Quizzes, tips and personal examples punctuate a new book by Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory. The topic? Letting go of unrealistic expectations and perfectionistic attitudes.
Think you don’t have those? Think again, and delve into the deeper issues of the heart where anger can simmer and bitterness stews. The authors remind us that such a deadly combination can be difficult to swallow.
So, what’s the cure? The Cure for the “Perfect” Life breaks down complicated issues of Perfectionism, People-Pleasing, Performancism and Procrastination into manageable tasks. I found out my personal bully belief system and how it expresses itself in crisis mode. I learned about my underlying motives and how they sneak into unrelated situations. I also found epiphany moments of Try Harder Living and the obstacles it presents “to leave the life that’s been expected… and to start living the brave, not so neatly tied up life that God is calling (me) to.” (p. 7)
Perhaps that thought was jarring to you as well? Aren’t Christians supposed to live “perfect” lives? The authors strive to prove Christians aren’t perfect, nor are we expected to be so, by the One who made us. In fact, the less we strive to be perfect, the more we shine as imperfect tools in God’s hand. (“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-11) And I have felt the impact of that truth in my own life, when the Lord has brought people alongside to help in my crisis points.
Imperfection strengthens authenticity. (Click to tweet: https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=Imperfection strengthens authenticity.@SallyJFerguson http://sallyswords.braveblog.com/entry/141213)
One of the many things I like about this book is the fact that it doesn’t just point out faulty belief systems, it goes into detail with positive action steps and illustrations of what braver living looks like. What is brave living? Taking the first step to change self-defeating behaviors and learning to validate the strides you make toward healthier attitudes. I appreciate the multiple examples because they flesh out responses I might not have recognized in myself.
The authors tell us, “Love is at the heart of Braver Living.” (p. 49)
If love is invited in, it dispels fear, and freedom from the bondage of fear enables us to fully experience God’s heart of love. (“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12: 29-31)
We are also reminded, “Loving myself also means obeying God. Obedience starts with lots of listening… The more we learn to hear God’s voice and take him to heart, the better we will understand what he’s leading us to do.” (p. 52)
Isn’t that one of the things we yearn most for? To know God’s will?
Do yourself a favor and get this book. Here’s a free chapter to get started: http://www.thecurefortheperfectlife.com/downloads/chapter1.pdf May it launch you on your own road to recovery from a limited belief system that prevents you from being the best you God created. “God is telling us not only to stop ignoring our talents, but to stop postponing our talents. Stop waiting until you’re fearless – you never will be – but do as much as you can with what you have. That’s brave living.” (p. 101)
Disclosure of Material: I received this book free from the publisher for The Cure for the “Perfect” Life Blog Tour. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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