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Accepting Your Imperfect Life

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
June 14, 2022 6:00 am

Accepting Your Imperfect Life

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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June 14, 2022 6:00 am

Amy Carroll shares how her perfectionism led to her being discontent in her marriage for over a decade, how she learned to find value in who Christ is, not in what she does, and practical ways everyone can accept the messiness of marriage and of life.

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I became a believer in 10 that I didn't break up a perfect until I was in my 40s I lived in this trap of feeling like I had to earn God's love and acceptance.

My husband's love and acceptance. My kids love and acceptance. My friends love and evidence for decades. Maybe you can relate with that feeling of always having to work to earn approval. That's Amy, Carol, and you'll hear more from her today on Focus on the Family about finding rest in the fact that your life doesn't have to be perfect. Your hostess focus president Dr. Jim Daly and on job John relationships are complicated. I can be very complex, but the most complicated relationship are the ones you have. Maybe with ourselves. That way we think about that you have thoughts and ideas and conversations in your head one sided views try to convince the other side to do the right thing right things happen. We all want to be the best parent the best spouse, the best friend that we can be, especially in the Christian context, and sometimes we struggle with that because of our flesh and our sin nature rises up today we want to remind you that you are enough that's it's hard to embrace that.

But you are enough and that you are unconditionally accepted and loved by God and today were going to hear from the author, Amy Carroll, who has described this in a wonderful book called breaking up with perfect and I'm looking forward to John and I am too, was thrilled to have any with us. She's also speaker with Proverbs 31 ministries and a podcast host and is married to Barry they have two grown sons, we can tell you more about Amy and her book when you call 800 232-645-9800 the letter a in word family or check it out online. The link is in the episode notes maybe welcome to Focus on the Family, thank you so much. I'm delighted that I love your energy this book, breaking up with perfect let's start with this question you make an analogy between bad boyfriends and perfect values." Perfect boyfriends share what your meeting.

By that, did you find Mr. perfect and your husband yes and he said I got called breaking up with perfect that were deftly throwing yourself God to give me the perfect man for me first two are bad colonists probably have that bad girlfriend or bad boyfriend in our past and when we think about that person. Usually we started with this heat attraction say he looks okay and we just were so excited about trying to connect with him instead. For girls especially. I think a lot of times will try to morph into whoever we think he wants us to be. We dress the way we think he wants us to drastically talk the way we think he wants us to talk at least show up wherever he is in batter lashes a little bit allegedly teenage girls I that we working working work to try to get a boyfriend and then we get him and he is not at all what we thought he would be because he's the bad boyfriend. He's the one that makes this deal less than he makes us feel like we never measure up, and it's hard to get out of that relationship once our self-esteem starts to be affected and perfection is the same way when your title. I want to make sure people are grabbing what you're trying to express breaking up with perfect. I think what you're talking about is this glamorous view perfect either externally or with ourselves, which is what I was mentioning in the opening their having that breakup with yourself in that conversation with yourself what you mean by breaking up with perfect just give me the definition great question because I think our culture has gone Swan to some really opposite extremes set on one hand we have special media coming at us and in the things on her screen that said perfect beauty, perfect all the perfection coming out as all day every day and there's been this slaying in our culture, where people are talking about embracing your imperfections. Think Scripture reflects something different because it does say Jesus that be perfect as I am perfect and perfect as our father is perfect. So what is that mean well. The root word. They are actually means whole mature or complete love that is calling us to be perfect. He's calling us to be whole mature and complete what I'm talking about breaking up with perfect is this whole idea of perfection that we've developed and are a man like he said send this relationship with ourselves and our own thoughts of what we think is supposed to be perfect when you say your relationship with perfect lead to being discontent in your marriage for over a decade now someone or sale is nothing.

I got three back at this and you know, I think, again, this goes right to the bull's-eye of what you're expressing in the book why do we feel we have to be perfect, and why particular for women when it comes to their marriage and what their expectations are about their marriage. Why are they expecting more than what can be delivered to give us your example of your marriage. There are two things in women's lives.

That really this perfectionism.

One is our marriage and the other one is parenting and those were the two places where it just explode in my life and I walked down the aisle with the train loaded down with expectation colonies think the pictures are perfect and I had an idea of the way everything should work the way everything should look and one of them revolved around making our bed seems really silly right that my parents have an amazing marriage and one of the things that I loved about my parents marriage is that they always went to bed together, and then they always got together when their feet hit the floor. They immediately stood across the bed from each other and made the bed together 10 days somehow in my mind that translated to what a perfect mirror held on the music in the background when my mom read this in my box to cite our youth never made it right probably right really internalized that will be denied out.

I'm a morning person. We really go to bed at the same time we never get up at the same time I made the bed by myself for over 15 years. This was just one of those low level discontent places in my heart and in my mind now. If you have asked me do you have a happy marriage. I would've said yes but until I started recognizing what expectations that I had on dairy in our marriage and letting go of that was there was always this low level discontent and when I started letting expectations go, the happiness quotient in our marriage just multiplied. It was amazing when you get to Barry's understanding of your expectations on behalf of husband worldwide. Did you ever actually say this is what I expected. We get up in the morning make her bed together, the ever coming. You gotta tell us now is sitting out so what is the first time user, but there were not yet how can it be, were we falling those couples. Husbands were not always on the ball, picking up the cues so what advice do you have to the married woman that is expecting things from her husband that she is never actually expressed frustration that he doesn't know exactly when I started recognizing my own expectations. One day, because I realize how many I have brought into our marriage and how it was affecting our marriage negatively so as they say. What did you expect when we got married and seriously had the most puzzled expression.

Maybe one maybe two on that you would love me forever seriously ill and realizing when I reflected back that Erie's greatest gift to me over the years is that he has just let me be that he has had no expectations that he has supported me and encouraged me when I realized that it became my life's goal as a wife to give that gift back but it has changed everything for me to give you an example. Last year my husband was on a really hard place at work and it was a hard time for him in for the very first time I realized I'm feeling compassion for my husband and married for a long time and really makes me tear up to even say that for the very first time I had this great compassion for him. So I started asking myself how can I haven't felt compassion for him before I realized it was because I was always critiquing him before. Well, I'm the worst to myself that man can help everybody around me be perfectly always viewed it before. It's so damaging to our relation so appreciate that vulnerability. One of the things that we can observe in our relationships, especially in the marriage relationship is you get comfortable with your spouse and with your kids and you treat them like you would treat yourself and it's always interesting to me that often in marriages, you'll make the observation that you treat your friends a lot better than your treating me. Why is that and I think you're hitting on it because one treating you the way I treat myself is not healthy. He's very aware I'm much harder on myself than I am on anyone else. Right you start you will start to transfer will that drives me to the next area that I wanted to get to in your book, breaking up with perfect is this idea of perfectionism and I love the topic because again I think so many people and I think particularly wives. Women are struck with this this enabling of perfection describe perfection a little more concisely for you and how it is manifest in your life will start their well first of all, say many women who have read my book or heard me speak, who have said I never considered myself a perfectionist, but I will say to your listeners.

If you listen you today and you walk around feeling like you don't measure up. You are a perfectionist that seems pretty broad yes. Well, a lot of people say well I'm not a perfectionist because I don't have to have the perfect house or I'm not a perfectionist because I'm a little bit fluffy. Maybe you're like me and a little fluffy and say you think I'll have the perfect body like you know what's on the magazine covers are things that usually my friend… Is that there are pocket perfectionism and said we have this place that is important for us that we had unrealistic expectations, so doesn't necessarily mean that your perfectionist in every area of your life the way it has manifested for me is in my relationships. A friend of mine asked me what's the worst thing that perfectionism has done to you and I said immediately, without even having to think it has damaged my relationships. I went through a five year period were for a close friendships imploded. Now, whenever that happens there's always two in the relationship with perfect friends started thinking about all this hurt and the damage behind me I realized that I was the common denominator that was a really powerful and painful realization.

And that's when God started showing me my perfectionism and how is damaging our relationships will if you look in the mirror and don't see perfection.

If you do. Either way, we have a great resource for you. It's called breaking up with perfect.

It's written by our guest, Amy, Carol, she's on Focus on the Family today get the book and an audio copy of our conversation when you call 800 K word family 800-232-6459 or you'll find those and other helpful resources.

When you check the episode notes for all the links you describe to current belief systems with perfectionism and that that's where I want you to drive this next answer is your explanation about good girl syndrome and never good enough girl syndrome because I think that hits to the heart of many many women absolutely rate of perfectionism actually begins someplace good which sounds strange, but I believe that because were made in the image of God that he has created us with two big realizations.

First of all that he is perfect and he's perfect and the most beautiful ways. He's perfect love and perfect grace in perfect mercy and and all that is rolled into a ball that the Bible calls holiness and he is perfect. He is holy and then the second realization is we are not really important realizations to half to lead us to a place that we understand that we need a Savior. But the problem is is that most of us go a little wonky at that point and what we did is we start to make lists about how we can be perfect. So the girls that what those with the good girl list.

That's the list of all the things that I have to do to measure up to earn God's love and earn his accent. What are examples on the oh I mean I've had all kinds of things it will for you Christian girls out there that I have to do my quiet time at a certain time every single day for God to accept me and love me like a trap disc. I want to spend time with us every day. Absolutely. Is he cannot love me less because I don't read my Bible at 7 o'clock every single morning, so he's not so you can even get information you did not. I became a believer at 10 that I didn't break up with perfect until I was in my 40s I lived in this trap of feeling like I had to earn God's love and acceptance.

My husband's love and acceptance.

My kids love and acceptance. My friends love and acceptance for decades. I want to ask you, you know, because it might heart goes out to the person who struggling with that, the woman who struggling with that in when I hear that can be rather intimidating and how I get there. I mean I measure myself by getting up and doing my devotion seven I go exactly 30 minutes because I know God will be pleased with 30 minutes just point this out in my head lately, but how do I believe that God is still tender toward me. If I do 10 minutes or if I'm sloppy and I do it 705. This sounds a little bit real organic man, I've got three and five-year-olds and I can't get to it today yes how you move from that feeling of guilt to the feeling of God still loves me no matter what and be comfortable with. I think we have to let this idea of earning anything that we have to rest in God's love years ago. As this process started for me. I sat down with a friend of mine named Ray and she said, and I know her long. At that point but had asked her if we could sit down at his God had something to say to me through her. I didn't know what it lies and point I was hiding all of this really really well and so she listens to me for a little bit and she gave Amy what I want to know is when list of yours doesn't turn out the way you thought what happened here faith immediately started crying out Monday I was part of Proverbs 31 speaker team. I was riding devotions I was teaching Sunday school I was doing all the stuff and I cannot feel God's love for me at all and it was because all the stuff was part of my good girl list and so on.

She said I want you to pray that God would break through that shell around her heart and that you would experience God's love for you is I came back to her several weeks later and I said Frank I'm listening to songs about God's love reading books about God's love and reading scriptures about God's love. I'm working so hard and I still can't feel God's love is here yourself. You said you're working feel God says you can't work to feel God's love. You have to rest in God's love. That's the good girl syndrome you mentioned also the never good enough girl was not a because when I read the book. I thought that you were either one or the other but my childhood best friend JC was part of this whole process of writing the book launch and all that. Seven and she said to me Amy. I swing between the two, and I realized I did to you.

So the never good enough list is the list of all the things that we've done that we feel like we cannot earn God's will. They guiltless the shameless, and sometimes what I've learned from talking to other women is we don't even earn that list that is handed to us that the very people who are supposed to love and nurture us are the people who tell us will never be good enough.

Sometimes it's culture. The hands it to us that culture. Who says you don't have the right address or the right skin color or the right paycheck and so that never good enough list can be generated a lot of different ways, but it both of the list the good girl list in the never good enough list. They both separate us from God because what we need is a Savior that's so true. You have also funny stories in the book about wanting to be the normal Christian family. I love that title normal for what went wrong. I have been blessed to have said many mentors in my life. I was really thrilled one day when one of the college girls in our church came up to me and said Amy, can I come over and spend time at your house. I need to see the normal Christian family that is welcomed by John Dean is the normal Christian family, but you can come and hang out. Well that it was still in my days of my worst perfectionism. So I went into Christian Cleaver mode. You know I wanted to present Kristin Levin to this young girl it was seeking me out and said I am really challenged in the kitchen so I did my best and I was making grilled cheese and some chips and a deal. Do your best with groups that show is not an area go write me about the perfect one that I dial out everything and say I had gotten was getting lunch together and had my Bible and he had been praying about what to share with her. Well, my three-year-old was not on board with this whole plan and said he was just as we say in the South cutting rug paving and said, and he was not going to stop until I gave him my full attention. So I told her please excuse me for a minute and we went upstairs to. I gave him my full attention exactly the perfect spelling. The right is a whole different parenting time that I came down the stairs with my crying child my head up and all of a sudden I realized there was smoke swirled.

I was on fire rest. I get the kids and turn off the burner and high student. I felt that humiliated my child was misbehaving my lunch.

My meager lives was ruined and everything in me wanted to hand her five dollars and never come back to my house and let it limit yeah God was doing a work in me even then really hard that still small voice to my ear week you love her enough and will you love me enough to open up your life works in all and the amazing thing about that is that in that moment I've made lots wrong decisions, but in that moment I made the right decision and I said okay. So much for the perfect Christian woman like let's just go from here. And years later, when my friend who is her campus ministry person asked this girl what you want your life to look like she said I want my life look like Amy Carol's. And you know at that really makes me teary every time I tell it, because she saw my life works in all so she didn't see perfection. She saw a woman who loves Jesus who loves her family and that's what she wanted tape so well said. It's exactly what we want to project in the healthy way. This is normal. Normal is messy. Yes, what's not normal is what it's all perfect. Yes you should have a little bit of suspicion when you're saying that something is not quite right.

I love that Amy and you let me say you went on from that day to create a list of 50 ways to leave your perfect yet I think is something we should post on the website just agreed because I think it's your attempt great attempt to say here the 50 ways that I was imperfect and still yes absolutely.

People will look on your website because it's really very list some of the things are really serious, some Scripture to memorize that will hopefully help.

Also, there are some fun and silly things like where mismatched socks had a picnic on your living room floor on their best when you Twinkie for lunch well for a fluffy girl that's like fun things in there.

I think the very first one go through an entire day without any form of a list winged wing and how many women just what are you serious, but the thing is, it's a good thing to do. This is been so helpful. I can see it. I feel it breaking up with perfect we all have different prisms of what perfect looks like you've done a wonderful job getting people back down to the ground. What is our relationship with God.

What should it look like what is healthy. What's unhealthy and you knocked it out of the park girl and I want you to have a copy of this over a gift of any amount if you can afford it. Get a hold of us will get it in your hands. Anyway we can get this book and if you give a gift will send it along as our way of saying thank you Amy's wonderful book, breaking up with perfect so that it can be a tool for you to enjoy life that is free of this bondage of perfection and just contact us and we'll get it in your hands. Yet our number is 800 K in the word family 800-232-6459 or you can donate and get the book. When you click the link in the episode notes Amy before we go on mindful of that woman whose past is really the burden she's caring that baggage. How do you move or how do you suggest she move from this bondage of imperfection to a better view of perfection will unit one day I was sitting in my quiet time chair talking to the Lord and kind of enumerating all the ways that I feel like I'm a mess and God in that moment I felt like whispered in my appearance that I'm sorry that you are not happy with the way that I made you that I am delighted with you and yes you can imagine that just brought me to tears and socially your list stars. I want to see you to hear this and let let it soak in today that God is delighted with you. There is there is blanket on the back of my couch. That's one of the favorite things in my house because my grandmother made it, and Psalm 139 says eat for you created my inmost being you knit me together and my mother's blame and that blanket was knitted by my grandmother when I think about the hours that she spent ever that she's gone now, so it's a piece of her that I have left Jesus did the same thing for each one of us he knit us together on purpose and he delights in us just the way he made us he loves us perfectly curl all through the book breaking up with perfect. Thank you for your perfection. Thank you for letting me will we hope you'll stop by our website and get a copy of Amy's book and please when you do make a donation if you can.

We got lots of great resources to help strengthen your family stop by the episode notes for all the details or give us a call 800 K word for. By the way, if you have vacation plans in or through Colorado this summer invite you to come by and visit us here in Colorado Springs. There is so much to see and learn here.

Focus on the Family's main campus and your kids will love her adventures in Odyssey coming up tomorrow Dr. Gary Chapman explores the different seasons of marriage. We took the book came out that we were in spring marriage my wife. We were in the winter, which is your winter winter Jim Daly in the entire team. Thanks for joining us today for focus on the fifth on John Fuller going back for help your family thrive in Christ.

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