I can’t believe this is the last week of the blog series, Freedom is Found in the Heart of Surrender. I have so much more I need to surrender. You too?
This week I’m excited to welcome Proverbs 31 writer, speaker and author of Breaking Up With Perfect, the adorable (I always say that because she is) Amy Carroll. Amy has been my speaker coach and friend for several years.
I’ve never wanted to admit that I was a perfectionist but when I realized I cringed at every little mistake I made while telling myself it’s unacceptable, I came to the conclusion…I am indeed trying to be perfect.
Perfectionism can manifest itself in diverse ways. Today, Amy shares one of her struggles, desiring the perfect life.
Surrendering the Perfect Life
How my heart ached as I walked through my much-loved, empty house. Now, instead of being filled with the laughter of little boys, the whispers of love between my husband and me, and the barking of my rambunctious dog, the rooms echoed with only my footsteps.
The moving trucks had already left, taking the bits and pieces of my life with them, but I remained… alone. And I grieved.
I loved that house, not just for its antique beauty, but for the hopes and dreams that had thrived there. This was the house I thought I’d watch my boys leave when they headed to college. This was the house I where I dreamed I’d play with my grandchildren. I planned to grow gray there, so I poured my heart and soul into making it a home.
My husband and I painted the walls a soft, buttery yellow that spoke peace to my soul. We spent hours in the yard planting perennials that I planned to watch bloom year after year. One weekend, we built a swing-set that we hope would witness the laughter of generations.
That house was the physical representation of my dreams of the perfect life.
But God had different plans. My husband Barry got a new job in a different city, and I found myself moving away from a home, from friends, and from a church family. Suddenly, my perfect plan for a perfect life seemed marred. Things looked distinctly imperfect to me.
For a season, a seed of resentment sprouted in my heart. Barry seemed to be getting his perfect life—a better job with lots of excitement attached—while I was giving up my vision of perfection.
“What about me?!” my broken heart cried.
It’s been almost fourteen years since that move when I felt like so much of my perfect life was stripped away. How I wish I could go back and talk to my younger self! How I wish I could whisper the lessons that I’ve learned through that loss. “Trust God,” I’d say. “He’s got a much more perfect life for you than the one you’ve worked so hard to create for yourself.”
Thankfully, God did what He knew it would take to create surrender in me. He gently took away something that I had held too close, my beloved house, so that He could give me something better. Psalm 18:32 is a verse that reminds me to cling to God and hold the rest loosely. It reads, “It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.” (NKJV)
Are you wrestling today?
Maybe you’re wondering if God has forgotten you in your circumstances because they sure aren’t perfect. Maybe your perfect life has been shattered by loss or rejection or pain. Maybe you’re hopeless or unsure if God sees you.
I understand. I’d like to take your hand, look deep into your eyes, and assure you. God sees you. He knows your dreams for the perfect life. But He has a plan that is greater than anything we can dream up or pursue ourselves.
Only when we end our pursuit of perfection can God begin His perfecting work in us.
Freedom from perfectionism starts with surrender. We have to trade our perfection for God’s—the One who creates what’s truly perfect. I walked out of my home that day without knowing what was ahead into a new life where He took over what I surrendered. God is faithful, so we can trust Him to shape the life that’s perfect for us while He perfects us in the process.
Amy Carroll is a speaker and writer with Proverbs 31 Ministries and the author of Breaking Up with Perfect. Amy and her husband live in lovely Holly Springs, NC where you can find her on any given day texting her two sons at college, typing at her computer, reading a book, or trying to figure out one more alternative to cooking dinner. Share life with Amy at www.amycarroll.org, and find out more about her speaker coaching services at www.nextstepcoachingservices.com
Last weeks winner of the book, The Mountain Between Us was Mindy Bray. Congratulations Mindy!
Amy is giving away a copy of her book Breaking Up with Perfect here this week. Please leave a comment to enter. If you’re living in warp-speed, simply say “I’m breaking up with perfect!” in the comments.
Looking forward, pressing on and seeking God in every bump and twist in the road.