This post is both Days 9 and 10 of a 31 Day Challenge. To catch up on all the previous posts, click here.
Yesterday, I reserved the space to rest and recuperate. I was scraping the bottom of a dry well and when I thought about what to share, I came up with zilch. This week marked the first few days of a new job. New people, new surroundings, new career path... I think all the new wore at my emotions and body, so yesterday I vegged in front of the TV catching up on Blindspot and Heroes (the original seasons).
I'm not going to let myself feel guilty...even though I missed a day and my original plan-- the one plan I actually had-- fell apart due to bad planning and foresight... But, like I said, I'm not going to let myself feel guilty because, grace. We are studying grace.
So, I am adjusting my plans and sharing with you a book that came to me at a time when I was burnt out and struggling to find my voice.
I discovered the book a few years ago, while perusing the Christian/Inspiration section at our local Half Priced Books. I often pop in to check the stacks for a new title to add to my collection (all my bibliophiles say HEY!) and often find myself meandering into the the Christian section when in need a word of encouragement. That day was very much the latter, as I was struggling in my job, often coming home tired and overwhelmed. At work, there had been always so much to do and, at that point in my journey, I didn't know how to share my limitations and say no to anything.
That day I stood before the stacks, looking for a sign. The beautiful green spine caught my eye first, and then the title: The Relief of Imperfection: For Women Who Try Too Hard to Make It Just Right. Those words were a balm to my heart, an answer to many tear streaked prayers thrown at Heaven's door in desperation for hope, for relief. I took it home that night and immediately began reading.
Joan C. Webb splits her work into eight sections covering every facet of our lives, from relationships and work, to church and our dreams. Each section includes several stories from women from all walks of life dealing with the same push pull demands. At the end of each section, she has a "Relief Guide" that takes you through a series of questions to reflect on what you just read. She gives you the choice of when to do the work, detailing that it is not mandatory but may certainly help loosen the tight grip of perfection. Overall, her words weave together the hope that we don't need to be perfect; though it's often hard to change direction, choosing to release the demand is possible.
I often suggest this book, especially when I find friends who are enduring the same exhaustion of maintaining ridiculous standards. This was a pivotal book in helping me see I was living in a state of perfection and ungrace. It sits on my shelf as reminder that I don't need to say yes to everyone and that I can be free from perfection.
Check it out for yourself if you too are finding life's demands to be suffocating. Maybe it too will help you to release your grip of perfection and start breathing freer.
Sidenote: Doesn't that darker pink puzzle piece on the cover just drive you bonkers? Cruel irony.