You’re Loved No Matter What

Again, I know it is May 1st but I would like to share my April book recommendation. It is written by Holley Gerth, “You’re Loved No Matter What: Freeing your Heart from the Need to be Perfect.”

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Do you struggle with perfectionism! If I am complete honest, I do! It was a huge struggle for me as a new mom with little ones.  I desired to be a perfect mom and have perfect kids that listened to me the first time and always had good manners and never embarrassed me in public. Well, it did not take long for me to become quickly disappointed in both myself and my kids with these unrealistic expectations. Can anyone else relate to this?  If so, than this book is a must read for you because Holley shares with us this “scandalous truth: we can be loved, accepted, happy and less stressed without being perfect.”

In her book, she graciously reminds us that God does not expect perfection from us and we should not either. She says, “It’s time to lay down those unrealistic expectations that exhaust you. It’s time to embrace who you are- even the messy parts. It’s time to start living fully instead of just trying not to fail. Let’s stop trying to be perfect, friend. Instead, let’s be who God made us to be. Let’s dare to live with Joy. Let’s embrace the freedom that is already ours through Jesus.” I love this- where do I sign up?

This book is full of great truth; I would like to share with you one thing I found to be very helpful! In her book, she talks about pursuing excellence not perfection. She defines excellences as “doing what you can, with what you have, where you are, as you are.” For example, if you have a house full of sick kids, a homecooked meal may look like chicken soup from a can and that would be an “excellent” meal based on your circumstances. Other times, your “excellent” meal may be an extravagant homecooked meal for company because you have more time and energy. She points out that you have to factor in your circumstances in what you are capable to do and not feel guilty when you have to make adjustments. Many of you have newborn babies and you are sleep deprived, give yourselves lots of grace! Your definition of excellence will look different than someone with older kids. Perhaps you are having health issues or have a loved one who does- again, give yourself lots of grace! Maybe you are caring for an elderly parent or recently have become a single mom, again, no guilt, lots of grace!!!   I love Holley’s definition of excellence because it allows me flexibility based on life circumstances.

Speaking of guilt, in the book, Holley writes a letter to guilt- it is too long for me to share the whole thing but I highly recommend reading the entire thing because it is so powerful (it is on pages 46-47). Here is how she ends the letter to guilt…

“So, Guilt, this is good-bye. You may try to visit but I’m letting you know the welcome mat is officially gone. And when you come, you’ll find your room is occupied by someone else who is much more loving, kind, committed to my growth than you have ever been. Actually, I think I’ll introduce you now- Guilt meet Grace!

I love this!! Grace is so important!   I think us perfections struggle with giving ourselves grace- I know I have for years and still do. I think this has to do with embracing our whole self- even the messy parts! For some reason, this is so hard for us to do. I want to tell you that even though it is hard, it is so important! I truly believe our messy, broken parts can become our greatest ministry if you let God use it!

I want to end with sharing this story with you! It is one of my favorites!

“There’s an old story about two pots. One was perfect in every way. The other had cracks and broken places. Each day a woman filled the pots with rainwater she collected and then carried them down the path to her home. The first pot felt proud that she never leaked a single drop. The other felt ashamed, because no matter how hard she tried, she spilled a lot along the way. One day the two pots overheard the woman talking with someone who lived nearby. The neighbor exclaimed, “The flowers along your path are so beautiful. “What’s your secret?” The woman answered,” One of my pots is broken, and the water that spills out helps the flowers grow every day.”

Holley says this in her book, “We think that we have to take what’s broken and make it perfect in order to be used by God and bless others. But God thinks in a completely different way. He took what was perfect, his Son, and made him broken in order to bring us healing. So if you’re sitting there wondering if God can use you because your life is not as it should be, and your heart is aching- know that your greatest hurt will probably be your greatest ministry.”

Wow- such powerful truth! Ladies, I truly believe this to be true! I believe God never wastes our hurts, our brokenness, instead He wants to use our pain to help others. Who better to help a person who is struggling with infertility than a person who has struggled with infertility. Who better to help a friend who has lost a parent than someone who has lost a parent. Who better to help a person going through a divorce, then someone who has gone through a divorce. The question is will you share your story and let God use it!   I hope we can be like the second pot in the story.

Love, Jodi

Dear God,                                                                                                                                                       Help us embrace even the messy parts of our lives!  Help us see that we are all imperfect and broken! God, I love that you see a purpose in our brokenness! I pray you can use our brokenness and imperfections to help bless others! Also, please help all of us that struggle with perfectionism. I pray we will trade guilt for grace and strive for excellence instead of being perfect! We lift all of this up to you! In Jesus Name, Amen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Own Your Life

Even though it is April 1st, I would like to share with you my book recommendation for March: “Own Your Life” by Sally Clarkson.   The tag line is “Living with deep intention, bold faith and generous love.”

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This is a great book that I highly recommend!! In this book, Sally encourages us to own our lives. She defines it by saying, “Owning my life means taking responsibility for my own behavior, decisions, and attitudes so I may become all God created me to be and leave a legacy that points others to Him.” Wow- this is a powerful statement!   I am responsible for me, my choices, my attitudes as well as my reactions to others. It reminds me of my favorite saying, “My Response is My Responsibility.” Recently, I made a wall hanging of this quote in my house as a reminder.   As a parent, I probably repeat it to myself and my kids multiple times a day.

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Why is this so important to me? Well, if I am completely honest, the majority of my life, I have not lived like this. Instead of owning my life, my responses, my attitude, I would blame others when things did not go as expected or planned.  I would say whatever I was thinking and sometimes those words were not helpful and did not build anyone up. The good news is that I become self-aware of this problem and thankfully, God has helped me grow in this struggle.

So how does this all relate to Sally’s book? She is encouraging you to own a specific area of your life in each chapter of her book.

Here are some a few of the chapter titles:

Owning your Priorities and Commitments

Owning your True Identity

Owning your Life Vision

Owning God’s Training

Owning your Faith

Owning your Response to Others

Owning your Integrity

Owning your Emotional Health

Owning your Motherhood

Owning the Influence Your Life Can Make ….. again, these are just some of the chapters.

I loved all the chapters but today, I am going to focus on Owning your True Identity! She says, “Owning your life must begin with a healthy view of yourself that is based on what God thinks of you.” So, what does God think of you? Well let me share with you one of my favorite quotes from a book I just finished by Holley Gerth called “You’re Already Amazing: Embracing Who You are, Becoming All God Created You to Be.” Another great book I highly recommend.

Holley says, “You’re a daughter of God, a holy princess, a woman created with strengths you’ve yet to fully grasp and a story that’s still being written by the divine Author himself. And if you really take hold of who you are and what you’re called to do, there will be on stopping you. That’s because there’s no stopping Him in you- and He’s got bigger plans for your life than you’ve ever imagined.”

Wow- I love this quote because this is truly our identity in Christ! As a woman, we need to own this true identity!!! We are daughters of God with so much potential!!! However, many times, we do not own this identity but instead try to get our identity from others and their approval of us. Ladies, this is a huge trap that only leads to feeling disappointed and inadequate.   Trust me, I have been there.   I honestly believe that this is one of Satan’s main tactics for shutting down women for God’s purpose in their lives. He knows that we care what others think and he knows we want the approval of others. So how do we combat this?

I love what Sally says about it in her book. “I do not have the power to make everyone like me or approve of my values, looks, actions, or performance. But I am responsible for how I react to others’ criticism of me. If I allow their words to destroy my self-image, then I am allowing them to control me. As I have grown in my walk with God, I’ve thankfully realized that allowing others to control the way I think about myself is a dark, endless hole. I am committed to gradually growing and learning in every area of my life, but essentially I have accepted that I will always be the same person under it all. I must daily decide to enjoy the person God made me to be.”

There is such freedom in her words!! Ladies, God has made all of us special and unique! “We are fearfully and wonderfully made” Psalms 139:14. Don’t let others tell you that you different. Own your true identity in Jesus! Don’t let Satan get in your head and make you doubt who you are in Christ! You are amazing! God designed each of us with unique gifts and personalities! He wants you to live out your purpose that He designed you for and He wants us to build other women up! I encourage you to send a friend a sweet text, email, letter, phone call today reminding her how special she is and how much you appreciate her! All of us struggle with this at some level and I hope together we can own our true identity in Christ!

I want to end with one more thought. At the end of each chapter, Sally has a section called “Own Your Part.” This has become my new favorite saying; whenever I am in a situation, I think what is my part that I need to own. Again, it has become a part of my parenting as well!!

Own Your Part!

I see the words for a new sign that I need to make in my house!

Love, Jodi

God, thank you for growing us! Thank you for challenging us to become more Christ like in our responses, our attitudes and our choices. I pray that we can truly take ownership of our lives so “we can become all God created us to be and leave a legacy that points others to You.” Thank you for creating us special and unique! We love you so much!                               In Jesus Name, Amen