Forever attempting to play Beat-the-Clock, our wild-child-dog and I dashed out the door for an uber quick walk. Knowing I had to be on the road in nine-point-five minutes, time was a wastin’.
Cell phone ringing while Gracie was sniffing something, (what’s new?), I answered the phone. Further inspection into her antics revealed a brown pile of something. Nope, don’t go there, it was a coiled up something. As in brown-with-white-designs-looking-potentially-posionous-something….As in piles-n-piles of SNAKE!!!!
Shrieking loud enough to raise the dead, I jerked poor Gracie by her leash and we evaporated outta there. Goosebumps and the hair on the back of my neck standing straight up, I yelled, “Thank you, Lord, that snake didn’t attack us!” Then I looked down at my feet, and said it again as I realized my flip-flops would not have been a great attack mode had I needed to crush his head
Next move was to call in the troops. Sadly John Jr. was not closeby, while hubster John was in a doctor’s appointment across town. Now what? John reassured me he’d take a look at it in about three hours. Certain the snake would find its’ way thru’ our yard, and probably into our home, I did what any respectable, terrified, paranoid and perfectionistic housewife would do and quickly vacated the premises.
Indiana Jones I’m not, but what I am, and I predict you will be too, is completely tickled and blessed and encouraged by a fabulous book I recently picked up. Run, don’t walk to your nearest book store and grab this: Confessions of a Raging Perfectionist: Learning to Be Free by Amanda Jenkins.
Amanda spills the beans. Beans you and I often think, but probably would not print. (Oh, I think we could sooo be her girlfriends!) She confesses her perfectionistic tendencies all of us control freaks possess.
Two mistakes she begins with include:
Falling into comparison traps, and
Turning to the One and only One who is flawless, our Lord, as a last resort rather than a first one….Anybody beside me relating to this???
Why do we keep forgetting I Peter 1:24-25 which says, “People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” (NLT)
Amanda says, “How sad it must be for Him to see us clinging to false hope and worshiping at the altar of pretty.” Oh yeah, been there…
One of the many reasons Amanda gives us readers to live in Christ’s freedom is: “…believing I’m a masterpiece is the first step toward being okay with my aging, imperfect self.”
Here’s another Scripture to soak in: “I pray that YOU, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that YOU may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)
Amanda brings this Scripture right into our hearts: “It’s not enough to know we’re loved. God wants us to be rooted and established in His love—to be anchored and defined by it, and to see the world thru’ its lens. Wrapping our minds around God’s enormous, indescribable, beautiful love for us in Jesus is the key to being happy with the way we’ve been made.”
In addition to being vulnerable with us readers, Amanda is killer funny. When she confesses about praising God as an afterthought, or making her to-do lists during church (Oops, please do not read my bulletin!), she says, “If I were God, I’d break up with me.”
Amanda walks us thru’ more challenges: Contentment (ouch) and Relationships. These are excellent chapters you don’t want to miss. Parenting (including the possession of the “worry gene”!!!) is also included, which aids us weary warriors with more advice and Scripture, a favorite of which is pure bliss:
Psalm 91:1-2 says, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” Amanda encourages, “Only the image of God standing over me and my loved ones, covering us with His shadow, does the trick.”
Savor this on parenting:
“Only in the arms of Jesus will I find peace, knowing my precious little people are well looked after.
Only in the arms of Jesus will I be able to discern how to pray the prayers that need to be prayed.
And only in the arms of Jesus will he change my heart, bringing me to the place where I can accept His sovereign will.
I’ll never be a perfect parent, but I’m learning to be a praying parent.”
Another key Amanda offers is the strongest point in her book. Straight out of Scripture (see what power the Word has?), she walks us thru’ each of the pieces of the Armor of God, found in Ephesians 6. Verse 18 holds a key: “Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”
She closes with, “So the key to victory and freedom is simple: be ready.”
One of my favorite things Dr. Jady Koch said at Woody and LT’s wedding a couple of weeks ago occurred just prior to the beginning of their vows. He turned to both of them and said, “Are you ready?”
This must be our question to ponder. Are you ready?
Are YOU ready?
Confessions of a Raging Perfectionist would be great for book clubs or for your small Bible study group. There are excellent discussion and Bible study questions at the end of the book for each chapter, full of ways to apply her topics and God’s Word to your life.
Finally, I happily confess I still frenetically fear snakes, always will and have no perfectionistic qualms about running from them. (No wonder one of Satan’s disguises is a slimy slithery serpent.)
Footnote to the “rest of the story”: When John finally did get home, he went to the location I’d reported. The snake was still there, with flies swarming over it. Ding dong, the snake is DEAD.
‘Til next time.