Do you feel like everything in your life has to be perfect for you to be loved and accepted?
According to the General Social Survey, which has tracked Americans’ moods since 1972, women are becoming less and less happy. While there are many variables, one big reason is our self-imposed drive to be perfect.
We feel the pressure to look perfect, to have the perfect home, and to balance everything in our lives perfectly.
And, in our pursuit of perfection, we tend to beat ourselves up when things aren’t going well in our relationships, we end up taking things more personally at work, and we swallow more pills to make us feel better.
So, what’s a girl to do?
Sister, it’s time to give up on being perfect!
Today’s 4:13 Podcast guest, Sheila Walsh knows what it’s like to pursue perfection. She spent decades believing that she had to be perfect for God to love her. But, after years of chasing perfection, she now pursues Christ, Who is perfect.
If you don’t already know Sheila, she’s a powerful communicator, Bible teacher, and best-selling author with more than 5 million books sold. She co-hosts the Life Today television show and lives in Dallas with her husband, Barry, their son, Christian, and their two little dogs, Tink and Maggie.
And, on this episode, Sheila shares how she learned to be okay with not being okay. Friend, this conversation is rich. If you’ve been basing your relationship with God on getting everything right, you are about to get free!
How to Be Okay With Not Being Okay
- Pursue Christ instead of pursuing perfection. When Sheila was five years old, her father—who had suffered a massive brain injury—tried to kill her before he took his own life. When she accepted Christ at age eleven, she remembers thinking, “If your earthly dad can hate you, then so can God.” So, Sheila determined to be the perfect Christian so that God would never stop loving her.
For years, she pursued perfection. But, after her life fell apart and she ended up in a psych ward under suicide watch, that all changed. God showed her it was okay not to be okay. Now she pursues Christ who is perfect rather than her own perfection.
Just like Sheila, you don’t have to be perfect for God to love you. The love of God is based on the finished work of Christ. When you let go of your need to be perfect, you receive far more satisfaction than your striving can offer … you receive the perfect love of God that has never given up on you.
- Remember the Shepherd always knows where to find you. While under suicide watch, Sheila says the hospital staff checked on her every fifteen minutes. All night long, she sat in the corner of the room with a blanket wrapped around her. She remembers feeling abandoned and like she’d literally gone to hell.
At about 3 a.m., the staff member who came to check on her did something different than those who’d checked on her earlier. Instead of staying at the door, he walked in and came right up to where she was—and, he handed her a stuffed lamb. As he left, he stopped at the door, turned, and said, “Sheila, the Shepherd knows where to find you.” During the month Sheila was at the hospital, she never saw this person again. She knew he had been an angelic visitor.
Sheila shares how beautiful it was to be told this at her worst moment. She had expected God to say, “I’m fed up with you. You’ve disappointed me. You’re a disaster.” But He didn’t. Sheila says she learned that when we are on our faces on the floor, God is close.
Whatever your situation may be, you may feel like God is fed up and disappointed with you too. Friend, He’s not. Just as Sheila discovered, “the Lord is close to the brokenhearted” (Psalm 34:18). Your Shepherd loves you and knows where to find you.
It really is okay not to be okay. You don’t have to have it all together. Today, you can shift from a performance mentality to a provision mentality and get freed up in the process. So, if you’ve been pursuing perfection to gain God’s approval, pursue God instead. As you do, you’ll know that you are accepted, loved, and treasured forever.
And, friend, remember, whatever you face, however you feel, you really can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.
Books and Bible Studies by Jennifer Rothschild
- Invisible: How You Feel Is Not Who You Are
- Invisible for Young Women: How You Feel Is Not Who You Are
- Hosea: Unfailing Love Changes Everything
More from Sheila Walsh
- It’s Okay Not to Be Okay: Moving Forward One Day at a Time
- Visit Sheila’s website
- Follow Sheila on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
*** You can hear from amazing women like Sheila at a Fresh Grounded Faith event near you! Find an FGF in your area here.
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What’s one way this week you will pursue God more deeply? Join the conversation in my JenniFriends Facebook group!