Search Results For "belief"

Does God Really Care?

Alyson Kieda —  February 3, 2014 — 3 Comments

 

Nature’s Tranquility/flickr/Creative Commons/judecat (ready to ring in the New Year)

I believe in God the Father and in His Son Jesus Christ my Lord. I hold to the promises of the Bible, and nothing can sway me from those beliefs. But I admit that sometimes I’ve doubted God’s love and His motives.

I’ve wondered why some of my prayers seemed to fall on deaf ears, particularly a certain heart-wrenching prayer I’ve been praying continually and persistently, in varying degrees of intensity, for decades. If it’s true that “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16), why won’t He answer this earnest prayer?!

Over the years, I’ve gone through a confusing jumble of thoughts regarding this: Maybe God doesn’t really answer prayer; perhaps I’m not praying hard enough; maybe something needs to change or I need to learn or do something before God will answer; maybe this is a trial God wants to use to purify and refine me. Is this my “thorn in the flesh”? Perhaps God’s answer is “no!” In the beginning, I even wondered if God really is a God of love who cares for His children.

I’ve learned a lot about God through the decades, and He has purified and continues to purify and refine me. And I’ve seen God answer many of my prayers—sometimes miraculously. I’ve grown to trust and rely on Him more for everything I need; and He has become the first love of my life. I know that He deeply loves and cares for me, yet I continue to struggle with the same prayer request . . .

But now my doubt is not as frequent or as despairing. I have the assurance that God will answer my prayer. I’ve learned that I will never fully understand His ways. (All of us this side of heaven see dimly—1 Corinthians 13:12.) And I’m learning to “be still, and know that [He is] God” (Psalm 46:10).

I’m fretting and squirming less and trusting more as I rest in His loving arms—and wait.

So maybe you’re like me and have had your share of struggling with doubts. Maybe you’re there now. Join us for our webinar on February 5, 2014, at 1:00 p.m. with Dr. Michael Wittmer on the topic of Doubt: A Friend or Foe of Faith? I think you’ll find help in understanding and embracing our journey of faith through doubt to trust. Click the title of the webinar above to register for the free webinar.

 

The Rules of Grief

Jeff Olson —  October 28, 2013 — Leave a comment

Winding Road, by Ruben I, Creative Commons/flickrOver the past couple of years, as I’ve struggled to figure out what a world without a mom and a dad looks like, I’ve learned and relearned a few things about grieving that a griever and someone who is trying to care for someone in their grief may find helpful.

I’ve learned that the first rule of grieving is that there are no rules. Grieving is neither neat nor orderly. There is no clearly defined path or timetable to follow. Different aspects of grief (the painful separation, disbelief, anger, guilt, hopelessness, etc.) fade in and out of our hearts with no discernible pattern. And there is no way of knowing how many times we will experience any particular aspect or so-called “stage” of grief.

I’m learning that just because we feel or wrestle with something once doesn’t mean we will never do so again. Most people experience several recurring feelings and questions as they grieve, sometimes as if it were for the first time.

Since watching both of my parents draw their last breaths, I’ve been reminded again that it’s okay to grieve. As King Solomon observed, there is a time for everything, including a time to weep” and “a time to mourn” (Ecclesiastes 3:4).

No matter what aspect of grief wells up inside of us, I’m learning that it is important to give ourselves permission to feel and express it. It’s important to let the feelings and thoughts come—raw and unfiltered—and to put words to them. William Shakespeare rightly noted, “Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak . . . bids it [the heart] break.”

As crazy as it makes me feel sometimes, I’m learning that I need to mourn. According to Jesus, comfort awaits the griever (Matthew 5:4). I’m learning that leaning into the pain of loss opens me up to lean on God and others for comfort.

Lastly, I’m learning that Paul was right when he wrote that Christians grieve with hope. It is the hope of seeing our loved ones again when Jesus returns that helps to make unbearable loss more bearable (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17).

To learn more about helping folks in the throes of grief, tune into our upcoming Webinar, Shepherding Others Through Loss, on November 6, 2013, at 2 p.m. EST.

 

 

Reactions vs. Responses

Tim Jackson —  March 20, 2013 — 2 Comments

Do you ever struggle with how or why you handle situations in relationships the way that you do? I know I do. I often find myself reacting with a level of intensity to a particular situation in the office or at home in ways that, frankly, I find disturbing. It makes me back up and question what’s really going on inside of me. And that’s not all bad.

We need to pay attention to what’s going on inside of us because it helps us better understand why we do what we do. The sorting process is messy to say the least. It’s often convoluted and not nearly as definitive as I’d like. But isn’t that how most of life is—messier than we ever expected it to be?

So at the risk of sounding reductionistic or overly simplistic (I hope that’s not the case), here’s what I’ve observed in myself and in others that has been helpful. I look at how I tend to handle things with these two categories in mind: reactions vs. responses.

Reactions are more often than not my emotional reflex to a particular situation. My reactions can range anywhere from wildly excited and exuberant celebrations over good events to clenched-teeth, tight-lipped anger when things don’t go my way—and everything in between.

Reactions don’t feel like choices. They’re just there, such as when I flinch or reflexively tense up when I think I’m going to get hit. If something comes flying at my face, my reaction is to blink. I don’t think about it. I just do it. It’s a natural (and sometimes learned) self-protective reaction to a perceived threat.

Reaction is often used in the field of chemistry to describe what happens when certain chemical compounds are mixed together in specific proportions. The result is a chemical reaction. And while our emotions do stir chemicals within us, our reactions are not merely reduced to chemical responses within the body. The soul—the immaterial part that mysteriously makes us us—is involved in how we react to situations we face.

Responses, on the other hand, are more conviction- or belief-driven ways we handle relationships. It’s not that they are devoid of emotions, but that they are not driven solely by feelings. More reasoning takes place so that it’s a measured and thoughtful response to either positive or negative circumstances.

First response teams are a good example of responding vs. reacting. Response teams undergo training so that they are equipped to efficiently handle stressful emergency situations when needed. First responders follow predetermined protocol and strategies to maximize effectiveness under difficult situations where others tend to freeze up because of the emotions they feel.

Now don’t get me wrong. First responders do have emotions. They feel a lot, but they are driven by their training and protocols. They’ve been trained to set aside their emotions until after the threatening situation has been stabilized.

The apostle Paul reminds us that what we think about ahead of time—things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable—will shape how we handle relationships: “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Phil. 4:8-9, emphasis added).

So when it comes to relationships and evaluating how you’ll respond when challenging situations arise (and you know they will), ask yourself these questions: “Am I responding or am I reacting? Are my emotions driving my reaction to a particular individual or event I perceive as threatening, or are my beliefs driving my response?”

We’ll never be able to discern whether we’re reacting or responding to situations unless we start paying attention to what’s going on inside us. So that’s my challenge to you. Are you in? Let me know what you discover about yourself and what you found helpful.

Seeing & Still Loving

Tim Jackson —  November 20, 2012 — 5 Comments

Recently, while revisiting and revising some material on grief and loss that I wrote over 20 years ago, I ran across this amazing quote from C. S. Lewis that deeply encouraged me and thought I’d share it so that maybe it will do the same for you:

“He sees because He loves, and therefore loves although He sees” (A Grief Observed, p.84)

What do those words stir inside of you as you read them?

Fear? Disbelief? Hope? Or maybe some feeling altogether different.

For me, all three emotions were provoked.

Fear. Being “seen” can often be an unnerving experience because it’s so revealing. Think about it: When was the last time you were seen, I mean really seen for being who you really are? For most of us, that exposure comes at the worst possible time–after we’ve messed up and got caught. How did that go? Totally exposed? Feeling naked with no where to hide?

Just ask the woman entrapped in adultery and thrown in front of Jesus to be judged (John 8:3-11). She expected condemnation, knowing that even death was a real possibility at the hands of her accusers. She knew what she’d been doing was wrong. Nevertheless, being seen and exposed to all (in an open public courtyard) had to leave her feeling ashamed, vulnerable and terrified of what was coming next.

Disbelief. Could it be true? Really? Could I be totally exposed, my flaws revealed and still be loved? My friend, Larry Crabb once shared that for the vast majority of us it was a rare thing to experience “being seen at our worst in the presence of love.” But that’s what grace is all about.

Total exposure usually brings only shame, ridicule, disdain and judgment. But what Jesus offered this vulnerable woman (and us) was radically unexpected: The eyes of truth and a heart of gracious love. He turned the tables on her accusers who weren’t concerned about her at all and then refused to condemn her, even though he clearly saw her sins. Instead, He invited her to leave her sinful lifestyle and step up into a new kind of life that only He could offer.

Hope. Being exposed and not wiped out because of our sin is the scandalous gift of love that God offers to everyone of us without exception, no matter where we’ve been or what we’ve done. That’s what Jesus offered this woman entrapped by accusers and enslaved by her sin. He looked, He saw, and He fully loved her (John 8:11).

And that’s what Jesus offers to each of us–The Hope of being completely seen–warts and all–and  being deeply embraced with the lavish love of God (1 John 3:1). That’s the transformational love of God that is beyond even our wildest dreams.

And the best part about it . . . it’s really true! And it has the power to change us, starting on the inside and working it’s way out.

So, what was it like the last time you were really seen? How did it end? Has there been a time in your life when you’ve tasted the lavishness of God’s loving embrace after you were seen in a not-so-flattering light? Your stories are encouraging to others who fear being seen and loved.

Thanks for sharing.

Demandingness (Part 1)

Tim Jackson —  January 25, 2012 — 3 Comments

Are you a demanding? Do you have any demanding people in your life? Underlying the struggles in most relationships is a vein of demandingness that erodes the potential for love and justifies all the hurtful things we do to each other.

All of us, if we’re honest, struggle with being demanding at times–and probably more times than we care to admit. Of course it’s not all the time. But we sure are some of the time.

When?

Well, it’s when we revert to the 2-year-old-temper-tantrum mode that sounds something like this: “I want what I want when I want it and you had better do all you can to comply with my demands or else!” The Apostle James accurately describes it in James 4:1-3.

Okay, who among us hasn’t witnessed a young parent held hostage in the isle of a grocery store or better yet, a toy store, where their darling child has just backed them against the ropes with a not so subtle demand for a certain sugary treat or toy? You know what I mean? Transport that image a few decades later and you’ll better understand what lies beneath much of the turmoil in adult relationships.

Bottom line, what is at the heart of this little child’s (and your and my) demandingness? It’s a total absorption with self to the exclusion of any concern for what others may desire or need. Mommy doesn’t matter to the child in the isle. It’s the cookie or toy that matters most at that moment. Yes, it’s immature. It’s me-focused and it’s where we all start.

Distill adult demandingness (some call it entitlement) down to it’s core and you discover this same foolish belief: “I deserve and must find a way to make my life work on my terms apart from the God I neither trust, believe in or depend on to take care of me.” Do you hear all the first person pronouns in that statement? It’s all about “me!” It’s the core narcissism woven into the fallen fabric of our DNA at birth that inevitably it leads to self-destruction and the destruction of all meaningful relationships.

So, are you demanding? Do you see it? Take a closer look. Listen. What you discover might surprise and disturb you. But don’t let that stop you. Becoming aware is the first step in making a meaningful change in your life.

 

 

Sexual Abuse Scandal

Tim Jackson —  November 16, 2011 — Leave a comment

It has been hard to miss the top news story of the past 14 days on US media outlets–the child sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the campus of Penn State University, engulfing a prestigious football program, it’s coaches, and administration. The University has come under fire for how the current coaches and staff handled the alleged sexual abuse of young boys by a former PSU coach.

As a boy, I grew up an hour away from State College, Pennsylvania. I’ve rooted for Penn State football for the last 50 years. It’s hard to describe the thoughts and feelings that have been pulsating through me for the past two weeks.

Disbelief. Disgust. Grief. Outrage. Shock. To name a few.

But primarily? Heartache.

As a counselor who has spent hundreds of hours helping many men and women work through their past of childhood sexual abuse–dealing with the trauma, the pain, the shame, the secrets, and the long-term devastation of abuse–to rebuild productive lives, I am angry.

Angry that anyone–no matter what their status is within any organization–from janitors to presidents–would allow any form of suspected child abusive behavior to go on without it being quickly exposed to the proper authorities and decisively addressed, so that first and foremost the children are protected and those responsible are held accountable.

But, in spite of how I feel, I must reserve judgment for those who know all the evidence in the case. I simply don’t know what really happened. What I do know is the allegations I hear reported in the media and the published grand jury report. And, make no mistake about it, the allegations are bad.

But, there is a process that cannot be hijacked in the media’s court of public opinion. I can quickly jump to conclusions about what has happened and what should or shouldn’t be done to those involved without knowing the full details of the case. That’s what trials are for.

My concern is that in the media feeding frenzy for the most salacious story out there, that what gets whipped up in the watching audience is a lynch mob mentality that is dangerous.

It’s clear what is needed: protection for children and justice for those who abuse them.

I know my own weakness and my snap judgement without ample evidence can quickly cross the invisible ethical line between seeking justice and justifying revenge. God reminds me that none of us are qualified for the task of vengeance–not by a long shot. That’s His realm exclusively. Mortals need not apply.

Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. (Rom. 12:19, 20)

James 1:19, 20 also provides a well heeded warning:

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

But lest we think that God takes abuse lightly, consider Jesus’ own words in Luke 17:1, 2 regarding those who would dare to harm a child:

“Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.”

The allegations and charges of child abuse are serious. The coverup is evidence that something is seriously broken and needs to be fixed. The power and money that the big business of college sports wields is a challenging force that must be harnessed lest it run wild and unbridled. Hopefully, this scandal will bring that conversation to the forefront as well.

And finally, I’ve heard more public appeals and witnessed more examples of public prayer for all the victims involved in this situation than I’ve seen since 9/11. That is telling. In times of pain and desperation when we need wisdom to know how to respond to a tragic situation that is unimaginable in it’s scope and destruction, we naturally turn to the only true source of comfort, strength, and wisdom.

Let’s pray together that we will all strive  . . . “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8). If we do, then something good will begin to take root and grow out of a horribly destructive and dark situation.

 

The Symphony

Allison Stevens —  October 26, 2011 — 5 Comments

I went to the symphony last night to hear Mendelssohn’s violin concerto in E minor.  Stunning music. And the violin soloist’s (Augustin Hadelich) playing was flawless. As usual, beautiful music takes my mind in a million different places.

Apparently, Mendelssohn doubted his ability to pull this piece off. He wrote it for his friend Ferdinand David and at one point told him, “If I have a few propitious days, I’ll bring you something. But the task is not an easy one. You ask that it should be brilliant, but how can anyone like me do this?”

My mind wandered to a friend of mine who is struggling very much in her relationships. She was deeply wounded by her family, namely her mother and father, and her injuries are so severe that she doubts God is enough to heal her. She doesn’t say that she doubts God, but her beliefs and actions indicate that she does. She’s so wounded that she doesn’t even think she needs healing. Now she is latching on to something other than her faith in God to find life.

She’s exhilarated because for years she lived in a prison, she says. But now she feels “free” because she believes she’s found the answer to her problems. She believes she found the way out.

The only problem with her solution is that she’s trading one prison for another. What she’s going for contradicts something that God is clear about. God’s Word tells us one thing and she is doing the opposite.

How does a person who is so hurt and who believes that a new path will change everything for the better (a path that will lead to destruction), be convinced that she can do what God wants her to do?  I’m sure that she must feel, deep in her soul, like Mendelssohn, “…how can anyone like me do this?”

Well, we can’t on our own.  This is where the Holy Spirit comes in. He will show us the way; He carries us through the moments we feel like we can’t go one more step.

My heart aches for my friend because I understand the pain she has. No, I didn’t go through it personally, but I know what it feels like to think “The task is not an easy one. How can someone like me do this?”

So as her friend, what do I do?

I wait patiently. I love her. I pray for her. Encourage her. This path will end and she will need a friend at the end of it.  I hope I can be that friend to her.

The moral of this story is:  go to the symphony. The music will help you think about important things. Even brilliant musicians like Mendelssohn doubted his abilities.

Restoration plans

Tim Jackson —  October 18, 2011 — 1 Comment

I recently spent some time with a pastor friend who is heavily invested in restoring broken lives in a rural community in Southeastern Kansas. After all, isn’t that what pastors do? That’s what Karl does. He, and many other pastors like him, pour themselves into a community in an Isaiah-like role (Isa. 61:1-2) that mirrors the Jesus that they love and follow (Luke 4:18-19). Why? “Because the spirit of the Lord has anointed them to preach the good news to the poor” and “to bind up (i.e. restore) the brokenhearted . . .”

“Preach the Word; Love the People,” is Karl’s motto. I like that. He lives that.

But Karl has also recently taken on a unique kind of restoration project that is a real metaphor for what he does with people.

Do you know what it is?

Take a guess.

Any ideas?

Come on, you’ve got to have some ideas.

Take a shot.

The year?

The make?

The model?

Give up?

That’s okay. I didn’t know what it was either until I finally asked “What year is that?” Well, if you guessed that it’s a ’54 Chevy truck, you’d be right on.

But open the hood and you’re in for a surprise, because there’s nothing inside. I mean nothing. No engine. No transmission. Nothing.

Open the cab doors and you find the same thing. Nothing. No gauges. No gas pedal. No brake either. Just 4 wheels, a frame, and a body. She’s just the hollowed out shell of her former glory that’s been stripped out for parts. (Oh, and don’t ask me why cars and trucks always are referred to in the feminine gender. That’s a discussion for another day.)

But I digress . . .

There’s a few observations that my friend shared with me about what he affectionately referred to as his “Kansas yard art.” First, he’s had a lot of interest from folks he’s never had the opportunity to talk to because of it. Quite often a new conversation starts out along the lines of, “Hey, ain’t you the guy with the old blue Chevy in the yard? What are you going to do with it?”

His response: “Restore her.” But not just back to OEM specs (For you non-gearheads, that’s Original-Equipment-Manufacterer specifications). Oh, no, he’s got plans to install a snappy rebuilt powerplant  with some spunk, pair it up with a transmission and rear end that will throw a little gravel–if you know what I mean. Nothing fancy is planned for the exterior, but a little screamin’ machine hidden underneath an understated exterior.

Second, his goal is not merely to have fun restoring a vintage truck that had long since been forgotten, overlooked, and given up on by many–although I know he’ll have fun doing it. Rather, it’s the conversations that are instigated over “that old blue truck” that leads towards a renewed vision for a restored hope in God as the Ultimate Restorationist. He takes broken down, discarded, overlooked, and forgotten lives and sets about the process of restoring them not to their original specifications, but to rebuild their hearts and lives better than they ever dreamed possible.

Karl sees the potential in an old truck, just like he sees the potential in peoples’ lives. And that’s a reflection of his belief in a God who sees our potential for restoration better than we can see ourselves.

God has restoration plans for each of us. Sometimes, amidst the rust, dents, and broken parts of our lives we can miss His vision for us. But He is not discouraged. Nor is He deterred. Listen to His heart for restoration . . .

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you  and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. You will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

I want to submit to God’s restoration plans in my life. And, like Karl, I want to help others find that new hope and future in God’s vision for restoration in others too.

And . . . I hope to get back to Kansas next year . . . and maybe get a ride in that old truck that everyone’s talking about. Because restoration is a beautiful thing. People know it when they see it . . . or in this case, when it rumbles past them sounding real sweet.

 

Ok, I admit it. I’m a child of the 50′s and 60′s who grew up with TV. I like to watch some favorite shows then, and now. And contrary to the popular belief of some, it’s not all bad.

Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a wholesale endorsement of everything that comes down the media pipeline into our homes. Much of it is a major waste of time. However, sometimes they get it right. And when they do, it leaves a mark.

A current favorite of mine is the NBC series, Parenthood. My interests are both personal and professional.

Personally, I’m a parent of 3 adult children, a son and two daughters. And while my role has shifted from hands on parenting to being a trusted adviser . . . when asked . . . I’m still involved in parenting.

Professionally, I work with a lot of parents who face challenging situations. Helping them navigate through those challenges with grace and courage is what I do. I’m constantly scanning  media– TV, films, books, or music–looking for viable teaching metaphors that can aid in my work.

I’ve also witnessed the the fallout of infidelity up close and personal with the couples and families who have come to my office. A recent episode that really grabbed me was Qualities & Difficulties (03/01/11 air date).

The episode chronicles the story of a younger brother, Crosby, who cheated on his fiancee, Jasmine, with his nephew’s tutor. Yea, I know . . . dumb, and typical for Hollywood. “I know where this is going” . . . I thought.

But here’s the twist.

Instead of championing the typical mantras that “sex is no big deal, it’s just sex,” “sex is just between two people,” and “what two people do sexually is no one’s business except them,” and all the other “there’s no consequences for unfaithfulness” doctrine,  this episode exposes the catastrophic fallout of infidelity throughout an extended family–the couple themselves, the children, the siblings and their spouses, the grandparents, the nephews, the nieces, the tutor, the fiance. Everyone is touched by it. And it’s not good.

What was so vividly portrayed was how devastating infidelity really is!

The final scene is at Joel and Julia’s house. Julia is Crosby’s sister. They’ve had struggles in their young marriage. And as Joel walks down the steps and nervously sits down next to Julia on the couch, you can almost feel what’s coming. What I expected was a confession of his own betrayal of infidelity. Instead, he takes her hand, and begins with, “I need to tell you something.” “Okay,” Julia tentatively responses. He continues, “I will never cheat on you.” “you know. . .  we’ve been through so much. And we’re going to go through so much more . . . you know . . . good and bad, we’re going to go through everything . . . and I will never . . . I will never cheat on you.”

Their embrace is priceless! And the expression on Julia’s face says it all: I’m safe and secure because I’m married to a one-woman man who has got my heart. Joel’s affirmation of faithfulness is all the more exquisite when displayed against the backdrop of  Crosby’s unfaithfulness. After 8 years of marriage, this couple knows better than the day they got married what real love means and what real love requires. Passionate Faithfulness.

Faithfulness is the most costly and exquisite gift that one person can give to another that continually reaffirms, “I Love You no matter what.” And for those who are Jesus followers, it’s the model of love that Jesus himself demonstrates and invites us to follow his lead (Rev. 19:11).

So men, how bout it? It’s time to be honest. Are you more like Crosby or Joel?

If you’ve broken your woman’s heart through unfaithfulness like Crosby, it’s time to man-up and start the agonizing work of rebuilding broken trust. It will take time . . . a long, long time. Counseling, accountability, and vulnerability are vital to rebuilding trust and becoming a better man who is faithful and true.

Are you more like Joel? Then it’s time for you to passionately reaffirm your faithfulness to your bride. Do it today. Make it a practice to find little ways to demonstrate to her that you’re “a one-woman man” (1 Tim. 3:2). Because that’s what a real man who loves God and loves his woman does.

And I’m pretty sure her response will be something like Julia’s.

For more help, check out When A Spouse Is Unfaithful , When The Flame Flickers, and this video insight on how to rebuild a relationship after an affair from Larry Crabb.

Perfectionism

Allison Stevens —  February 21, 2011 — 2 Comments

It can feel like a curse to be a perfectionist!  I know, because I’ve struggled in my life with it.  It can be debilitating because we are so preoccupied with being perfect and right that we miss out on other important and healthy things in life.

If you struggle with perfectionism, too, it’s important to realize that you, nor anyone else can be perfect. Everyday, tell yourself that you are not perfect and it’s OK.

Also, it can be very helpful to understand where your perfectionism comes from. My guess is that you had a parent that had very high standards for you. And if you didn’t meet those standards, there were negative consequences, like punishment, or cold silence, or expressed disapproval. As children, we so desperately want our parent’s approval and if we don’t get it, we can become consumed with achieving it.

If this is true of you, learning to let go of the perceived need for your parent’s (or anyone’s) approval is necessary. As a child, you needed their approval, but now as an adult, you don’t. You can survive and thrive without it. And this applies to any relationship you’re in.  You, as a mature person, will not die without the approval of others.

I wonder if decision making is difficult for you. Often, perfectionists have a difficult time making choices because they wonder if they’ll make the “wrong” decision, even if it’s as innocuous as the color of a bedspread. If this is true for you, I recommend that you begin by making small decisions that really aren’t that significant, and then living with your decision. Just live through the anxiety that it may produce. Give yourself the freedom to like your decision or not like it, to make a mistake or not.

There are irrational beliefs behind perfectionism that keep it going. For example, “I will be rejected if I don’t do everything right the first time, with no flaws, weaknesses or inconsistencies.” Oh, just writing that makes me feel exhausted with guilt, depression and low self-esteem!  I wonder if you battle those things, too.

You are not super human, just human.  You have flaws and imperfections, as I do, but the good and wonderful news is that you are 100% accepted and loved by your heavenly father.  And I hope you feel that love and acceptance from people in your life. If you don’t, please reconsider your relationships. Think about making friends with good folks who will love you in spite of your flaws. That’s real love.