Perfectionism & the Saboteur

In some ways, Kim Hyland and I are different. She’s soft-spoken, and I’m loud. She’s lovely, and I’m a little looney. 🙂 But at our core, Kim and I recognized each other as sisters right away. She’s one of us! She’s a reforming perfectionist who is finding deep joy in letting go. Please welcome my friend Kim, author of An Imperfect Woman, to the blog today. (And make sure to leave a comment to enter to win a copy of her new book!)

It was one of the first plays I’d ever auditioned for.

At sixteen, I was a college freshman, and my introverted self was struggling to connect socially. Drama wasn’t my thing, but I thought it would be a fun way to get involved and make some new friends.

The audition went surprisingly well. I reached down deep and drew out my inner diva (believe me, it took some digging). A few days later, I made call backs for the musical part of the audition! This should have been easy for me. I’d spent my high school years touring with our church choir and had even sung a few solos. I loved to sing.

But I bombed the audition.

I could feel it even as I sang the simple selection. I wasn’t giving my all. Shoot, I wasn’t even giving my mediocre half-best. Something in me was quitting before they could cut me. My fear of vulnerability and failure combined with my need for control were making me self-sabotage—the ugly underbelly of perfectionism.

It’s been called the fear of success, and it’s a bit of a mystery. Why would we fear succeeding in our pursuits? It doesn’t make sense. That is unless we think success means maintaining some vague standard of perfection. Then the fear of success makes perfect sense. We should be afraid of it.

Perfection is too heavy a burden to carry, so we undermine our own efforts and self-sabotage.

The connection between perfectionism and self-sabotage is subtle. The real saboteur is Satan, and he’s always been good at disguising his strategies. He knows well the truths that can so easily escape us:

  • Our dreams are planted in our hearts by God.
  • They bring energy, meaning, and purpose to our lives.
  • They’re a place of deep intimacy with our Father.

Is it any wonder Satan goes after our dreams? They have the potential to bring us closer to God, so our enemy does all he can to sabotage our efforts. And he’s more than happy to let us do his job for him.

That’s where perfectionism comes in. It’s Satan’s tool to keep us from acknowledging our deep need. Instead, we pursue endeavors and dreams with the destructive and dynamic duo of self-reliance and unrealistic ideals. When that burden inevitably becomes too heavy, we either press on to our own harm or we give up and quit.

Perfectionism denies the reality of our weakness.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not us. (2 Corinthians 4:7)

Weakness is part of God’s intentional design for us. He could have made us jars of titanium but instead he chose clay, so we would know where power truly comes from. We might be weak, but God is more than enough.

He doesn’t call us to pursue our dreams because He thinks we can do it alone. He calls us because he wants to manifest His power through us and to let us be a part of what He is doing in His kingdom.

When we humbly acknowledge our constant need for God’s strength, it silences the saboteur. Free from the burden of perfectionism, we discover the security, power, and generous heart of our perfect Father.


Kim Hyland is a writer, a speaker, and the founder and host of Winsome, an annual retreat for women that celebrates authenticity, diversity, and truth. She also speaks at national retreats and conferences, where she encourages women by sharing her imperfect path and God’s perfect plans. Originally from the DC metro area, she now lives with her family on a mountain overlooking the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. Connect with Kim at


In An Imperfect Woman, Hyland offers women a stirring manifesto for acknowledging their limitations and embracing the perfection of God through his grace. This is a book for every woman who gives 110% and yet feels shame when one little thing goes wrong.

To enter to win a copy of An Imperfect Woman, leave a comment. If you’re living life on the fly, simply say, “I let go of having it all together!”


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How to Pass the Half-Century Mark in Victory

There’s a book proposal collecting dust on my self. It was never published.

A marketing director nixed it because he said that books about aging don’t sell. He said that women don’t buy books about aging because they don’t want to think about their own aging. He’s probably right! But here’s the truth…

We’re all aging. (Here’s where we all laugh with a little hint of hysteria.)

Not only am I aging, but I just hit a significant marker, the half-century mark. I’m telling you the truth when I tell you that I’m not feeling anything but excitement. I wasn’t angst-y over this birthday like I was about 30 and 40. This one feels like a VICTORY to me! In response to a much-loved younger friend who teased me on Facebook that surely I was about to turn 30, I put the laughing-until-you-cry emoji and said, “Wouldn’t give up my years of experience for anything. I earned them!” I really feel that way.

But I am feeling something else too. I’m feeling others’ perceptions of me shifting. I was never hip, but I used to be young! Now I’m neither, and I know everybody else knows it too–primarily by the number of times I get called “m’am” here in the south.

We live in a youth-driven culture, and being of a certain age means a growing marginalization. This is the part that stings, and I don’t like it.

I mean I REALLY don’t like it.

That subtle marginalization, not my age, is what has had me feeling snippy for the last month or so, but God has been challenging me and giving me a mindset-shift in the last few days.

I’ve listened to two sermons in the last two weeks that God has used to challenge me. The first one is from my friend Amanda, who shared at her church about Me-Ism, a self-centered version of Christianity. I didn’t want to see myself in that message, but I sure did.

The second sermon that I listened to today was by my son’s pastor, Michael Clary, at Christ the King Church in Cincinnati. He’s doing a series on Ecclesiastes that’s rocking my world. At the end of his exposition, he shared a quote from Count Nikolaus von Zinzendorf who said, “Preach the Gospel. Die forgotten.” Do you feel the quake under your feet too?

I understand that we’re all made in God’s image and precious to Him, but God used these two messages to show me that I’ve become too precious to myself. My image, my reputation, my ministry and the way others perceive me have become overly important to me (again).

The reason I’ve been struggling with this shift in perception because of my age (which I believe is real, not just my overactive imagination) is that I have slipped into an over-sized belief in my own importance. Do you hear echoes of Sharon’s post from last week?

Surprisingly, that realization and the repentance that followed feels like peace, not pain.

Jesus girls… my friends… God loves us dearly, but we’re to love Him exclusively. When we do, others’ perceptions of us–whether based on status, degrees, age, race, whatever– become insignificant. Let’s heed the call to action, “Preach the gospel” in whatever way God is showing us. For me, I think it’s going to look like empowering the next generation to lead instead of doing so much leading myself. It’s going to be stepping out of some spotlights to make a space for the next voice God wants to use. If I do those things right, it will be a victory not a loss.

And then let’s embrace “Die forgotten.” Not because we don’t matter but because it’s eternal life that really does matter.

Let’s step out of Me-Ism squarely back into Theism, laser-focused on God, where we’ve always belonged.

It’s a significant birthday that’s led me to a closer look personally. Maybe in your life it’s been something else. I want to share thoughts about aging here because these aren’t things I’ve ever had older women share with me. Maybe it’s true that books on aging won’t sell, because women sure don’t talk about it!

Younger women, soak it in a little, and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Older women, you’ve walked this road before me, and I want to know what you already know. Please share your experiences!

I always share with you what’s fresh on my heart, and this is it. For the next few weeks, I’m going to process here and maybe share some of that old book proposal. Let’s share as a community and grow better as we grow older!


Congratulations to the winners of the Giveaways! 

Linda Chandler is the winner of Doing Busy Better by Glynnis Whitwer. Linda Gray, Julie Cordry and Betty Jo Nelson are the winners of Free of Me by Sharon Hodde Miller.

I’ve emailed each of you and will forward your mailing address to the author’s team. Enjoy!

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Sometimes It’s OK to Quit

Today I’m thrilled to introduce my friend and fellow Proverbs 31 Ministries author, Glynnis Whitwer, to share from her new book, Doing Busy Better. I pray this post encourages you to have the confidence you need if you find yourself in a commitment you need to step away from.

Glynnis is also giving away a copy of Doing Busy Better to one of my readers, plus she has free downloads for all of you, so make sure to read to the end. Please welcome Glynnis!


Ever find yourself wanting to quit when things get hard?

Whether it’s learning something new, joining a group where we are the outsider, or being around people who don’t treat us like we deserve to be treated, most of us find ourselves in a difficult situation at some time or other, and getting out seems like the best avenue.

Throughout the Bible we are encouraged to press on, persevere, not give up hope, be brave, believe, and trust the Lord to strengthen us as we face our challenges.

Is there anywhere we are encouraged to stop?

The answer is yes, and we find a powerful reason to quit given by Jesus Himself in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5.

When It Causes You to Sin.

Jesus taught that sin in our hearts is just as bad as the sin we commit with our words or actions.

I faced sin in my heart during a time as children’s ministry director at my small church. It was a great part-time job that seemed manageable. I had three small children at the time, so I was already involved in that ministry. And because I have the gift of teaching and administration, it seemed a perfect fit.

For a while everything went great. I loved helping pick out curriculum and organizing the teacher supply room. I liked working with the other leaders, who shared a similar passion for teaching. And I loved the children.

Where this job fell apart for me was with the volunteers. Every week it seemed somebody called to cancel, or worse yet, just didn’t show up. And most often I deemed their excuses flimsy at best. After all, I didn’t let a headache stop me from showing up. And I went to bed early on Saturday night so I wasn’t too tired to show up.

Week after week I grew more and more annoyed. Especially since I was often the one to fill in for that volunteer, meaning I missed the church service I desperately needed.

I grew prideful as I compared my commitment with others and found them lacking. I grew resentful at their lack of dedication, and my compassion meter ran on empty.

After a year of praying and asking for God’s strength and trying to resolve these issues through practical means, my heart was steadfastly in the wrong place. I didn’t like the person I was becoming, and I went to the pastor and gave notice (and stayed till we found a replacement).

There are a few reasons I couldn’t handle that job. First, my energy and compassion were pretty much consumed by raising three little boys. Second, pride had a firm hold of me back then, and I was starting to see that it would take much to root it out. And third, I just wasn’t spiritually mature enough to handle the job.

Being on staff at a church requires a depth of spiritual and emotional maturity I didn’t have. I didn’t have the undergirding of personal prayer nor did I know how to handle all the knowledge that came with that position. It was absolutely the right decision to quit; I’ve never second-guessed that one.

As you consider all your commitments and responsibilities, is there one where you know either your thoughts, words, or actions aren’t right? If so, it’s always best to seek God’s help before quitting.

God has used hard situations to convict and correct me of sin. There have been plenty of other times I wanted to quit a responsibility due to my own sin, but God kept me there and changed me.

But if you are in a situation where you are continually tempted to sin, or are already in sin, and you don’t feel equipped to handle it, you could be facing the go-ahead to quit.

I know the idea of quitting anything can feel wrong. But when we do it in the right way, for the right reasons, it can be one of the best ways to get ourselves on a healthy track of life.


The Giveaway

Comment below and share a commitment that God is calling you to slow the pace in, or perhaps one He has called you to quit in the past. One random winner will be chosen to win a copy of Doing Busy Better and will notified by email next week. (U.S. addresses only please).

Free Lock Screens

Glynnis has five mobile lockscreens you can download to be reminded of what God’s Word says about rest by subscribing here. You can also download a sample chapter of Doing Busy Better, and if you purchase a copy, be sure to redeem your receipt to receive a FREE companion Study Guide. Get the details here.

About Doing Busy Better

In Doing Busy Better, Glynnis helps you examine your heart and your schedule in order to seek a healthy, holy, and enjoyable balance between work and rest. Most importantly, she shows you that your worth is found not in your accomplishments but in the love of the One who made you for work and for rest.


About Glynnis

Glynnis Whitwer is Executive Director of Communications for Proverbs 31 Ministries, and contributor to their Encouragement for Today devotional, reaching over a million women each day. She’s the author of nine other books, including Taming the To-Do List and I Used to Be So Organized. She and her husband, Tod, live in Arizona and have five young-adult children. Connect with Glynnis at where she encourages women to live with margin and room to breathe while still getting things done.


The winner of the Dream-Reviver Giveaway is Glenda Tankersley (09/18/2017 at 5:26 pm). Thanks to all of you who entered!

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Three Ways to Become Unparalyzed by Perfection

Hi, friends! You’re in for a bonus treat today. My friend Dawna Hetzler is sharing some beautiful thoughts on moving beyond the paralyzation of perfection. Please welcome Dawna!


I would tell you that I wasn’t staring at him, but I’d be lying. He immediately caught my attention as he wheeled himself down the isle. Stopping beside me, he said, “Hello.” I couldn’t take my eyes off of him.

He lifted himself up in his wheelchair. Unabashed, he balanced on his knees where his lower legs used to be. Unable to move, I watched him stretch, reaching for something on the store’s upper shelf.

What if he fell?

He wobbled as he grabbed his item, and then sat back down in his chair. Before I could offer to help, he’d completed his task. He nodded at me and continued his shopping.

I stood there immobilized by my thoughts. What empowered him to be so, whole? 

His exterior shell broken, but inside—something beautifully different.

I was mesmerized by him, and suddenly it was clear; I’ve been living paralyzed by perfection. My perfection cripples me into believing that everything I do has to be impeccable—my worth rides on my success. But this guy taught me otherwise. He elevated his viewpoint, lived outside the lines, and appeared contented—all signs of living imperfectly.

Now I felt like the one with the handicap. Without a word, he taught me three ways to become unparalyzed by perfection.

Straighten Up

Contorting our alignment, perfectionism bends our perspective—revealing untruths—like if we fail, we’re worthless. There’s a story in the Bible about a woman who had an infirmity for eighteen years and was bent at the waist. “When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, ‘Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.’ Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.” (Luke 13:12-13 NIV)

How long have you been bound by perfectionism? It’s time to straighten up! Go to Jesus. He’ll change your perspective. Now looking heavenward, you’ll see there’s only One who is perfect. Then you will be free to walk straight, seeing from the proper viewpoint.

Live Outside the Lines 

Once you’re standing upright, do something out of your comfort zone—live outside the lines.

~Drive with the windows down and let your hair get incredibly messy.

~Get a cake and take a spoonful right from the center. Go ahead, eat from the middle.

~Color outside the lines in a coloring book—make the tree trunk bright orange, the leaves purple, and paint the sky green instead of blue.

[Tweet “Albert Einstein said, “You have to color outside the lines once in a while if you want to make your life a masterpiece.””]

Just do something that pushes you outside the lines of perfection that keep you restrained.

Love your life 

On the radio, I interviewed a young man with down syndrome, he looked at me through cheerful eyes and as best he could articulate he said, “I la eye ife!” (I love my life!) I sat there in awe. This differently-abled person proclaimed contentment, even though he had every right to feel otherwise. He made a choice to love his life.  At that moment, I felt a surge of conviction, transformed into gratefulness. And then I joined him in song, “I love my life too!”

Perfection doesn’t validate us, it makes us invalid.

That day, I walked out of the store transformed. Standing upright, challenging myself in a new way, and loving my life—unconfined from the handicap of perfectionism. And I walked out straighter than when I came in.

Your turn. I would love to hear how you’ve overcome perfectionism.

Dawna Hetzler is NOT a morning person and needs lots of coffee to get going, thinking, possibly even breathing. She is a speaker, author of Walls of a Warrior—Conquering the fears of our hearts, and the founder of a growing network of women called, The Jericho Girls.

Connect with her at: or on Facebook:

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Knowing I’m Chosen

“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. ” I Corinthians 1: 27-29 

Most of us aren’t people our world would consider wise. We’re not physically powerful like those who competed in the Olympics or unimaginably rich like so many in Hollywood. I know I’m not!

But watching how God is at work in the weak, poor, and most vulnerable of this world has taught me a critical lesson. Even when we don’t have much, our desperation for God is enough. It’s where He shows up.

Our key scripture tells us that God doesn’t just tolerate the foolish, weak, and lowly. He chooses them.

God delights to show His majesty to the meek. He longs to pour out His sufficiency on the suffering. He wants to reveal Himself to the poor in spirit, to those who mourn, and to those hungering and thirsting for righteousness.

It’s our desperation displayed through these characteristics that summon the power of God. Even though the world may tell us that we’re unworthy or unqualified for God’s glorious Presence, He can take a life like yours and mine and show up there. Our surrender is all that’s required to experience God’s power.


Lord, I’m desperate for Your Presence, and I surrender my whole self to You. I know that what I’m offering is humble and  lowly, so I praise You now that You choose the poor in spirit. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

This devotion is part of It Starts with Him: A 30-day Prayer Guide to End Human Traffickingproduced by my amazing friend Abbi Tenalgia, founder of Transforming Hope. Click here to access this beautiful and helpful resource.

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Helped AND Happy

Even though Ben Saunders, polar explorer, attained a goal that no human had ever attained, he still struggles with disappointment. Why? Because he needed, asked for, and accepted help.

For a total of 105 days, Ben and his partner had pursued their goal, walking 1800 miles from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and back. They were traveling in some of the harshest conditions on earth. There was 24 hour a day sunlight with no dark to mark their sleep. The sledges they hauled were over 400 pounds each. There were almost constant white-out conditions that Ben described as “like being inside a ping pong ball,” and the temperatures dipped to -70 degrees wind chill.

I listened to Ben’s story on the TED Radio Hour through my earbuds as I walked. I was awed, and I identified.

I’m not an athlete, so I couldn’t identify with him on that level.

I haven’t had an epic adventure like Ben, so I couldn’t identify with him on that level.

This southern girl’s warm blood would surely never survive that kind of cold, so I couldn’t identify with him on that level at all!

When Ben got to the end of his story, however, I suddenly had a flash of understanding. We’re not so different.

When Ben and his travel partner were almost to their destination, a storm came that slowed down their progress to the point that they ran out of food. Suddenly, they had a decision to make. Should they press ahead and face the potential of starvation or ask for help?

Ben really, really didn’t want to ask for help because he had patterned his trip after the Scott expedition from the early 1900s. The expedition goal was to do it “unassisted” meaning that they’d only survive on the food they brought or could retrieve that they had stashed along the way. They were miles away from their nearest outpost, and Ben knew that they had to call for resupply. After all, the Scott expedition hadn’t gained the record because the whole team died on the return from the South Pole. They didn’t want to meet the same fate.

So Ben and his partner used their cell phones to call for help, and a plane brought food–sumptuous food that tasted like the best meal they had ever eaten! They finished their journey and today hold the record for the longest-human powered polar journey in history.

It was when Ben was explaining that needing to ask for help still bugs him that I started to identify deeply with him. He said, “It’s something my ego is still struggling with. It was the biggest dream I’ve ever had, and it was so nearly perfect.”

I have that mentality too. I have thoughts like It only counts if I do it by myself. Or People will think I’m weak if I ask for help. Or Doing it perfectly means doing it alone.

I saw that attitude in myself even this week. I chose to go to a doctor’s appointment alone where there was the possibility of bad news. When I told a friend that I went alone, she said, “Why didn’t you ask me to go with you?!”

Thankfully, I had good news from the doctor, but I had to think about her question. I didn’t like the answer. I didn’t ask her because I didn’t want to be a bother. (My perception, not hers) Because I thought I should be able to handle it myself.

How silly of me to have such a great friend and not ask for her help!

At the end of the interview, Ben ended with this quote:

“Happiness is not a finish line. And if we can’t feel content on our journeys amidst the mess and the striving that we all inhabit– the loops, the half-finished to do lists, the could-do-better-next-time– then we might never feel it.”

Happiness and help. They’re not mutually exclusive. Not only can we have happiness AND help, I’m coming to believe that we’re happier with help. As I said in Breaking Up with Perfect,

“There is truly a time and a need in our souls for giving, but there’s also an often-neglected but necessary time for receiving. Sharing is a concept that implies both giving and receiving. Giving is the mark of charity, and charity is a virtue; however, always giving while never receiving is a lonely, one-sided deal. In contrast, giving and receiving in season creates community.” (p. 112 Breaking Up with Perfect)

To be connected with others in community and friendship brings happiness. To have this happiness, sometimes we need to be ready to ask for and receive help. I’m not ready for an expedition to the South Pole, but I’m ready for help and greater happiness!

If you’re like me and have a hard time asking for help, Breaking Up with Perfect might be just the book for your summer reading. Click here to see where it can be purchased, and then enjoy the free Online Book Study right here on the website!

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The Blessings of Believing

As I’ve written here, I’m working through the Bible this year studying all the times the word “believe” or “belief” is used and trying to understand God’s perspective on the word He gave me for 2017.

Today I got to the verse that’s been tied to my word for the year for 2 years.

“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!” (Luke 1:45)

Do you see how God did that? He’s so amazing! In 2016 my word was fulfill, but I wrote here about how much I struggled with that word. It was a hard year of wrestling with my word, so I thought I might need a do-over.

No, God clearly dropped “believe” into my heart for 2017, but when I went looking for a key verse, there it was. The same verse as last year. I got a new start and a do-over all in one. Woot!

Imagine how excited I was this morning to scroll down in my BibleGateway search to find that today’s verse is MY verse. I mean it’s Elizabeth’s and Mary’s too, but I know they’re sharing it with me. 🙂

I want to testify one more time at how vibrantly alive and active God’s Word is. When I dug into this verse for the hundredth time this morning, I got a whole new message.

We have to believe before God fulfills His promises to us.

I was struck again this morning with how hard that is for a reforming perfectionist. I wouldn’t ever say out loud that I think God needs help. I’m too church-girl for that! My actions, however, reveal what I really believe. I rush ahead into the fulfilling part, trying to make it all happen, when that’s God’s exclusive job. My job is simply in the believing. And patiently waiting.

Belief is confident resting.

That’s not to say belief is passive. It’s resting and watching just like the Israelites did in the dessert. They camped and rested until God moved, and then they followed Him until it was time to camp and rest again.

How does that perspective change things for us? It means that we don’t have to rush around trying to make things happen. We simply respond as Jesus leads. It means that we don’t worry. We trust God to move us into the fulfilling of His will in His perfect timing. It means that we don’t sink into despair when things aren’t going our way. Our hope is firmly in God Himself and not our circumstances.

Even as I write these things I know they’re my biggest challenges. Rest is hard for me and trust has been elusive, but these are the essential elements of belief. I’m seeking God for no less that full belief, complete confidence, and total rest.

Blessings follow belief, and these are the blessings I want for my worn out perfectionist heart and for the people around me to share.

Let’s all use this verse for ourselves. Go ahead, and put your name in it.

“Blessed is ___(your name)___who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!” (Luke 1:45)

What promises has God whispered into your heart?

How can you move into your believing job today and out of God’s fulfilling job?

O, my soul, believe! O, sister, believe! Let’s move into confident rest together.


Congratulations to the winners of the book giveaways!

Janet (4.6.17 8:32 am) is the winner of Unsinkable Faith by Tracie Miles.

Cynthia Bashaar (4.10.17 5:28 am) is the winner of Out of the Saltshaker by Rebecca Manley Pippert.

I’ve sent emails to both of you, so please reply to me with your mailing address. You’re going to love these books!

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Belief is Better… Than Fear

Belief is better… than what?

After studying the word “believe” for just three months this year, I can tell you with confidence that belief is better than fear, than wavering, than uncertainty, than doubt…

Those were just a few of the emotions I wrestled with until I was exhausted last year. How I wish I had followed Jesus’ words from mini-lesson #1 of 4 today. Well, it’s a new day, so I’m starting now! How about you?

Subscribers, click here to watch the video in Facebook, and I’d love for you to follow me while you’re there so that we can connect in person next time.

If you’d like to learn more about how I’m leveraging my word for 2016, click here to watch a short video I made for Kathi Lipp’s blog. I hope it’s something you can use to maximize your word for the year too!

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Beyond Wallowing

Happy Thursday, friends!

I’m so happy to be here with you today. I don’t know what it’s like for you outside, but the sun in shining in my heart when I think of all of us here– a gathering of girls who just want less perfectionism and more joy. That’s what I call freedom!

Freedom. What a beautiful word. It’s right up there with another word I love which is “celebrate”. Celebrate is one of those words that sounds like what it is– balloons, pink icing, and raucous-sounding party favors. Toward the end of last year, I had decided that “celebrate” would be my theme for my January blogs, but I got side-tracked.

I wanted to celebrate, but first I needed to heal.

Now I’m ready to celebrate, and I hope you are too! I’ve spent a lot of time talking about how tough 2016 was, but I want to move on. I’ve never been a wallower, and I don’t intend to start now. Jesus promised us abundant life, and I don’t want to settle for less,

Make sure to come back next week for a video I’ve been saving for months to share with you. I promise that when you watch it that you’ll fully enter into the mood to celebrate with me.

In the meantime, I want to give you a little assignment this week that I’ve been doing since the beginning of January that has lifted me out of any remaining funkiness and washed the wallow right off of me. Here are the steps:

  • Choose a word for 2017 or dust off the one that you started with.
  • Do a little scripture study of your word. You can type it right into to find all the verses that contain your word.
    • Your word isn’t in the Bible? That’s ok! Choose a synonym or word that expresses the meaning of your word and search for it. ie.  Your word is “sparkle”. Search “light”.
  • Answer these questions and take some notes on one verse a day:
    • What does it say? I just write out the verse word-for-word.
    • What does it mean? Write down the main idea that God is trying to get across.
    • What do I apply this? Write down an action step to make in your current circumstances based on the truth God showed you.

Next week, I’ll share the video and some insights God has been filling my heart with about my 2017 word.

Want extra inside scoop? Click here to watch this 4-minute video I made for Kathi Lipp’s blog!

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Jesus Helped Me Bounce Back

I’m a glass-half-full kind of girl.

My personality leans naturally toward sunny, and joy seems to be a gift God has woven into my DNA. I tend to be able to let things run off me, and I’m not offended easily.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not completely Polly Anna. Just like you, I’ve had pain and losses and disappointments, but I’ve always rebounded pretty easily.

Until 2016.  2016 kicked my booty.

In multiple areas of my life, I experienced some things that broke my heart, and instead of settling in to let God heal and reassemble, I wrestled. I cried. I sank into the hurt, and as I embraced the hurt instead of God’s healing, I fought a loosing battle with…




I didn’t stay in these dark places all day every day, but slowly over the course of the year, I was moving towards decline instead of growing towards incline. I covered it pretty well, though, so that most around me didn’t know the darkness I was experiencing.

Finally, in the weeks before Christmas, I confessed to Barry and a friend, “I feel like I’m walking along the edge of a cliff. I’m ok right this minute, but I feel like I could fall off into a major depression at any moment.”

Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever let your circumstances overwhelm you? I knew that’s what I had done.

I let my circumstances overwhelm me, and only I can let that happen. Still, I couldn’t figure out how to stop.

The day after I had confided the depths of my hurt to Barry, I sat in the chair where I meet Jesus every morning, and I asked Him, “How did I get here? And how do I get out?”

Gently, He reminded me of two blog posts that I had read in the previous weeks, one from a wise mentor and one from a young woman who is the daughter of a friend. Then He whispered into my heart with a voice as clear as yours across the phone lines, “Amy, you’ve let your identity slide back into what you do. Your identity isn’t in what you do. It’s to be in Christ.”

Oh. Yeah.

It’s so simple, isn’t it? Even baby Christians know this is the way it’s supposed to work, but I forgot somehow… even though I pecked out these words on my keyboard in 2014,

“When tasks rise to the top of my priorities, I stop seeing myself as the richly loved daughter of King Jesus and start feeling like the stepdaughter dressed in rags scrubbing the floor under her Father’s harsh, critical gaze. I start to see God as an unrecognizable taskmaster, and I begin to believe I’m only created to do His work…. Viewing God simply as a divine project manager skews our view of ourselves into dangerously prideful territory, where the work of our hands is exalted above the work of God’s Spirit. The path to the perfectionism pit is short when we trust our own methods and focus on our product.”  ~Breaking Up with Perfect

Even though it was hard to admit that I needed to learn an old lesson again, I thanked God for clearly showing me how to get back on the path to joy. I asked for His forgiveness in allowing my identity to be anyplace but in the safe and loving arms of Jesus, and I asked Him to change my heart.

That’s when a miracle happened.

I’m not one to bandy around lightly a weighty word like “miracle”, friends. I know I experienced a true miracle and the healing of my heart. Many times God heals over time, but this time, I got out of my chair almost physically lighter for having let go of the heft of my own responsibility and shifting into Christ’s rest.

And yet I worried… I was worried that it might be temporary. Or that the sadness might come back the next day. Or that I couldn’t live in this joy, but I’ve experienced a permanent change of heart.

Jesus helped me bounce back.

Are you struggling with the hurt of unexpected circumstances? The pain of being misunderstood? The despair of doubting your calling?

I have one step for you to take. Do a little heart check. Where is your identity resting? Is it tethered to the crumbly underpinnings of your own work? Your own efforts? Your own calling?

Or is it attached firmly to the sure foundation of Christ– a place of rest and safety and unfailing love?

Taking that one step, checking where my identity lay, and asking God to move it back where it belonged set me back on the right track. I believe it can help you too!

In picking apart how I got into the pit and how God helped me out, He also let me see the growth and good that has happened this year. Please hang with me next week to hear about a major victory that might be just what you need too!


Congratulations to Katharine (1.5.17 10:35 am), the winner of a copy of Overwhelmed!

If you read this, and your first reaction was, “Oh pooh! I really wanted to win that book!” can I make a suggestion? Go and buy it today anyway. There’s still an opportunity to get the companion planner for free when you buy it, so click on the title above and see all the details.

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