Leaving the Noise

Sometimes I find myself in this “all or nothing” mentality. If I can’t do it all at once, then it doesn’t count. If I can’t finish it, then should I even start it?

This can often transition to my perfectionism heaping mounds of rules and extra responsibility onto my faith-filled life and relationship with God. As someone who loves structure and to follow the rules, the concept of freedom and grace is a difficult one to understand, and oftentimes leaves me subconsciously making up rules for myself – sometimes I don’t even realize it until after the fact!

One of these self-imposed “rules” that I’ve recently realized I do to myself, is that my perfectionism whispers, the only way you can spend time with God is if you are by yourself. Being still. And quiet.

See the source imageWhich, for anyone, who like me tends to be anxious, is the worst idea because quietness = my brain overthinking and coming up with a million things to worry about.

But perfectionism is very tricky that way, because it sounds close to the truth, right? We all know that verse that says, “Be still and know that I am God,” – Psalm 46:10.

So here comes perfectionism and legalism using Scripture, but also twisting it, and totally not accounting for God’s grace. In the Complete Word Study Dictionary by Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, they explain that in Hebrew, these are some of the meanings behind, “be still”:

“to relax, to cease, to let go. The term was also employed to signify the act of ceasing from something, of letting go.”

And Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary by John H. Walton explains this even further.

“The force of this command is probably directed to the worshipping community, which is encouraged to rest in God’s power to save them from warfare (cf. Ps. 37:7).” 

I think it’s really interesting that two of the explanations and meanings for this verse are to relax and to rest in God’s power – to trust that He is going to save us from our enemies. How cool is that? Before researching this, I had never even heard of this verse described in that kind of context, and yet, from reputable commentaries and concordances, who solely research the Scriptures, it is right there!

Other verses that support this are, i will find you in a burning sky

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!” ~ Psalm 37:7

“And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm,” ~ Mark 4:39

“The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still,” ~ Exodus 14:14

So, what’s the verdict? We’ve gone through the verse, studied what it’s biblical meaning is, and found supporting verses for it. From all of this, the only outcome that I can see is that perfectionism and legalism were wrong.

God is not saying that we have to be completely silent and just sit in quietness all the time – especially for those of us who struggle with overthinking and anxiety (“But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,” ~ Psalm 86:15).

All He is saying is that He wants us to come before Him, to be still – to rest, to relax, to trust in who He is. And to know that He is God – to remind ourselves of who He is and what He has done.

If you're feeling alone and searching to fill an empty void in your heart, there is a love out there like no other waiting for you to invite it in!And y’all, there is so much flexibility and freedom in that! Under these guidelines of love and grace, we can spend time with Him at a noisy coffee shop, outside in nature, with a friend, at a Bible study, even in the car driving to work or school!

We do not have to feel like there is only one way to spend time with Him (speaking to myself here too! 😉 ). There’s worship, journaling, singing, praising, reading His Word, and just plain ‘ole talking to Him!

Whatever you choose, whether it is in the noise or solitude, remember to trust in God’s grace and His love for you!

~ Southern Dreamer

Grace…Not Perfection

Well. You’ve probably figured by now that I’m a perfectionist.

Full House! One of my favorite shows growing up!

#hadtousethatgif

Anyway.

Now that we’ve covered that I am a perfectionist, the rest of this post will probably make more sense.

As a perfectionist, legalism is something I struggle with. I want to do everything right. All the time.

Image result for gifs about perfectionists

Ah. Mary Poppins. Sadly, however, I do not do everything perfectly. And this…sort of drives me crazy. Especially in my relationship with God.

If I don’t read my Bible in the morning, forget to read Scripture altogether, or neglect any sort of devotional reading…it’s instant guilt.

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My mind whispers…you must be a terrible Christian. What kind of Christian doesn’t read their Bible every single day? Or forgets to read it?

Yep. Good ‘ole perfectionism. Constantly lurking in the back of my brain.

Logically, I “know” what God’s grace means. We’re no longer under condemnation. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”

Heck, Romans 11:6 takes it a step further, saying, “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.”

And my brain is all like…

hannah montana gif - Google Search:

I can’t wrap my mind around the fact of grace. In the world we live in, the grace that Jesus offers doesn’t exist. And adding my naturally perfectionist nature to that, my reaction is more or less…

When you’re sitting in class and the professor dares call on you: | Community Post: 27 Times "Hannah Montana" Accurately Described Being A College Student

Recently, I was heavily feeling that perfectionist, legalist guilt. I had not read my Bible in the morning three days in a row – *gasp*

And then I saw this, scrolling through Instagram one of those nights.

grace

Cue me staring at that for several seconds like a deer in the headlights.

Well. God couldn’t have gotten clearer. He may as well have painted it in neon colors: LET MY GRACE BE ENOUGH.

I’m literally blanking on what to write after that. I think that was the message that God wanted me to share with y’all. So my fellow perfectionists, as we battle the enemy of perfection, let’s remember God’s wondrous grace and that we no longer have to fear his reaction if we mess up.

Jesus died for that. His blood covers all of our screw ups: little, small, and big.

I’m not saying it’s easy. Heck, I know half the time I’m still thinking ‘oh crap, I just thought/did this. How is God going to punish me?’

And that’s totally not how He wants me to think. Sure, there are consequences. But as Amy Carroll said in Breaking Up with Perfect (a book I’m currently reading), one of the lies of perfectionism is that, “God is a taskmaster who rations out love in measure with our output.”

That, of course, is not true at all. God is not a taskmaster. He will love us regardless of whether or not we are “perfect” and have everything “together.”

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As we go into this weekend, I hope we can all remember to accept the grace that God so readily gives!

~ Southern Dreamer