On Friday, the ladies over at (in)courage discussed chapter three in Angie’s book, What Women Fear. I’m a little late getting my thoughts posted, mostly due to some of the changes happening with my blog. (Hope you all love the new look as much as I do!) This chapter is titled “Chasing His Hem” and deals with the fear of being found out.
At first I thought that this would be a chapter that I couldn’t really relate to. I don’t exactly have a lot of big secrets that I’m afraid will be found out. Then something that Angie wrote stopped me cold:
“Another fear that many of us have is that we will let people down and not meet their expectations of us…. So many of us feel burdened by our perceptions of the expectations of others. We often live our lives trying to avoid letting people down.” –Angie Smith
From the time I was a kid, I was always trying to make people happy with me. I wanted them to like me. I based my value on what other people thought of me. That’s an awfully slippery slope. That’s not to say that I buy into the lie that I should live my life for my own gratification. Those of us who follow Christ know the fallacy of that kind of thinking. But neither am I supposed to live my life to suit the whims of other people. There is only One whom I must strive to please by the way my life is lived.
I was reading another book over the weekend, Passionate Houswives Desperate for God by Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald. The chapter I read about freedom from perfectionism seemed to have similar threads in it.
“Instead of worrying what others think about us, we need to care about what God thinks of us, measuring ourselves by the unchanging standard of God’s Word rather than comparing ourselves to others. Instead of looking to modern-day ‘experts’ for answers, we need to return to the ‘old paths’ of Scripture, where there is ‘rest for our souls’ (Jeremiah 6:16).” –Jennie Chancey
That’s one thing that I appreciate about both of the books I mentioned. The fact that the ladies who wrote them are looking to the Scriptures for answers and direction!
We find ourselves trying so hard to give the appearance of living up to the standards we imagine that others have for us that we completely forget to look to God for guidance. We expend so much of our energy to polish the veneer that the world sees, that we don’t look at what really needs the work… our hearts. And truthfully, that’s something that we can’t fix.
I love what I read on one woman’s blog, “Anything good you see in me is because of Jesus.” We can’t live up to other’s expectations. In fact, any good in our lives is because of the work that Someone else is doing in us. And finally realizing that we can lay down that burden of perfectionism is a tremendous relief!
“Thus saith the Lord, Stand in the ways and behold, and ask for the old way, which is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls…” Jeremiah 6:16