When I moved and found out that Holley Gerth lived in a neighboring city, I sent an email. Then a Facebook message. Then I left a comment on her blog.
I was waving wildly, letting this beautiful Word girl know that I wanted to meet her. We finally met in a little smoothie cafe and she became a good friend. I remain a huge fan of Holley as a writer, but the more that I got to know Holley, I became a bigger fan of her as a person.
In her new book, You’re Loved No Matter What, she reminds us we can be loved, accepted, happy, and less stressed without being perfect.
Thanks for joining Holley and me around the table today.
If You Try to Be Perfect, We’ll Miss Out On Who You Really Are
by Holley Gerth
Sweet girl, the world only gets one you.
There has never been and will never be another woman who walks the earth with your strengths, gifts, and talents. You are a poem of God, a work of art, an original and not a copy. When you try to be perfect, it’s always an attempt to live up to someone else’s standards. And every time you do, a part of the image of God in you gets hidden.
Listen to me: have the courage to be who you are.
Yes, messy, mixed-up, in-progress you. It doesn’t feel like it, but being who God created you to be is the best way to change the world. We don’t get another chance to receive what you have to give. It either comes through you or not at all.
An imperfect you is far better than you being someone else’s idea of perfect.
You are not under law but under grace. Jesus paid a high price to give you that freedom. He doesn’t want you to go back to living under the law. He wants more for your life than an endless to-do list and rules. He knows those will only crush your heart and take away the joy of your relationship with him.
In modern days, living “under the law” means trying to meet any set of standards in order to gain approval. They might come from your church, boss, or mother-in-law. But whatever the source, those requirements are not from Jesus.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1).
Years back I practiced and prepared for weeks leading up to a conference. I wanted my presentation to go just right.
Yet that morning it seemed God whispered, “Even if it doesn’t, I can still use you.”
So when I had all kinds of technical trouble in the middle that even the IT department couldn’t figure out, I said to the audience, “I’m glad this happened because this is how life goes. And it’s okay. We just keep going anyway.”
I got more comments about how that helped people than any other part of what I did.
When we can embrace imperfection in life and ourselves, it makes those around us breathe a sigh of relief.
We are all insecure, and we’re all trying harder than we need to be. Be the courageous one who says, “I don’t have it all together.
The research is clear: perfectionism puts us more at risk for depression and anxiety. I know those have all kinds of causes, including physical ones, and I’m not denying or dismissing those. I just believe it’s important to recognize that when we pursue perfection, we make ourselves more vulnerable to difficult emotions.
Life is hard enough without our unrealistic expectations being added it to it. You can pursue excellence, enjoy your life, and receive the blessings God has for you.
He wants you to thrive.
Jesus is the “perfecter” of our faith (Heb. 12:2). He’s the one who will make us more and more like him over time.
When we try to make ourselves perfect on our own, we interfere with that process. We can let go and simply focus on staying close to Jesus and falling more in love with him each day.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18).
You have a choice to make: will you be led by fear or by love?
You can’t be led by both.
Yes, you will always struggle with fear in some ways, but you can decide now that it will not control you. God’s love can drive out the fear in your life.
I know, friend, how hard it is to live under the burden of feeling like you need to be perfect.
I’ve been there, and that’s why I’m asking you with all my heart to believe you really are loved no matter what.
To enter to win a copy of Holley’s book, share a comment below.
We read every comment. We pray for many. And this girl loves nothing more than hearing what you have to say.
Will I be lead by fear or by love? I love the verse in 2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. KJV I am lead in love by God when I take the negative thoughts to Him and let Him change my stinking thinking. I do not have to be perfect because God loves me. So each day I give my day to God. I ask Him to make me an instrument of peace not perfection. I renounce my fears of being left alone, of not being loved, of being worthless and I embrace that the good work God has began in me, He will complete. I just have to show up and join Him in what He is already doing, Everyday is a God opportunity day when I act as if I am His daughter, then the acting is not acting anymore, it is called being in God’s will. Today I will be lead by love not fear. Blessings Diana
The title alone is something I struggle with. In my *head* I know being a child of God MAKES me “ENOUGH”, but perhaps it’s a combination of my own internal perfectionistic burdens I choose to carry coupled with those perfectionistic burdens placed on me as a requirement since childhood, but the truth is in my HEART I have never felt “enough”. Performance-based love, or at least acceptance, was all I knew growing up, especially from my earthly father, so ever since I received Jesus as my Saviour, it’s been difficult, most of the time, to NOT always have in the back of my mind at least some level of fear…. Of course the reverential fear that He deserves, but also the fear of punishment and even ultimate “judgement day” abandonment. I have heard and read about HIS unconditional love, and I do, again, believe that in my head…. It’s just so hard to grasp with my heart- where I need it the most. Thanks for your prayers! God bless you.
What a blessing it was to see this message in my inbox this morning. This has been the first Easter i didn’t have my kids (they were at their daddy’s). To say this weekend was rough is putting it mildly (no kids, no family to spend Easter with. i stayed home Easter Sunday for the first year ever because seeing everyone laughing and enjoying their families was too tough to think about). just hearing “i am loved even though i am a mess” is more of a comfort to me this morning than you will ever know. today, i am getting out of bed and will hold my head high(er) and keep this message in my mind as i go through the day. thank you.
This was blog was so helpful to me today. I can really come down on myself for not taking a trip without getting lost or turned around in my directions. It frustrates me that I can’t travel somewhere and do it perfectly without any minor incidences like getting lost or missing my turn. Ultimately it doesn’t matter, God always gets me there safely. I may not do it perfectly, but He is the perfect GUIDE.
Wow! I really have to get this book. I feel so much pressure to be perfect, at work, with my children, with my husband, my looks, on and on…and “perfection” seems to change on a daily basis when comparing myself to media images, Pintrest posts, other peoples careers and successes, happy family pictures on Facebook…ugh.
Wow! This really struck a cord with me this morning. Sometimes, I feel like I am striving to be something I am not in personal relationships. Very powerful!
This is a message we need to shout, loud and clear, for all to hear, and then tuck it deep inside our own hearts.
Thanks for sharing, I can’t tell you how much I needed this!!
Thank you, thank you for the reminder that God’sway is so different than the world’s way… and it is the only way to freedom & true joy.
I love this, Holley! It took me several years to break down the walls of perfection around me. Perfectionism is in my bones… it’s been a part of me for as long as I can remember. But, it caused me to break… not only once… but LOTS. It’s so exhausting. And flat out stupid, really. Relinquishing the need to be perfect and to appear perfect in every aspect of my life felt SO. GOOD. Being real opened up a world of freedom that I’d denied myself for far too long. Thank you, again, for this! I’m so with you!!!
I have experienced trying to be perfect for God. Trying to serve Him in every way I could think of but the problem was I was getting in the way of Him. I became very discontent in my service because when it wasn’t going the way I thought He wanted it to go, I got highly frustrated. I just had to step back and just be used by Him in the ways that He wanted. I have had to learn to be patient and wait on Him and His timing to be used through me. I thank the Lord for letting us fall on our own so we know where we have to go to be picked up and where we have to remain to receive His blessings. I thank Him for constantly transforming me in new ways.
I would really like to read this book. I experience feeling like a failure often, and disappointing God.
I loved this article. I was just what I needed on this Monday morning after Easter. Thank you.
It was Holley’s book “You’re Already Amazing” that I turned from the path I was on and turned back to Jesus. What a miracle & blessing that was! I can’t wait to read this one since perfectionism is a life long habit. You both have been such a blessing and comfort. Thank you.
I have enjoyed the privilege of meeting Holley and working with her daughter, Lovelle! Both are sweet, kind and beautiful…inside and out!
Can’t tell you how much this speaks to me!! This is a MUST SHARE message.
I so needed to hear this. Fear can be so crippling.
Fear is so gripping as well as listening to the wrong voices. I needed to read this today.
Thank you for this today! I have a hard time letting people get close to me. I’m afraid if they get to know the real me they won’t like me. So much of the time I feel like I just don’t measure up and I feel like when I make mistakes people are judging me. I’ve been praying for God to help me with this but when you’ve been in this mindset or so long it’s hard to overcome.
I feel the exact same way Michele. I pray that God will transform our minds and help us see us the way He sees us. <3
“Have the courage to be who you are” – love that Holley always inspires that in me! I have this book & highly recommend it!
I seem to be having a hard time pushing fear back. I’m living an unexpected new life, full of business and decisions I never thought I’d have to make in my own. And I am often immobilized by fear when it’s time to “fish or cut bait.” I’m so grateful that God never rolls his eyes and throws up his hands! One day at a time. Today. I would love to read Holley’s book!
I am sharing this post with the young girls from our mentoring group for teens… because they need to be reminded that He alone is perfect and we’re the vessels filled up with Him… and He is busy reshaping and finessing, and re-molding us for His glory… not for perfection “or else”. I love the truth that we need to be led by love… that He is enough and in Him I’m complete and I need not fear…YES! Thanks Suzanne and Holly!
Thank you Suzie and Holley! I wish I had read this book many years ago. Most of my life, I have spent trying to please people and to go out of my way to earn their love. My mother abandoned me at age 15 to remarry and moved to another state. I was blessed that God provided Christian foster homes for me. But I had always felt that I was not good enough if my own mother left me for a man and to start another family. This cloud of not being good enough or loved enough has hung over my soul for years. It was recently that I finally paid attention to what God had tried to tell me that I did not have to do things to please others or to be accepted. He’s been teaching me to focus on serving Him and doing His will. Through his great gift of His son, Jesus, we are good enough and loved more than enough! I wish I had learned this a long time ago! Today, I am trying to teach my daughters that we are good enough in Christ and that He makes us complete and will use us for His glory! I would like to have a copy of the book to share with my oldest daughter. She is 36, and she struggles with imperfection and with not being accepted.
Thank you and God bless you!
Perfectly loved… thanks for the reminder, Lord! <3
Needed to hear that today…
Thank you so much for sharing your heart. For a large part of my life, I felt I had to perform and do it to perfection if I was to earn people´s acceptance. Yes, I always did it for acceptance. I praise God for using people like you to remind me of the importance of being rather than doing. Who you are defines your identity not what you do or will ever achieve, you wrote. As you wisely put it, Jesus is the one who can truly transform us into His image which He initiated with His work on the Cross at Calvary. And in so doing, he delights in however little steps we take, one at a time, as we do it in faith. So important and so necessary to go from glory -His glory He poured out on us at salvation and continues to do-to a higher level of Glory. He, the author and only PERFECTER of our faith. He began the work in our souls and will accomplish it and will do it in perfection for His Glory alone.
Love God’s whisper to you, ” . . . I can still use you.” A testament to His power, not ours. Love it!
This is something I deal with all the time — the need for getting it right. I’m learning –slowly — that I will never get life perfectly done but it’s a challenging journey.
Oh yes! If you could have seen our Easter dinner, though I worked for a few days to gather and iron the perfect outfits and stayed up late Saturday night cooking and prepping so it would be JUST SO after church! Well, what a reminder Resurrection Day is not about all that. And let us for heaven’s sake allow each other to be less than perfect and still perfectly loved.
I’d love to read this! I really enjoyed your blog today.
Thank you for this eye opening email. I struggle so much with comparison. I never think I am good enugh in anything. Cooking, friendship, prayer, looks….ext. I love your emails and I have read a couple of your books. I just finished Broken into Beautiful with Gwen Smith and am doing the bible study with Traci now. These 2 books have helped me a lot. I pray for proverbs and all the help they give to women like me.
I love the message with artwork. Visual and readable. Wonderful. But the message is relatable to all. We’re all taught to be something different. To be molded into what our kobs want, whay our schools want, whomever. We should be ourselves. But learn about ourselves and deepen our relationship with God so we can grow.
how many times have i told myself, “i’m not good enough?”
too many! it’s time to change my stinking thinking!
thank you, suzanne & holley, for the blog and book. thanks for reaching and knowing the heart, and mind, of a woman. how we constantly beat ourselves up and tend to forget how truly remarkable we are.
Sometimes embracing who God created us to be is more challenging that chasing perfection. What a great reminder that we are already enough and God not only loves us but wants to use us right where we are.Thank you for the words encouraging me to love who I am in Him.
I’m trying to teach this to my daughter’s. I’ve struggled with just being me in the past (and still do more often than I’d like). I’d love to read the book!
This is the message the Farher is really hitting on right now in my life. Thank you for sharing this so I could hear it again. Apparently it hasn’t sunk in deep enough. I would love to read this book and soak in this message until it permeates my being. Blessings to you.
Great post, so needed!! Love this…. An imperfect you is far better than you being someone else’s idea of perfect.
i would like to read this book which i believe will help me to witness. i have not witnessed to anyone before and been a christian for a long time.
Wow! God REALLY wants me to get this message right now. Over and over He keeps finding ways to tell me “daughter, you are enough. Because I am Enough for you”
Moving from fear to faith- this is my ongoing journey as well. Fear and anxiety have held me captive for more days than I can number. On a gloomy cold January morning I “received” my spiritual awakening. For months I suffered with many physical ailments(muscle aches, body aches, stomach and intestinal issues, infections, chest pain, and headaches. I made numerous trips to the doctor and ER believing I had something SERIOUSLY wrong with me. I struggled with mental anguish(anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and sheer hopelessness).
Then it happened- I hit the wall! I was at my lowest of lows. I told my husband I needed HELP and I needed it NOW! He tried calling my family physician for guidance but she was “out” of the office. He even tried calling my former doctor- she too was “unavailable” that day. So he decided to call my niece who is a physician’s assistant(and devout Christian). My niece is rarely ever home, but on this day she was home AND available right then! She came right over and assured me that I did not have a serious illness( I showed her all my scans/tests and such). She told me that my unchecked ANXIETY was the culprit and I only had a mild case of gastritis(as my gastroenterologist confirmed). For a split second, I was angry with her. How dare she undermine my illness! She immediately followed by telling me “God does not want you to suffer like this”, He loves you! He wants you to come to him with your burdens and lay them at His feet. Then I was struck by a spiritual bullet that entered me through and through. For the first time in a long time, I felt peace AND hope! What I really needed and ultimately desired, was to reconnect with God. I came to Him that day, broken, on my knees with a truly penitent heart.
I have returned to His worship services with a glad song deep in my soul. I read the Scriptures daily, follow some wonderful Christian ladies on Proverbs 31 Ministries for encouragement, and have purchased many of their recommended books for insight and support.
God put my niece in my direct path that pivotal day in January. He used her to bring me out of the pit of self-destruction, for this I am so very grateful! He loves using His earthly servants to bring us back to Him. I am growing closer to our Lord each and every day through prayer, repentance and a renewed spirit to serve Him. I NEED Him in my life. I WANT Him in my life. Although I still struggle with anxiety(albeit on a much milder scale), I am reminded that God is in control: “Be still and know that I am God”- Psalm 46:10. Step out in Faith ladies, we’ve got this!
Love this! Will I be lead by fear or love? Trying hard to be sure it’s love and not fear as I step out in faith and live the life He is calling me to live.
This is a message that the Father keeps repeating to me right now. It is something I believe and know in my head, but I am not sure my heart fully knows or trust this. I would love to read Holly’s book and soak in this message. Thank you blessings to you both for this message today.
Thank you Holley for allowing God to whisper into hearts through you! Many are blessed through what you write.
Perfect timing for this message! I cherish those who have planted Jesus seeds in my life and I love looking back at my “faith family tree” to all those who planted and watered over the years to bring me closer to God. It touches my heart to think of all those who cared enough about me and were obedient to God’s command to share Jesus. Where would I be without them?!?! Thanks be to God I am not where I was~ Hallelujah!
Thank you so much for sharing this message today! I needed this reminder that God loves me just the way I am and that He created me for a unique purpose. This past year I’ve dealt with a lot of difficult experiences, from trauma to rejection/abandonment from a close family member, all of it has rattled my confidence and sense of self worth. But I am starting to combat the lies the devil has been telling me (and that I was starting to believe) and instead choosing to listen to God’s truths about me! I know in time He can heal my hurting heart and help me conquer my doubts and fears! I pray God will continue to bless both of you in your ministry!
Thank you so much for that message today. God is fine tuning me. Teaching me to leave some things. He has plans for me to uplift and encourage others. I love to talk about how good God is. Using Facebook gives me the opportunity to minister every day. Just last week God set up to appointments to tell of His goodness to someone I met at the gym and the grocery store. It was just what all of us needed at the moment. God keep working through me.
So beautiful and needed! You ladies are a blessing!
Loved the truth spoken in this post. As a recovering perfectionist, I remember the bondage that was a result. I must be alert to satan’s attempts to draw me back and put on His armor to protect me and remind myself of His perfect love.
What good insight. This is something to reflect on. Thank you for your good n timely pistol.
I am a fan of Holley too. Her words speak into the hearts of women. So often we believe the lie that we are worthless. Once I understood I can never be worthy of God’s love because I don’t have to earn it — He loves me as I am and He desires me to live in communion with Him… I felt free. Living in the free gift of God’s love is powerful. As we share our stories we allow other women to feel free to share theirs and to know and understand God’s unconditional love for them. Thanks for sharing.
Great timing with this message as I am in a daily struggle with fear and trying to see my value in Christ instead of comparing myself to others. Thank you for speaking to me today!
Loved this post today. Thanks Suzie & Holley! What a gift to remind ourselves to rest in God’s love instead of exhausting ourselves for a perfection that doesn’t exist. Hugs!
Just what I needed today.