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.

[Tweet “I had a huge problem that required change. My perfectionism was damaging my relationships.”]

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.

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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.



How do I get the free Participant’s Guide?

Send a copy/picture of your receipt or of you with your book/ebook to [email protected] 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.

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Leave a comment here | 15 Comments

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  1. DM says

    Amy, Very good, what we need right now. Is there video available with
    the audio. Easier to follow when seeing who is speaking. Thx DM

    • Amy Carroll says

      Were you in the Facebook group? There is video with the audio available, but I’m not techie enough to help much. 🙁 A couple suggestions from the group have been 1. Leaving the page and coming back to allow it to load. 2. Downloading an up-to-date flash player on your computer. If all else fails, ask a teenager to help you. 🙂

  2. Leslie says

    Amy, Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful study and your book! I have been working hard for the past few years to overcome my perfectionism. It is one long journey, but letting go is FREEDOM! Thank you again so much!

    • Amy Carroll says

      I’m thrilled that you’re liking the book and study, Leslie! Thank you for taking the time to be an encourager.

  3. Dawn Frankhouser says

    I am so excited to begin this journey and pray for God to grant me courage and strength to step out of the enemy’s fear trap and break the chains so I may grow into who God intended me to be. At 31 I’ve already wasted over a decade and nearly all of my adulthood trying to conform to society’s standards and co promises my own values and morals to blend in and wear a mask of deceit. Drugs and alcohol consumed much of that time and I’m so grateful to tell you all today I am proud to have been desired from that and am clean and sober. I’m also a survivor of domestic violence as well as live with my own depression and anxiety from mental I’ll Es and have joined stand against stigma a local organization to break the stigma assigned to those who struggle with mental illness as well as advocate for those who don’t have a voice. That alone is testament to Gods power to transform my live and He makes me brave, I am already enjoying my reading time and. Ant wait to practice some self care

    • Amy Carroll says

      I’m so inspired by your story of healing, Dawn, and I’m so glad you’re on the journey with this little community toward more freedom!

  4. Shelli Salinas says

    Though I don’t believe I am much of a perfectionist, I do recognize that my greatest problem with perfection is wanting and believing things need to or should be a certain way. I, also, recognize that when things don’t go the way I think they should, I tend to build up bitterness and resentment, until it all comes flooding out, verbally. It’s at this point that there’s potential for relationships to be negatively affected. I need freedom from this kind of perfectionism. I long to go more with the flow of things because I can only control myself. I can’t control other people and their chosen behaviors. I don’t like the burden that weighs on my shoulders as I ponder what I think should be done, over and over, until I burst. It’s detrimental to me and those around me. I just want to feel God’s peace in EVERYTHING. That’s the freedom I want and pray for.

  5. Tara says

    I have been reading this book for the past several months–slowly but surely! I actually just finished it, but am now looking forward to refreshing my memory on the amazing stuff I have learned throughout the book. I can already see God at work transforming me, yet I still have a long way to go! Looking forward to doing this with others!

    • Amy Carroll says

      Sweet. I totally agree with you that breaking up with perfect is a PROCESS. Good thing I didn’t name the book Broken Up with Perfect, or I would have made myself a liar!

  6. Angeline says

    Thank you for this study, I need it! I broke up with Facebook 4 years ago. Any tips on staying involved without starting up,that relationship again?

    • Amy Carroll says

      Sure! I’ll have posts here on Monday and Thursday, so you can just interact here by reading the posts and replying to comments.There’s also lots of extra content in the book for you to do as you have time. I pray the study is a blessing to you!

  7. Christianne McCall says

    So ready for this! I’ve ruined and hurt relationships too and hope to learn how to move forward loving myself as I am!