Tag Archives: perfectionism

No Thanks, I’ll Do It Myself

Perhaps you enjoy entertaining and having guests into yourhome for dinner. When asked if they can assist by bringing a side dish or dessert, you reply, “No thanks, I’ve got it.” Or, you’re the type of woman, who in your bullheadedness, thinks, “I can manage this giant suitcase on my own,” only to realize you’ve just thrown your back out—again. Or, you find yourself sinking under the weight of a habit, but you don’t want any help, don’t want anyone to know, and so you attempt to tackle it on your own. Pride once more rears its ugly head.

Taking matters into our own hands is like attempting to fold a fitted sheet.

These everyday examples, many from my life, are just a snapshot of what may be going on spiritually. Scripture is clear about pride and the necessity of working alongside others. Proverbs 11:2 (NLT) gets right to the gist of it stating, “Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Ouch.

Sometimes suffering from what I refer to as the “martyr complex,” we often think no one will carry it out as well as we can. Or in the same manner we would. Consequently, we proceed in our own strength. Pride is an issue affecting each one of us and goes all the way back to the fall of Satan and the temptation of Eve.

Ezekiel 28:17 describes the downfall of Satan, once a guardian angel on the holy mount of God (see verse 14 of Ezekiel 28), due to his pride in his beauty and wisdom. “Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.” Similarly, Eve’s conceit expelled her and Adam from the Garden of Eden for believing Satan, who was in the form of a serpent, that by eating the fruit from the tree she would gain wisdom and be like God.

In our pride, not only are we not recognizing and yielding to God, but also we’re not accepting help from our friends and loved ones. We’re relying only on ourselves, on our self-sufficiency.

Ephesians 4:16 (NIV) clarifies God’s design: “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

I have the privilege of co-leading a women’s Bible study, and since we have a large number in attendance, I marvel at how we execute the logistics. This study incorporates women with varied talents, each using her unique gifting, and assisting in assorted roles. United as one to serve the Lord in teaching and proclaiming His Word, our Bible study illustrates God’s teamwork approach.

No woman can do it by herself, as God’s intent is a unified body. Will you join me in taking that helping hand, and extending one, in turn, to others? We’re not created to go it alone.

Father God, I stand convicted of my prideful ways. I mean well, but I realize I need to humble my attitude and submit to your plan. Please help me to step back from myself and accept help when needed. Thank you for creating me as a purposeful part of your body of believers.

Bible Truths:

Psalm 121: 1-2 (NIV): “I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12 (NIV): “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, [her] friend can help [her] up. But pity the [woman] who falls and has no one to help [her] up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Romans 12:3b (NIV): “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment ….”

Romans 12:4-5 (NIV): “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”

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Filed under Archived Devotions, Posts, Spring 2017

Just When I Thought I Had It All Together

Seated in church with my husband on one side and a dear friend on the other, I was feeling composed and put together. My mind wandered to why the front of my black, sleeveless turtleneck sweater was bunching up in a funny way.mannequin-312526_640 Next, I found myself scratching the collar around my throat. Then, digging around a bit with my fingers, it occurred to me as I grasped the garment tag, “Oh good grief, I’ve got my sweater on backward!” Well, let me tell you, any feelings of smugness contained within flew right out the window, as my husband rolled his eyes and my friend smothered a giggle.

As I leave my home in the morning, there is a certain confidence which comes from feeling nicely dressed and accessorized, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking too highly of oneself. The apostle Peter, encouraging the early church in connection with themes of Christian living, reminds us in 1 Peter 3:3-4 (NIV), “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.” Difficult words for today’s woman. Only through Jesus Christ am I properly clothed, as He covers my sin. Only He makes me whole, as my own efforts will always fall short.

His Holy Spirit fills me so I may find completeness and fullness in Him. I lack for nothing. Paul writes in Ephesians 3:19 (NIV), “and to know this love [Christ’s] that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

Thankfully, God discerns my heart and knows me; He reads my innermost thoughts. To those around me, I desire to exhibit a submitted spirit rather than a poised shell of nothingness attired in finery.

Only Christ is perfect. Humble yourself, so we don’t become vain or full of self-importance. Above all, though, I’ve learned to keep a sense of humor as God does find unique ways to remind us of our lack and His sufficiency. I need to lay bare my weaknesses because perfection is a myth.

Shortly after the conclusion of our church service, I raced to the restroom to put my sweater on the proper way, thankful for God seeing me how I really am.

Father God, You behold me and know me—all my strengths and all my weaknesses. I’m grateful that through the sacrifice of Jesus I am more than adequate and have no need to present myself in a prideful or vain way. You clothe me in your finery and you are my entirety. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible Truths:

Proverbs 31:25 (NIV): “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.”

Psalm 18:32 (NIV): “It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.”

Colossians 2:10 (NIV): “and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.”

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Filed under Archived Devotions, Spring 2016