Perfection is an Evil Taskmaster

Does perfection impede your progress and alienate you from others?

I used to work in an office with Griselda* who knew everything about everything. She scrutinized every single phone conversation I had, every document I created and every chart I filed – for my own good and the good of the office, of course.

And she didn’t just “supervise” her co-workers. One day, a single mom with two little kids came into the office. While the mom was doing her business, the children got curious and noisy in the waiting area. From her desk, Griselda sternly chastised them into cowering submission, mortifying the mom and the rest of us onlookers.

The cost of perfectionism.

I’m all about doing your best, but when perfection is the taskmaster, and you can’t measure up, it sucks the want-to right out of you. Being told by someone else (or yourself) you need to be perfect wears you out and keeps you from experiencing new things and new people. 

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You Don’t Have To Live In Isolation!

 

What is a blonde’s favorite color?
Glitter.

Why do blondes always smile during thunderstorms?
They think someone is taking their picture.

Judge Free Zones

These jokes make us chuckle because we can all relate to blonde jokes. Everyone has moments of silliness. But in real life, NO ONE wants to look too “blonde”. No one wants to be judged as foolish … or ignorant … or stupid. We all want to be accepted and appreciated.

In days gone by, several generations lived on the same property if not in the same house. The advantage to having such close proximity to family members of many generations is you were allowed to learn from one another. How to:

  • Make a house a home.
  • Prepare and preserve food.
  • Raise responsible children.
  • Handle husbands with respect.

You know what else you get to see in such close quarters?
Problems!
Flaws!
Mistakes!
Which in turn gives you permission to be imperfect.

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The Enemy of Hope is Discouragement

The enemy of your soul has no shortage of ways to create havoc in your life.  Fear, calamity, doubt, shame, illness, lies … the list goes on. But his most powerful weapon is discouragement.

Last week I was passed over for a big speaking job that I really wanted. I thought I had a good shot at it. I was qualified and available. My fee range was well within their honorarium budget. It was easy driving distance to the venue. I had a great rapport with the event planner. But, I didn’t get the gig. Someone else will be speaking there next year.

Ugh. The disappointment.

For the rest of the day, I was down in the dumps. I couldn’t engage with other potential clients via phone or email. Who would hire me? was the recording playing in my head. I even had writer’s block. But then, who would read my stuff anyway? I thought to myself. I tried to cheer up, but the discouragement was overwhelming. Does that kind of discouragement ever fall on you? 

I’m confident that discouragement is our enemy’s favorite tactic to disable us.

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Is God Your King or Your Body Guard?

 

 

A couple weeks ago, I was speaking at a retreat and I told the story of when I was saved by Jesus. 

My boyfriend had taken me to a Christmas program when I received the good news that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who died to pay for my sins and rose from the dead after 3 days in the grave. That because he was raised from the dead, I could be, too.  

That was good news! So I took out a get out of hell insurance policy and got saved.

I was saved ……… but I wasn’t surrendered. I wanted a Savior, but I didn’t want a King. I wanted to rule my own life.

I proceeded to treat God as a body guard. God was to stay out of my way unless my life was in imminent peril, then he had my permission to toss around a lightening bolt or two to save my life.

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Does God Listen to Your Prayers if You’re Naughty?

As a national Christian speaker, I hear the secret questions that women ponder. One that keeps women up at night is,
Does God listen to my prayers if I’m naughty?

There are those who will tell you that God does not listen to the prayers of sinful people. I’d have to disagree. If being naughty disqualified you from having God’s ear, no one would have it.

  • Especially not a murderer like Moses or Paul.
  • Hotheads like Peter and Samson would certainly be disqualified.
  • Rebels like Jonah and Abraham would never get God’s attention.

Priscilla Shirer says, “Do you really think God loved you enough to die for you but doesn’t love you enough to talk to you?”

Now it’s true that if you have a huge sin in your life, it could be an obstacle to hearing from God.

But, that’s on you. God doesn’t distance himself from us. Our shame and guilt keeps us from approaching himI recently had a falling out with a girlfriend. I hurt her feelings and there was a rift between us. Consequently, I did not go out of my way to see her or call her or run into her. I even avoided going to places where I knew she’d be! The disharmony between us made me want to avoid her. It wasn’t until I acknowledged my mistakes, said I was sorry and asked her to forgive me did I want to spend time with her again.

The same is true when I hurt God. When I am being naughty, or haven’t dealt with my sin, I do not want see him, or hear him or be with him … until I admit my misstep, say I’m sorry, and ask him to forgive me. Only then will I want to spend time with him. Only then will I feel worthy to approach him. 

If God didn’t listen to the prayers of naughty people like me … and maybe like you, he wouldn’t hear anyone’s prayers.

But he does. The Bible says so. Jer 33: 3 says, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”  God is on the edge of his throne waiting to hear from you. 

The Lord loves to hear from naughty people like me and you… so he can tell us that we’re forgiven and we’re loved, and that he has wonderful plans for us.

What’s holding you back from talking to God today? Drop a comment below and tell me what your prayer is today. 

Prayer: Lord God, I am so thankful that you are always at the ready to hear from me, guide and direct me, forgive me and reset me. Thank you for a do-over every time I need one. Your love sets me free. Amen. 

Reframe Memories To Rewrite Your Story

Does this happen to you? You’re cruising through your day, or your desk, or your drawers and you tumble back in time? You hear a song, catch the scent of an old flame, or find a photo from the good old days and your past comes roaring into your present. You can let the past haunt your future or you can reframe the memory to rewrite the story. 

While purging items in my closet that didn’t fit my style anymore, (or to be perfectly honest, didn’t fit my mature, more generously padded frame) I stumbled across two of my dead husband’s favorite shirts.

It stopped me in my tracks.

For decades those shirts lay folded and waiting to be put in rotation again. Even more than a photograph or nostalgic song on the radio, the sight and feel of them took me right back to a time when we were young and bulletproof and all was well with us.

I kept them because they reminded me of my Hot & Hunky Hubz who died in his sleep of a heart attack at the age of 39. I kept them because I thought one of my boys, who were 7 and 4 at the time of his passing, might grow into them and I would see them repurposed, resurrected.  I kept them because I thought I would see a version of Hot & Hunky again.

I held onto them because a part of me couldn’t let go of that time when all was well.

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Approach With Caution!

Do you ever suffer a serious case of stubborn self-sufficiency? How about arrogance? Judgmentalism? Smug conceit? Ugly qualities, but I have to admit, I ran them all today. 

It all started when I lost my car keys. Also, my new barrettes (still in the package), two socks (not a pair), and my ultimately my temper. It wasn’t a world class Rumpelstiltskin snit; it was a slow-burning internal sizzle. 

Do you do that?  Pretend it’s all good, but fume inside?

I was snippy because I don’t lose things. I just don’t. I’m organized. I’m tidy. I put things away. It’s fair to say I’m even a little arrogant about my superior system for organized tidiness. There is a place for everything and everything should be in its place! But today I cannot find my things. 

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Are Burning Coals Falling On Your Head?

Do you have anyone in your life that’s a handful? You know, really irritating? Downright difficult?  Be careful how you treat them or burning coals may be falling on your head!

One of the most challenging people I have ever had to accommodate was Hot & Hunky’s dad. He was ex-military and an ex-cop. He bragged about riding motorcycles year-round in the ‘60s. “Heck, yeah, (except he didn’t say heck) it was cold. We’d wrap our legs with newspaper as insulation under our uniforms. The department wasn’t full of wimps, women and weaklings like it is now.” 

After a series of crashes and altercations disabled him, he retired from the police department. Without a satisfying job and with little to do at home, he took solace in food and television, gaining a ton of weight, further handicapping his movements which made him cranky. 

He had some redeeming qualities. He was funny and charming when he wanted to be. He was kind to children and generous with his time and talent. He loved his family furiously, but he was a difficult patient for his sweet wife. We all waited for the day when he would pass, and relief would come to my mother-in-law.  

Then, POOF! She died. Just like that, it fell to us to take over his care. Hot & Hunky handled his finances and insurance, I took on the role of activity director and chauffeur. 

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God Redeems Life’s Wreckage

When life reels out of control and the wreckage is overwhelming, where do you turn? 

September 10th is a big day at my house. It’s the day my husband Craig’s plane was discovered after being missing for weeks. Our hope and prayer was that both Craig and the plane would be recovered safely and intact, but that wasn’t what we found.

A pilot error, a thunderstorm, and a dark mountain created a trifecta of disaster. After an exhaustive search by the FAA, State Police, Coast Guard, Civil Air Patrol and NASA, Craig was finally discovered inside the crumpled aircraft wreckage where he’d obviously been killed on impact.

What do you do with that kind of news? Where do you turn for answers? 

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Do You Trust God With The Impossible?

How good are you at trusting God with what’s on your heart and mind but out of your control?

Do you trust God with the impossible or do you fuss and squawk until there’s nothing you can do to make a difference and then slump into despair and worry? 

My son, Eli, graduates from bootcamp this week. It seems like only yesterday that he was toddling around the house in diapers. The years float by leaving a residue of precious memories to mark high state occasions. The first step. Every first day of school. Passing his drivers test. Watching him play football. High School graduation. His first job as a firefighter.

Each marker took Eli further and further beyond my ability to protect him. Joining the Air Force Reserves marked the final transition of my role from guardian to worrier, I mean warrior … of prayer.

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