Monday, September 29, 2008

Perfection = Peace??

Lelia at Write from the Heart is hosting a blog study of Lisa Whittle’s book, Behind Those Eyes, and this week we are looking at Ms. Perfection. She’s somebody many of us know and the girl most of us have tried to be.

Lisa begins the chapter talking about the Great Sunday Morning Fakeout, and I’m sorry to say, “been there, done that!” I still remember the Sunday we announced we were expecting our 3rd child – the time leading up to our departure for church had been chaotic! J.D., 3 at the time was whining about his shoes, Joy, 18 months, was her strong willed self already demanding her way, I’m sure something had been spilt, someone’s clothes didn’t fit…and as we walked out the door, I recall telling Job, “What will people think when we are adding to this?” My worries only grew as Joy had a fit going into church, but still the church family rejoiced at our news. Though they did, I’m ashamed to think how often we’ve tried to play the game and pretend we have it all together. In one way or another, one of the kids always can find a way to keep us honest though, which really is a blessing. (Not just for us but others as well – makes me think of the Casting Crowns song – Stained Glass Masquerade.)

This chapter has really made me think and reflect – I especially like the closing story about Tiffany. I could relate with her desire to please everyone, especially my parents. On the outside it seemed things were all right for me – I had friends, good grades, was a varsity athlete, stayed out of trouble; but on the inside things were different. I struggled. It was a difficult task to be who everyone else thought I was and I made it more of a challenge when I told myself I had to play that role perfectly.

I battled depression my last 2 years of high school, during college and into my teaching career. Though I was hurt, my fear of letting others down kept me struggling in silence. It wasn’t until I reached the point of considering taking my life that I took the mask off and shared my pain.

This difficult moment not only revealed a bit of myself to a few select people, but was also a time when God revealed Himself to me. For 23 years I lived thinking my perfection would bring peace, but it wasn’t until that concept came crashing down did I realize that real peace is a result of His perfection. It has nothing to do with me and the things I do, but everything to do with Christ and what He did.

That was an amazing time and the 9 years since then have been no different. God continues to reveal Himself to me and as He does that, He is constantly changing me. As an individual who’s always been private and more prone to listen than talk, He is calling me out of my comfort zone and asking me to be real.

I’m thankful that I can look back and see that very thing has happened amongst my circle of friends. My friendships have grown because of the transparency and I’ve been blessed to grow closer to some wonderful girls. But yet I know His work is not yet finished because there are still times I play the game, put on the mask and pretend to be who I was. Why?

Because at times it’s easier. Sometimes it’s safer. And others I’m just afraid because I still want to please others and I know not everyone agrees with my faith, so they might not like who I’ve become. But like Tiffany, God has me at a place where I know, “Peace does not come from pleasing others, but from obeying God.”

As I continue on this journey that’s a thought I want to hold onto while I leave the Ms. Perfection costume behind because I know the only way Perfection equals peace is when it is His!

12 comments:

  1. I loved how you stated that peace doesn't come from pleasing others but from obeying God.

    As we share,we help others.

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  2. Thank-you for such an open, honest post!!

    You are so right, when we please God...what peace we have...and it doesn't matter what others think!

    Be blessed.

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  3. Jill,

    My heart is overflowing right now after reading your post. I love your sweet heart and how you shared a painful part of your past.

    While reading your post I thought, this could be my story. Friends, varsity athlete, depression. Fortunately I did not get to the point of thinking of taking my own life, but I can empathize with the pain you felt. I too am glad I have taken off the costume of Ms. Perfection. I still struggle with her in certain areas, but fortunately recognize her when she rears her ugly head!

    God bless you sweet lady! I am so glad I visited you today!

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  4. I can relate to sometimes its easier and safer to put on the mask than to reveal your true feelings. I am with you there. Thanks for sharing. Connie

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  5. Thanks for sharing about your depression. I've struggled with it for years and recently had a renewed bout. I ended up feeling like a failure because of it. But I'm not. At least God doesn't see me that way. If you want to read what I wrote about it recently it is "The Thief" post on my blog.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  6. I love your honesty, and I relate to that putting back on the mask. Sometimes it's easier to hide. I'm like you that way I'd rather listen that tell my story.

    Looks like God has called us both out of our comfort zone. Glad he's given me people to go with me.

    Carol

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  7. It seems we have some things in common. Depression, ideas of taking our own lives.
    Attempting to be Ms Perfect is so debilitating.

    I'm glad that God has intervened in your life and you are able to share your heart.

    Blessings, Cindy

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  8. Wow, Jill. Isn't it amazing how He reveals Himself in the midst of such darkness? I love how you hear music in these stories (Casting Crowns are great!). I especially loved this: "As an individual who’s always been private and more prone to listen than talk, He is calling me out of my comfort zone and asking me to be real."
    He stretches us...

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  9. Oh, Jill I love your honesty in this post. So real. So what women need to hear. The more we think we're alone the more we put on those masks. God is really using your life Jill, I hope you see that.
    Hugs,
    Lelia

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  10. Our kids do have a funny way of making us live authnically don't they? Truely it is only perfection "the only way Perfection equals peace is when it is His!" Love that statement Jill!

    In His Graces~Pamela

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  11. Thanks for your post and your honesty. It is all about pleasing Him first! Why do we forget that?
    Prayers and peace! ~Liz

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  12. Jill,

    I can so relate to "putting the mask" on again. It is like I have it ready at all times to put on and play a part.

    It is so wonderful that you shared such a painful time in your life as many of us have had the same experiences. It is the only way we can be useful to the Lords work and it shows our obedience to him. Which as you said will bring us the peace that our hearts so desire.

    blessings & hugs,
    Kim

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