makeup on, pray during that time. I pray this will help me (and not scare everyone away).

  29. GRACE is my word for this year & I’m working hard at being less perfect & LIVING SO THAT Christ can clean me from the inside out…SO THAT His LOVE, JOY & GRACE are what others see when they see me. Thank you for your words/stories of encouragement….you are a blessing!

  30. Martha T. says:

    I am breaking up with perfect!

  31. It seems God has been speaking to me a lot lately about this perfection thing. I would really like to be done with it. I don’t think it brings glory to Him and it’s exhausting to me…so what is the point? I pray He breaks this habit/stronghold and brings freedom. Thank you for your timely words.

  32. I’ve never felt “good enough” but God is showing me that He loves me always — no matter what!

  33. This is SO me. Question. How do you break up with perfect when you are a 100% ‘competitive’ person, afraid to fail?

  34. Evalyn Elliott says:

    I am breaking up with perfect. Putting my life together after 29 years of marriage and a divorce I didn’t want but my former husband did. Loving my 2 grown daughters and starting a new job. Forgiving myself for not being the perfect wife that could have kept the marriage together and realizing that there was nothing I could have done to keep the marriage together. Letting go of perfect and realizing I am just God’s child. And that Jesus is enough.

  35. Jessica R. says:

    It’s so funny how God works. He is SO good. I first saw a snippet on facebook of the devo you wrote for Proverbs 31 today (Feb 2nd) which totally caught my attention (loved it!). And that devo had a link to your blog here, and of course the entry today was exactly what I needed as well, as I’m trying to break through the perfectionism bubble that’s been with me for far too long. So thank you, Amy for your gift of writing, and I’m DEFINITELY buying your book when it comes out in July!! This was my first time at your blog, and I’m definitely returning :). Blessings!

  36. I definitely struggle with “trying” to be perfect, what I weigh, how I look, what others think. .. crazy. .. it matters what HE thinks. Help me break up with perfect. Help me work on prettying up my insides.

  37. I am still breaking up with perfect. Although, I still have a way to go. I no longer think that my house has to be in perfect order to have company or kill myself trying to put everything in perfect order before company arrives so that I am too tired to really enjoy my company. Or, not invite friends over because I haven’t finished that room that I started on. I also realize that I don’t have to cook a gourmet meal or run out and get pizza and all kinds of snacks just because one of my friends is dropping by. It’s been a journey, but I am getting there.

  38. Leigh-Ann Hunt says:

    I’m breaking up with perfect.

  39. I’m hoping to break up with perfect, but haven’t had much luck yet. I realize that I don’t have to be perfect, however, it is so easy to get caught up in satan’s lies of never being good enough or doing enough that get to me.

  40. Staci Harrison says:

    This is exactly what I needed to hear today. I’m ready to break up with perfect because I know I’m not and I never can be. I’m tired of living like this. Thank you.

  41. Thanks for this great reminder. Perfect stands in the way.

  42. This has been my life for the last 46yrs. If I wasn’t the best mom, wife, daughter then I meant nothing. It wasn’t about how much God loves me it was about how much I didn’t love me when perfect wasn’t achieved. I am starting a process to break up with perfect and taking off the mask!!! TODAY is the 1st DAY OF THE REST OF MY LIFE in knowing and learning about loving me and knowing how much our mighty God loves me!!! Thanks so much for posting.

  43. I am in the midst of a tornado on the inside! At 56, I am going to school full time and it is the hardest thing I’m doing at this time. Yesterday I wanted to quit because I am overwheimed with that part of my life and trying to keep a house and my family going too! I make time for God in the morning, but for the things I love to do I haven’t had time for. I need to find a job on top of all this so I can contribute to paying our bills and having some left for saving. It is a rough road for me now and I just don’t know what to do.

    1. Lisa, we all go thru such hard times and you are in the middle of a storm. Take a deep breath and take 1 thing at a time. Perfection is our enemy for sure and we cannot make it all happen at once. This was my problem I wanted things done and done right now. You are doing a wonderful job by going to school and keeping a family and home. Don’t be so hard on yourself, girl you are not alone with the inside messes and feeling so overwhelmed you don’t where to go next. Gods goodness, grace and mercy follow you wherever you go! Just rely on him as hard it may seem at times. KEEP THE FAITH this will all be worth it on the day you graduate! Take care!!

  44. What an encouraging post! It’s liberating to not be so focused on myself and how others view me. I gravitate towards friends who let me see their less than perfect parts because then I can share those parts of me more easily. Just starting a study called “Lies Young Women Believe” with a group of high school freshmen and know that I will be richly blessed through it also. Thank you Amy!

  45. I am breaking up with perfect.

  46. La Donna Gulley says:

    I’m breaking up with perfect!!

  47. Just discovered your blog today and boy-oh-boy did I need to hear the things you had to say about breaking up with perfect. Thanks for the truth!

  48. Marcia Murphy says:

    I am breaking up with perfect.

  49. Thank you for this devotion. I have been working on this problem. I have been married to my husband for 41+ years and he has never heard me sing except with a group because I know I can’t really carry a tune and I was worried what he would think. He Pastors a Cowboy Church we started over a year ago and he is learning to play the guitar. Yesterday for the first time I actually sang for him so he could hear the tune of a song. It felt good and he was ok with it. I have always been kind of shy so this was hard for. I make myself presentable when going out but I am learning not to worry so much if everything isn’t perfect. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue last year. There are things I can no longer do or have a hard time doing. This has helped me realize what trying to be a perfectionist does to a person. I am so giving up perfect!

  50. Your blog is a wonderful reminder of living as a human being instead of a human “doing”… Thanks for placing the focus on working as unto the Lord and not as to pleasing others. Be blessed by grace as His power is made PERFECT in weakness

  51. Perfect has got to go…..it’s just a struggle to figure out how.

  52. Lauren Cootes says:

    You cannot know how on time this was for me today. I desperately desire to appear perfect and have a tendency to get very down on myself on what I perceive as my flaws. I got so worked up yesterday because I was running late, like always and it led me on an anxious self hatred spiral that had Me so anxious I was in tears. Then because I was so worked up, I hit someone’s car pulling out of church. I HAVE to break up with perfect. It’s destroying my joy.

  53. I’m breaking up with perfect. Thanks for the blog. I really related to this!

  54. Elaine Segstro says:

    This is definitely an email that I will keep and refer to. I would LIKE to break up with perfect, and the example with your son SO resonated. My son’s bedroom door is closed, because it bothers me to see the mess covering EVERY BIT of the carpet. At least he has agreed to put his cleaned folded laundry up on a shelf (not in his closet or drawers), but oh well… I do pray that MY insides are not messy and cluttered. I am someone who “wears their heart on their sleeve”, so usually what you see is what you get 🙂 I pray that God’s light will shine through me.

  55. Love this, I got the link from today’s devotional over at proverbs31. There is such truth in these words. I, too, struggle from perfectionism, so that it can even be unhealthy. Thankfully God continues to forgive me and bring me back into His arms.

    Thank you for sharing!

  56. I realized I was a perfectionist after baby #3 came in less than 3 years(no twins!), and I just couldn’t keep the house clean and organized every day like I had so wanted. James Dobson said, “A perfectionist is someone who wants everything done one way: their way”. Well, 5 kids later, and I am still working through this, but God is always showing me His way is far better than mine. Your devo this morning was just another sweet reminder that He is concerned with much more than the outside of my appearance or the inside of my house:)

  57. Cheryl Thompson says:

    I am breaking up with perfect! I love how God just moves us to where He wants to show us more. I found you this am when reading Proverbs 31 devo..God has been impressing on me I dont have to be perfect to move on and step into what He has called me to do! Today was confirmation/affirmation. Im on right path. I want the next step!!

  58. Ashley F. says:

    I have struggled with perfect for a long time. From wanting my house to be like one out of magazine to having my children act and respond like one of the Brady bunch. I want to break this chain of needless longing for perfection that hangs around my neck. I know it is robbing me of the small ever present joys in my life. Just need some help to get it done.

  59. I never ever did feel perfect. Yet I wanted perfection. When we grow old and grow up I think we learn to how to break up with perfection.

  60. Perfect is as perfect thinks…an insecurity of who God created us to be with our good traits and yes, those imperfections that scare us to reveal to the world. The Evil one uses our mind to bring about a prideful nature that would struggle to share about Him and the mistakes we have made in our walk.

    No so my friend! Thankfully it’s in these imperfect, stinky places God can use us even more to minister to a hurting world. The lost world has a harder time relating to the perfect. But in sharing our true stories and our true selves, God can use it for His glory, not our glory.

    For in my weakness HE is made strong. May HE be glorified in the stinky places of our lives to show a broken world the love of God, who loves us where we are.

    Thank you for sharing your Devo today. I too want to join the “break up of being perfect club!!!!” 😉

  61. Thanks for this today! What really struck me this morning was the love of the Father! I tend to be my own worst critic and at times I feel like I’m always crawling back to ask for forgiveness for many of the same old habits. Lately it has been pulling me down because I can never be “perfect” for Him. This reminded me this morning that I don’t have to be. He loves me anyway! Thanks so much!

  62. I’m breaking up with perfect!

  63. Thank YOU for being transparent! I just found your blog today from Proverbs 31 and I literally laid down in bed last night and told my husband that I’m overwhelmed. I’m overwhelmed by the pressure and balance I put on myself as a mom, wife, housekeeper to our home, and leadership position in my job. I prayed before I went to bed for God to give me peace and help me give up this struggle, then I read your blog! I’m breaking up with perfect!

    1. Oh, Dana–Our husbands should get together and commiserate because I had a similar unload on my precious husband a few days ago. Of course, he is trying to fix the situation and take less of the burden off of me which, while appreciated, really isn’t the issue. The issue–MY issue–is perfectionism. Over the last few days it has been made clear to me that my perfectionism is affecting everyone in the house in a profoundly negative way. Does that mean I’m resigned to live in unorganized filth? Not at all. But I’m learning through God’s word (and in confirmation by Amy’s posts the past few days) that perfectionism has become my idol. I Peter 5:7 says “Cast all your cares upon Him for he cares for you” but notice that verse 8 talks about Satan waiting to pounce. I have to cast all my cares about my house cleanliness and organization, church leadership work, professional responsibilities on Him or Satan will be ready to use my efforts at managing these things to destroy my relationships. Thank you Amy for your transparency as it is confirming the truth that God already has begun speaking in my life. Can’t wait to read your book on the beach this summer!

      1. Amy Carroll says:

        I loved your comments to Dana and the encouragement to me. Thanks, Rhonda!

  64. I am breaking up with perfect. It’s not me and can not nor should it be obtained.
    God is my Perfect.

  65. Thank you Amy. Your words have spoken volumes to me this morning. The image of standing in your son’s room looking out the window could’ve been me, oh my gosh. Your pool story was eye opening too. It’s time to let go and let God into my messy insides, time to break up with my outer perfect. My outer isn’t perfect anyway. Open my eyes Lord.

  66. melissa ward says:

    I’m SO breaking up with perfect!

  67. I’m breaking up with perfect! I’ve procrastinated too long, missing out on the joy and adventure God has for me because I wanted, had to be perfect. Everything had to be just right. I had to make everything just right. But it’s not about be making something perfect because I’m a mess! So today I offer up my mess to God. He’s perfect. Only He can turn my mess into perfection. I’m breaking up with me being perfect and letting the only One who could be perfect take over.

  68. I am breaking up with perfect!

  69. I am breaking up with perfect!

  70. im breaking up with perfect.

  71. Oh dear! This is SO me. I spend so much time making myself look presentable to the world when I should be working on my inside. Forgive me Jesus & help me to open my heart to you. Beautify me through the inside.

  72. hi Amy, wow..breaking up with perfect…I love this. I want to share, 2 yrs ago I had decided it was time for me to start being creative in the sense of making homemade items. I took up knitting and sewing. I’ve told myself for years this is something I can never do…I’m not good at it. Well, as we get older we start to appreciate more. My mom who passed back in May of 2014, at the age of 92… Was in her day an amazing seamstress and a crocheter . She taught me a bit about sewing, but I never really wanted to learn, nor learn to crochet. When it was too late, was when I wanted this. As I sit now sewing at my machine, I find myself talking to mom…sometimes asking her for help…ha, ha. I know she is proud of me! And I know she is with my dad…and living an eternal life with Jesus. I LOVE to sew and knit, and I am so grateful to our Lord for giving me strength and the knowledge, and the people and the resources to teach me. How fun is it when we step out of our box and let go of perfect! Thanks and may Gods blessing dwell in your heart.
    Carolyn

  73. Thank you for this reminder….Jesus sees what we are on the inside. That’s all that really matters. I am breaking up with perfect!!
    Can’t wait to read your book once it’s released!!
    🙂

  74. Thank you for your article! I can definitely relate with being all shiny on the outside and messed up on the inside. I know what it feels or means to hide your imperfections or true self to the world for fear of rejection or confrontation…But I thank God that I know Him and that He knows me…the real me…the true me..the part that no one sees…and He loves me!

    Today I am breaking up with Perfect!!!!

    1. This hit me right between the eyes and I realized I have tried to hide the
      mess inside by making the outside appear like I have it all together.

      I want to break up with perfect and I will be praying for God to guide me
      through this process.

      Looking forward to your book when it is released

  75. Elaine Stewman says:

    Oh my goodness…….I SOOOOOO needed this today. I have missed out on a lot in life too because of that, and now one of my children is the same way. I am totally breaking up with perfect. Thank you for your post……love it.

  76. I am breaking up with perfect.

    1. TANIA MAREE says:

      Breaking up with Perfect, will give me a sense of RELIEF and RELEASE,which will be a step or two in the RIGHT direction! I REALISE who I am, and I donot need
      to be afraid anymore. I have always wanted to be accepted for who I am,but I felt kept back by the hand of Perfect over and over,believing perfection will get me
      accepted,but would cost me an arm and a leg.The weight of a metal chain can
      now be lifted,A new RELEASE- a feeling of freedom- Happy to be who I want to be! Regards Tania-South Africa

    2. This topic really hits home. Personally I find that I pull myself out of social situations for fear of my imperfections coming out. Then the inevitable feelings of rejection that ensues afterward. It’s easier for me to be imperfect with myself, family, and dogs. They don’t judge. Well. I’m not sure about the dogs.

      1. Amy Carroll says:

        🙂 That’s why we all love dogs so much–they don’t judge!